August 14, 2008

would you stand a little closer to the horses

Lana Z Caplan, Love in the Afternoon, 2007

* McCain counting on Blind Patriotism. excerpt:

Patriotism is often about believing not thinking. It appeals especially to people who would rather be told what to believe than to think for themselves. For far too many Americans, believing is seeing, i.e., they only see what they believe. Reflection, curiosity, introspection, questioning their political and religious authorities, and considering contrary evidence never make it past the walled-up certainty of belief guarding their emotional security. They are easily manipulated by political leaders who hide lawless international and discriminatory domestic policies behind ethnocentric beliefs: like, “America is the greatest nation in the world,” and has a divine mission to spread its God-given “freedom and democracy to the darkest corners of the world.” Rubber stamp these beliefs with “God bless America” and the ethnocentric and imperialistic masquerade is complete. Such is the blind patriotism driving much of the 2008 presidential campaign. A self-deceiving and potentially self-destructive patriotism that threatens the very security of America.

Enter Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain. Various polls reveal that a majority of voters believe he is the most qualified to be commander-in-chief. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that McCain had “a striking . . .advantage as commander-in-chief . . . albeit perhaps not surprising given his military background.” According to the poll, “Seventy-two percent of Americans—even most Democrats—say he’d be a good commander-in-chief of the military. By contrast, fewer than half, 48 percent, say Obama would be a good commander-in-chief.” 1
Senator McCain’s military experience no more qualifies him to be “commander-in-chief” than a chronic heart patient’s experience qualifies him to be a cardiac surgeon.

It is not about believing is seeing but about seeing and doing “self-evident” truths. It is not just about “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” but about a country founded and built on the bones of Native Americans and the backs of enslaved Africans. It is not about allegiance to a nation but about a nation’s allegiance to “liberty and justice for all” everywhere. It is not about “God bless America” but about America blessing all of its citizens “from sea to shining sea.” It is not about “America is the greatest nation in the world,” but about the world in which everyone is great. It is about everyone’s right to see for himself and herself.

* At sporting events, please pay attention to the game.

* Pete Townshend and Keith Moon interviewed on Good Morning America, 1978.

* " A hypocrite is a person who--but who isn't?" -- Don Marquis


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