_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, March 17, 2011

America: You Keep Using That Word…

… I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Updates and link at the end of the article//Jim



So, I’m driving into Anchorage this morning.

Along with the usual herd of jackasses who, despite living in Alaska still don’t seem to know how to drive in snow, one vehicle in particular caught my eye.

It was one of those enormous black pickup trucks, with the huge knobby tires and smoked glass windows and chrome roll bar complete with half a dozen giant chrome halogen lights and a ten foot high antenna whipping about in the slipstream  and pipe organ-like exhaust pipes jutting up from behind the cab belching thick plumes of white diesel smoke like the twin contrails of a fighter jet on full afterburner.

The great steel beast wasn’t, in and of itself, unusual for the Glenn Highway at 6AM – or even unusual for Alaska in general, where giant manly trucks full of patriotic manly Viagra-fueled studs are quite common.

What caught my eye were the bumper stickers:
- Proud American emblazoned across a red, white, and true blue Captain America shield;
- In God I trust, In big government I fear. We must protect the country we love!;
and my perennial favorite: I love my country, it’s the damned government I hate.

Now, to be perfectly honest, those bumper sticker slogans aren’t particularly unusual on the Glenn Highway at 6AM either – and normally, they wouldn’t be enough to rise above my “What the hell?” threshold.

Not by themselves.

No, what caught my eye was the giant Confederate flag treatment in the back window.

Wait, what?

Proud American.

Confederate Flag.

Proud American.


Confederate Flag.

And suddenly I’m the Old Spice guy: Liberals, look at your little sissy Prius. Look at it. Loser. Now look at this awesome RAM truck. Look at it! It gets five miles a gallon. Look at the patriotic slogans! They’re American. Now look at the Confederate Flag! The Confederacy. It’s American. Now look back to the bumper. Back to the Flag! The bumper!  Now I’m a Confederate! Look again, I’m an American! A Rebel! America, hell ya! I’m on a horse…

Proud American. Confederate flag.

I wanted to pull up next him and roll down the window and ask, So, Just to make sure I’m clear on this, you’re a proud patriotic American who loves the United States which is why you display the battle symbol of a long defunct political/military organization that directly and without equivocation attempted to destroy that self same country. Is that correct? 

No, strike that. That’s wrong.

That’s really not what I wanted to ask him.

What I really wanted to ask is this: Proud American? Really? What is it exactly that you’re proud of?  You say you love your country? You say you love the United States? Really? Which part? What is it that you love about it? Specifically, what exactly do you love about America?

Because, see, so far as I can tell, people like you seem to hate just about everything that makes the United States what it is. 

You hate the President, you call him a Nazi and a socialist and communist and an enemy of America.  You’re embarrassed by him.  You hate his big jug ears and his oh so white smile and his funny alien name.  You hate his politics and his elitist education and his religion and his agenda and the way he speaks. You hate his wife and you hate his kids.  Now, to be fair, you hated the last president too and in fact you’ve got a beef with damned near every president except for Good Ole George Washington and maybe Ronald Reagan. You couldn’t stand Carter or that pig, Clinton, Nixon was a crook, Johnson got us into Vietnam and the best thing that Kennedy ever did was to take a ride in that convertible – too bad he didn’t invite little brother Ted along.  You hate the president all the way back to FDR.  Hell, you even hate Teddy Roosevelt because he was nothing but a goddamned anti-American Progressive – you know that’s true because Glenn Beck told you so (and don’t you hate it when people accuse you of getting your ideas from him? Like you can’t decide who to hate all by yourself).

You hate Congress. You hate the idea of a republic, of representative democracy, where Senators and Representative don’t do only what you want.  It’s we the people goddamnit. They’re all crooks. They’re all liars. They’re all corrupt greedy bastards.  They’re all ineffective. You hate them all.  They should all be thrown out – well, all of them except for your guy that is. What’s that? Oh you hate your guy too? Yeah, that figures.

You hate the courts, especially the Supreme Court.  Oh how you hate that they won’t let you make your hate the law of the land.  You hate the whole damned liberal American legal system. You hate the lawyers, you’d like to line them all up and shoot them first.  You hate that criminals get a legal defense, you hate that people can’t seem to see that they’re guilty, just drop them into a hole and throw away the key.  You hate those groups that keep using DNA to vacate death row convictions, the scumbags are guilty of something otherwise they wouldn’t be scumbags would they – but now they get to go free and collect a big fat settlement and, man, don’t you just hate that?  Of course, you hate paying for prison too, and as long as we’re on the subject you hate that prisons are big country clubs nowadays, what the hell are those scumbags complaining about? You hate those damned judges, they’re all liberal activists, everybody knows it.  You hate the fact that we can’t just string people up in the town square any more, those were the good old days you bet.  You’d like to see more military tribunals, that’s the ticket. Not like that’s going to happen, and boy don’t you just hate that too?

In fact, you hate the whole goddamned Federal government. You really hate the “united” part of the United States. You say you love the Constitution, and you do – the 2nd Amendment part anyway – but you really hate the parts that let other people say what they like and worship religions different than yours and give the Federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce and award citizenship to brown skinned babies and give people you don’t like the same rights as you and make the government a secular organization instead of a Christian one – yeah, you really hate that part.  You hate federal regulations and federal law and federal taxes.  You hate the Fed and the fact that our money isn’t based on the gold standard.  You hate that the government won’t let you sell defective products and contaminated food and unsafe toys coated in lead paint or snake oil that purports to cure cancer – that’s just bad for business.  You hate the idea of anybody other than you getting affordable healthcare or retirement or a home loan.  You hate Social Security, even though you yourself never bothered to save not one single penny towards your own retirement.  You think the military is “broken” and you hate those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but you hate the idea of ending them even more because then the terrorists will “win” – and you hate that we haven’t yet declared war on Iran and North Korea and maybe even Libya because you hate those bastards too. In fact, you hate the idea of peace all together, goddamned sissy liberals, real Americans love the smell of napalm in the morning you betcha.
You hate the American political system. You hate political parties. You hate those filthy liberals, oh you hate them so much, that’s a given. But you hate the Republicans too, you hate Progressives and Centrists and Moderates and there’s nobody you hate more than those traitor RINOs.

You hate your neighbors, you do, you hate them. You hate the niggers and the spics and the chinks and the gooks and spooks and hajis.  And, man, there’s nothing you hate more than when they call you a racist and a bigot. You hate all those minorities with their whining about equal rights and political correctness and affirmative action. You hate that they get a free ride.  You hate how they can’t take a joke. You hate the greedy Jews. You hate the terrorist Muslims. You hate the child-molesting Catholics. And you just goddamned hate those atheists.  You hate anybody who wasn’t born again. You hate that guy with the long beard and the red turban who runs that store you hate downtown.  You hate those people who can’t speak English without an accent.  You hate having to dial 1 for English, my God how you hate that. You hate the fags in their little Speedos, demanding the right to wed just so they can mock your third marriage.  You hate immigrants, and not just the illegal ones either. You hate the idea that those dirty, diseased sons of bitches come here to this country and take all the good jobs.  You hate that your daughter is dating one of them. You hate that one of their kids can become president when there are plenty of good God fearin’ naturally born white men around – speaking of which, you really hate how white men have become the most persecuted minority in America, it’s shameful is what it is.  You hate the poor, the lazy bastards should just lift themselves up, stop being poor. You hate the rich, the ones born with a golden spoon full of coke in their noses and the ones who robbed their way to the top.  You hate feminists, those damned dyke bitches, and you hate that they think they should own their own reproductive organs.  You hate city people, the ones from New York and Los Angeles who think they’re better then you.  You hate those ignorant country bumpkins too, those pig shit covered farmers and their subsidies always sponging off your tax dollars.  You hate those college boys, those elitist snobs with their law degrees and science majors.  You hate people from the East Coast with their old money and blue blood, you hate them almost as much as you hate the fruits, nuts, and flakes from the West Coast, and by God, how you hate those crooked bastards from Chicago. You hate single mothers and women who breastfeed in public.  You hate fat people, those glutinous slobs taking up more than their fair share of the space.  Of course, you really hate it when that America hating Michelle Obama suggests that your kids eat right and maybe get some exercise so they don’t end up overweight, how dare she, how dare she, if you want to be fat, by God, you’ll be fat and no hate-filled bitch is going to tell you what to do. You hate kids with long hair and tattoos.  You hate old people, the Greatest Generation of assholes, always complaining about how much better things used to be, why can’t they just die already and quit sucking on the Medicare tit? Speaking of Medicare, you hate that too, even though you yourself can’t afford health insurance for you family – besides, the emergency room is free. Right?

You hate the environment. You hate the flora and fauna and the terrain of the great American landscape.  You hate the polar bears and the snail darter and that stupid spotted owl.  You hate saving the Redwoods for generations to come. You hate those national parks and the bureau of land management. You hate clean air and water that’s safe to swim in. You hate that you can’t just shoot every deer and dip-net every salmon.  You hate catalytic converters and lead free gasoline.  You hate the fact that the fascist EPA won’t let you dump toxic waste into Love Canal or strip mine Utah. You hate carbon and separating your paper from your plastics. You hate blowout preventers and containment booms and hearing about the Exxon Valdez – honestly, hasn’t Exxon suffered enough?  Drill baby drill that’s what you’re talking about.  You hate the word “Green” and you hope Al Gore burns in hell for all eternity because you hate that commie fucker more than anybody else – well, except for maybe Obama, but that just goes without saying.

You hate public education.  You hate the Department of Education, you didn’t used to, but you sure do now.  You hate it because it’s not in the Constitution – the Constitution which you hated having to learn about in school, in that government class you so hated. You hate the school board and school administrators and the school principal. You hate schools, you hate having to pay taxes for a new roof so the kids don’t get rained on and you hate having to buy classroom equipment and you hate those afterschool programs – well, except for football, that’s OK.  And, by God, you hate the damned teachers, you hate those lazy, greedy, selfish bastards.  You hate that the arrogant pricks laugh at your poorly spelled TEA Party posters and you blame them for your ignorance. You hate that you have to pay them a living wage, you hate the idea that the modern world means that teachers have to be highly educated professionals instead of some chalk scented school marm who was good enough for your great grandfather. You grandfather didn’t need to learn about computers or technology or world events or funny looking people in countries that don’t matter, and you hate it when people tell you that your kids aren’t living in that world anymore.  You hate that your kids might have to learn about actual science, oh how you hate that they might hear about evolution or global climate change or plate tectonics or that people didn’t, in fact, live with dinosaurs and that the world is actually a lot older than 5000 years despite what you learned in Church last week.  You hate the liberal colleges with their long haired professors and their weird ideas – and you sure as hell hate how higher education tends to make people more liberal, not less.

You hate the media.  You hate CNN and MSNBC and ABC and the Washington Post.  You harbor a special hatred for Arianna Huffington, a hatred that flares as brightly as a burning deep water drilling rig.  You hate Hollywood, you hate how it’s controlled by the Jews or maybe the Bilderbergs and their New World Order or perhaps it’s really secretly controlled by the Illuminati or the Muslim Brotherhood. Whoever is in charge out there, you hate how every movie seems to have gay people in it, or blacks, or an Arab.
You hate American capitalism – oh, you love Capitalism with a capital C, but you hate what those greedy conniving Wall Street fat cats have done to it.  God, how you hate those sons of bitches, the ones like Bill Gates who built his business from the ground up and became for a time the richest man in the world, and then – and this is the part you really hate – he started giving his money away.  Of course, it’s all a lie, he’s just giving it away for the tax break and how you hate that too, don’t you? And you hate those pricks in management, those prissy white collar MBA’s who have never done an honest day’s labor in their privileged lives.  Ah, but as much as you hate the executives and the management, that’s nothing compared to how much you hate labor. You hate unions. You hate that middle class Americans enjoy a living wage in safe working environments at a reasonable number of working hours per week.  You hate that they’ve thrown in together, bargaining collectively so that they might have a bit of leverage against those fat cats and greedy corporations you also hate.  You call them socialists and communists and you hate it when somebody points out that in far left socialist and communist countries workers have no rights whatsoever (and didn’t in America either, until the unions came along). God how you hate being confused with facts by liberal Nazi Commies who dare to question your cognitively dissociative reasoning.

In point of fact, other than the flag (the American one, not the Confederate one – though that works too, I guess), there doesn’t seem to be much about America you do like.

So, when you say you love America, what is it exactly that you love?

When you say you’re a proud American, what is it that you’re proud of?

Because, I’ve got to tell you, I’m just not seeing it.




Update Sep 01, 2011: 
 
This post has now gone viral three separate times. Current page views for this article today stand at well over 1.6 million – and that doesn’t include all the other places that it was reposted. Agree or not with what I wrote, it obviously touched a nerve with a large number of people.  This continues to leave me feeling a bit bemused, as does some of the hate mail I receive regarding the above piece (and on that note, if you want me to read your letter, you probably shouldn’t start out by telling me to move to Iran, Canada, or Hell, just saying).  This is the first of three posts. The other two parts are here: Part 2 - America: Explained (Follow up article and amplifying thoughts about this post) and here: Part 3 - America: Land That I Love (Follow up article and why I love this country). Before you go back to whatever forum you came from, read the other two pieces. Please. Before you write to tell me that I’ve created a strawman or to ask why I hate America, read the follow up pieces.  Please.  If you’ve gotten this far and you’re now firmly convinced that I must hate America or that I don’t know how to write, give me a chance to change your mind: read Part 3 - America: Land That I Love. Really.
 
A note about the Strawman:  I know I created a strawman, I did it on purpose. If you want to know why I did it, read Part 2.  However, with that said, read the comments under this article. Read the comments under the follow up posts.  I left a few trolls in for examples, sometimes you speak of the strawman and he appears. 
 
Comments are now closed: because I got tired of weeding out the tolls. if you want to comment on this post, read the two follow up posts. Comments on part two are also closed. If you still feel like commenting after reading the series, you may comment under part three, America, Land That I Love.

If you liked this post: you might like this one too:  Liberalism, Conservatism, and Insanity.  One of these days I’m going to have to put all these bumper sticker inspired posts into a book.

//Jim


190 comments:

  1. Absolutely and precisely this.

    Well said, Jim. Because I'm not seeing it in these idiots or their slogans either.

    Dr. Phil

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm going to do what I usually do after seeing or hearing something that blows me away... I'm going to walk away while continuing to keep taking it in...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Eyes on the road, Dude! Seriously, I'm going to print this out and mail it to most of my neighbors, because, of course, I refuse to friend them on Facebook. That is pretty much a perfect description of many of the residents of northwestern Pennsylvania.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. Sounds just like like my firehouse after drill. From the same folks who think NASCAR is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    This was great!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I didn't think you would see that many CBFs in Alaska. Or, maybe you don't, which is why this truck got your attention so thoroughly; here in the South, they're part of the milieu. Hell, up until a few years ago, it was still the friggin' State Flag, here in Georgia.

    Still, it's kind of an ironic symbol to find rolling around in a state that was still a part of Russia, during the Civil War. Fuck seeing it from your back yard, you were already there.

    I wish there was a way to snap your fingers & transport these fuckers back to a late 1800's coal mining town, so they could see the freedom they think they love so damned much. No healthcare, no sanitation, fuck gold-backed currency; the mine didn't even have to pay their workers in currency. And, when you went down into their blissfully un-regulated mine & got your ass blown to Mars, your wife & kids didn't get a fat check from the company, they got made homeless.

    All that was ended by the unions, OSHA, FDA, EPA & all the other acronyms these people think they hate so much. The unfettered capitalism they think they love so much loathes the fact that an ignorant fuck like this guy makes enough money to afford a pickup truck to begin with.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ken, bingo.


    I see plenty of CBF's here. A lot of folks come from out of state, looking for that 1800's America they think they love so much - then they find out what working on the Slope for BP really means. Then they join the Union - then they can afford a truck.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for this, I would love to buy you a beer and ask your opinion on a few things.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Jim. I needed this. You're always a sane voice, eloquently and rationally saying what I feel but can't express without using 342,866 curse words.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I see this attitude everywhere in the Plain States. Thanks for writing out the list of "hates" that are always in one place but rarely all stated together. I may have to print this out for a standard response to people in the future.

    I did click on the "Woot!" at the bottom, but almost stuck with the theme and clicked on "I hate you so much!". Was getting caught up in the whirlpool of hate there.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Fauna, if you're in Anchorage or the surrounding area, I'd let you.

    @Mrs Bitch, I swear a lot whilst typing. Usually at the cats.

    @dmcgaughy, it warms my flinty black heart every time somebody clicks on the "I hate you so much" button.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jim: The problem is that there is very little common ground on which to have a conversation with people like that. They live in some parallel universe of tragically-misunderstood political terminology; logic simply does not apply in a land where the sky is simultaneously red, white and blue.

    You wouldn't have made it three words into your question towards this redneck before he would have flatly informed you that you are, indeed, a socialist. What do you say to an accusation like that? I mean, if you're not wanting to hold a conversation which strays too far afield from the truth?

    "Well, if you want to get technical about it, yeah, I am. But so are you, and so are the people you vote for. They're just doing it wrong. And it's a helluva lot more expensive that way."

    You wouldn't get past the first dozen words before they're listing off the 30 places around the world - which are most decidedly not socialist - that you may go to. Conversation ended, the brawl may now commence.

    Capitalism, if you want to get technical, is, "Oh my God, my house is on fire. Let me get my family and pets to safety & call fire.com."
    "Hello, and thank you for calling Fire.com. Do you have an emergency?"

    "My house is on fire!"

    "Well, then this is your lucky day! We are offering a special savings on our silver package, which is where the guys actually show up in a fire truck. Can I please get your credit card number? Oh. Your wallet is in the house. Well, your call is very important to us. I'l hold while you run and get it."

    THAT, my friend, is capitalism. Anything this side is some variant breed of socialism. Get used to it. Conservatives have no problem with 'entitlements' so long as they're corporate entitlements.

    But don't bother rolling down your window to explain all this to that guy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank You! I know you have heard it already, but you wrote a very clear, well thought out "article" and I agree with nearly everything you said (no one agrees 100% with anyone, no matter what they say) But as someone who is VERY sick of those who claim to "Love America" but seem to have NO idea what America is or what Love is, this makes me smile! Wait, they DO love America. like Ike Turner loved Tina! Anyway, Thanks again! I will be sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love you and I totally laughed til I wet my pants.

    GOOD SHOW!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Stop by the office on your way out and pick up some complimentary Stonekettle Station Adult Diapers...

    ReplyDelete
  15. ". . . like Ike Turner loved Tina." I will try to use that phrase at least once per week from now on.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Seriously? Nobody called me on that last one? I was, pardon the pun, being 'liberal' with the definition of socialism. Technically-defined, it is a system under which the community owns the means of production & distribution. That, however, leaves "Capitalism" to mean an awful lot of things. France, your rebel friend would be shocked to find, is not a socialist country. But, that kind of talk tends to fry brains on the right even more.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, see, Ken, here's the think - he had Alaska plates. Alaska, as you likely know, holds the Permanent Fund in Trust for Alaskans send all its residents a check each year...

    I have yet to hear of any Palinist Conservative Patriot who has refused to cash that check as a protest against socialsim. Just saying.

    ReplyDelete
  18. True. They never object to the practice of socialism, they only object to the idea of it. It would be a very self-conflicted way to live, were such people given to thinking to begin with. I got into a (pointless) debate recently with a con regarding socialized medicine. All he knew about the subject was that Obamacare is socialized medicine, and he didn't want it; he didn't know why he should be responsible for paying for someone else's healthcare. I told him he already is, every time he visits the doctor or hospital, only that he's doing it under the most inefficient system imaginable. It went on in that vein for about a half an hour, but I don't think he knew any more on the subject afterwards than he doesn't want Obamacare. It really is easier to talk to a rock.

    ReplyDelete
  19. As I said on FB: Yes, this. I figured out how much I'm hated. I think I did pretty well, don't you? Strike 1: Jewish. Strike 2: Federal government employee. Strike 3: Science degree. Strike 4: East coast resident (and even worse -- I live right outside DC). Strike 5: Liberal.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Neurondoc: Admit it. You eat babies over milk for breakfast, don't you? :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. The pure amusement in this is I'm reading this whilest sitting in a MARTA train station in Atlanta, the heart o' the Old South. I'm one of the few whites on the platform, and probably one of the few who speak English. Overcrowded train came and I managed to get a seat.

    I suspect many of my fellow riders would prefer to throw me onto the third rail and under the train than admit they agree with a word you and the chorus said.

    More later when I can address some specific things.

    As always, thank you for a other fine commentary.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Gotta love MARTA. Can't say I've ever seen it crowded, though. That's because the only time I ride it is at times like 6 AM, if I have an early flight out of HJ. Saves me the Mad Max adventure of driving down to the Park N Ride.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think I just fell in love.
    Kristin

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ha! Damn. ; )
    Kristin

    ReplyDelete
  25. Electricity is not in the Constitution. Neither is music. Just thought I'd let you know.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jim - At the risk of mixing the two posts (this one and the great commentary on the DNI's remarks) the dude/lady/whatever in that truck (and those represented by that truck) are the most immediate MORTAL danger to this country. 20 years ago, I told my father that the most dangerous thing in the world was a guy in a truck with a U.S. flag blazing in the back window. A couple decades later...it has only gotten worse. K

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow, I hate that I hate that person. Your exhaustive list made me realize there is no end in sight. It can only stop with me. What a tough choice.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great, great, great essay! I'm spreading the word, brother, for sure. And such great comments! You, sir, have an incredibly well-spoken group of fans. Best to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You nailed that type of person perfectly. Folks love to wave around symbols or wear them on T-shirts but have no idea what they are really saying by doing this.

    I see a lot of rebel flags here in PA too. No getting away from it, but at least your post made me laugh about it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am vacationing in Hawaii at the moment and have not seen one Confederate flag decal. The spirit of Ahoha is strong here.

    ReplyDelete
  31. That's because you're not on Oahu, Mark. Try downtown Honolulu, you'll see plenty of rebel flags

    ReplyDelete
  32. im a "native american" at least an ancestor of the original people of this land. i dont like the term, "american indian" because my people like so many others we're here before "america" even exsisted.. i cant say "native american either, for in our day and age, "native" simply means "born of this land" and so anyone born on this soil is now a "native" with that being said, i have NEVER stated how much i "LOVE" america, for i know the true history, and the blood shed to give you all these "rights" rights which were not extended to my people. what do i love about this country? the beautiful landscape that so many of you are trying to destroy. i love hearing the wind speak, feeling the grass grow. i love to watch the birds. i love to watch the ocean, and feel the salt on my skin. i love the polar bears and the redwoods. i love the LAND i live on. this is my land. this is my home. most of you so called "natives, (those born on the america)" have an ancestry outside of this country. you can go to africa, puerto rico, ireland, italy, spain, morracco and ect, to get to know your "roots". i cant. this is my land and all we have been allowed are casinos, reservations and museums. even in 2011 there are many reservations without running water or electricity. children still being removed from there native families because of "unfit parents" if you cant feed your kids cuz no one will hire you becuase your not white, then your unfit. schools on resvervations are lacking of even the most basics, like school books for every child. a cafeteria... no, not all reservations have casinos. not all "american indians" are sucking the white mans money away from them. before you go on "hating" all that you have, remember those that dont, wont or ever had, the rights of humantiy..you live as free people. find a reason to be happy with it, for it could be FAR worse.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I take your point Jim. We never spend much time there as we do not care much for it. Honolulu to us is just another large American city that happens to be placed on a beautiful semi-tropical island. We much prefer the Big Island and Maui.

    ReplyDelete
  34. @Kenneth -- I don't eat babies for breakfast. They're to be eaten for lunch or dinner and with mustard.

    ReplyDelete
  35. WOW!! All that from a couple bumper stickers, just image if you did roll down your window and talk to the person, you'd probably hate the person before they even opened their mouth. But that is the beauty of America. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ah. I figured you'd show up sooner or later, Anonymous, and predictably hate this post. Be sure to click the "I hate you so much" button on your way out.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Just found your site today thru this post. I'm in love but I gather you're married and I'm kinda too old for you anyway. I've been reading thru the other posts and can't stop. Keep posting I'll keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Maine chiming. I think you could swap your locale for the northern part of the state and no one would know the difference. Great screed by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oddly enough, I used to live in Maine

    ReplyDelete
  40. @indian anonymous. I totally get where you're coming from. :( Humans of the ''technical dependent'' world are so fucking ignorant that they don't see the world they are destroying with their own two hands and two feet. makes me want to cry. The sound of the wind blowing through the trees, pure nature, the smell of flowers in the spring time, the sounds of birds singing happily in the summer. That's the AMERICA I want to see, not some techological based shit ass country. Look at Japan! They're the #1 tech country of the world and they were the first, FIRST!!! country to be demolished by their own technology. Great I sound like a dork. xDDDDD And IndianAnonymous, you're so fucking right, it could be FAR worse than it seems. The GOVERNMENT hides so much shit from us that no one knows what's truth or what's lies. It's so fucking obvious that they hide shit from us we're all like, you've gotta be fucking joking! The bank systems are bringing this country down, GREED IS THEIR SOURCE. and GREED deestroyed an entire empire in one feel SWOOP of an over night murder. That's right THE ROMAN EMPIRE WAS BROUGHT DOWN BY THE FUCKING GREEDY ASS PEOPLE WHO WANT NOTHING BUT MONEY!!!!! That's who owns the banks! GREEDY FUCKING PIGS! And yes, all of you have noticed, I'm as random as a falling leave in a breezeless wind. wooooooo. lol

    ReplyDelete
  41. Found this on my FB page this evening. Powerful...though you must admit that you are working on a stereotype and assumptions...much like the 'the hate mongers' do

    What fascinates me the most is the question...how did they get there? Fear is learned and ignorance is, among other things, easier. But in the end we all have choices...why choose fear, hate, and negative energy over their opposites? Why do some find Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin credible and even likable while I can't get past 5 minutes with any of 'em?

    Why is what you 'described" tolerable? Fashionable?

    ReplyDelete
  42. Sue, Of course the driver in this piece is a stereotype, that's the point. However, I made no assumptions at all. Every single "You hate..." line was taken directly from conservative comments under on Yahoo News, Fox News, and Tea Party Nation. Here's an example, you don't need to read the article, just scroll down and read the comments. You can pick any story on Yahoo, politics, energy, science, current events, it doesn't matter. More, I get mail full of this garbage. I could have made this post ten times longer without any effort at all.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Very well written!! You say what alot of us are thinking!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. I can answer the question of, "What do you really love about America?"
    The tea party is in love with an IDEA of America, and the idea they
    love is built on the experience of upper class white America from the
    first half of the 19th century. Everything that the tea party folks
    are seeking makes sense in the context of the Antebellum South.

    In short, the narrative of that era was this: God gave "Us" America so
    that we might thrive in freedom by His laws. "Us" is white. "Us" is
    christian. All others are of secondary status, and are threats unless
    they stay in their place. All attempts to modify the system from the
    outside (government) are unnatural, and left alone God's beautiful and
    wise system will bring prosperity to "Us." This country is for "Us,"
    by "Us," and anything that seeks to remove our ownership and total
    agency is worth fighting against.

    This is why the Battle Flag of the South and the narrative of an
    aggressive Big Government that would wage war on its citizens through
    bullets or regulatory laws is so relevant to the tea party. They see
    themselves as the spiritual inheritors of the American Revolution, but
    they also see themselves as continuing the spirit of "freedom" that
    the Southern states espoused before, during, and after the Civil War.
    In their context, the American Revolution was about total freedom from
    government oversight and had little to nothing to do with the rights
    of men, beyond not being interfered with by government. The Civil War
    (or as Southern scholars renamed it in their revisionist texts, "The
    War of Northern Aggression") was not about slavery, it was about
    (elite, East Coast/Northern) government interference in their sacred
    way of life. They have misread their history and have taken the
    racist, classist, and generally oppressive nature of the society they
    suggest and hidden it in a vague, angry narrative of populism that
    they can't see or won't acknowledge for what it is.

    Characteristics of the Antebellum South that echo in tea party desires
    and talking points:
    --Weak national government
    --Little to no market regulation
    --Business owners (in this case, usually plantation owners) were able
    to oversee their lands not as stewards and employers but as supreme
    magnates of their little patches. No pesky government rules to
    interfere with how you ran your business.
    --People knew their place, class and racial status was fixed at birth,
    and there was respect for "their betters." Rich whites were better
    than poor whites, poor whites better than blacks, and so on. That
    someone wouldn't acknowledge this as the normal way of things was
    shocking, a severe affront to common sense.
    --There was a running narrative of God's Shining Favor on white
    landowners, and any challenges to the Divine Structure was a an
    affront against natural law. (This is, after all, why they went to war
    with the North.)**
    --The world was created for Man's benefit, and God would not let His
    good world go sour and not support us. Therefore, do not worry about
    the environment, for God's abundance is always forthcoming.

    **For modern examples, consider the conservative exasperation over
    affirmative action ("reverse discrimination!") in the context of white
    populism: "They are trying to take something that is ours by right.";
    also consider welfare, which is anathema to a rigid class structure
    favoring white property owners in that it demands they share their
    (god-given/natural law/"earned through hard work") fortune with the
    Others-- poor whites, blacks, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks, Dylan, for posting that.

    Folks, Dylan Bryne originally sent me that comment via email, and I asked him to repost it here because that, my friends, was the exact point of this post. His comment describes the precise mindset and worldview that I was addressing while writing this piece.

    This post has gone viral. It's generated over 30K pageviews here, and thousands on sites where it was reposted, it's been linked to by facebook, twitter, stumble, and reddit and spurred discussion in a number of forums. I've received a huge amount of email - which I'm attempting to answer, even if it's just a quick note to say "Hey, thanks for writing."

    Far and away, the comments have been positive, but predictably a number of folks in the reddit, facebook, and other discussion forums have accused me of creating a strawman argument. They've also opined that the repetitive use of the word "hate" is obnoxious. They're right, but they're missing the entire point of the post format, which is itself a mockery of the relentless and unending stream of hatred and vitriol that spews continuously from rightwing pundits and far right conservatives - especially those that I see and hear every single day here in Sarah Palin's Alaska. And speaking of Palin, her anti-Obama comments during her recent address in India are a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have made themselves a parody of ultra Conservatives, they themselves have turned their own selves into a stereotype - Beck's bizarre ranting about a "caliphate" is a perfect example. Every single day I see comments from conservatives that echo this stereotypical insanity, the link I provided above in the response to Sue gives some explicit examples and you don't have to go very far to find more. Check the forums on any TEA party site or the comments under Fox News – or listen to John Boehner’s rhetoric today about “Obamacare.”

    There is much to love about America, but those seem to be the very things these people hate.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Here's another example of what I'm talking about. Anybody who thinks that I'm just making this stuff up, who thinks that wordview represented by the Truck in this post is a simple strawman with no actual basis in reality, click on that link. Meet the strawman himself.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Jim,
    I recognize that there are millions of comments online and in the media supporting exactly what you wrote...stereotypes exist for a reason.

    Your post rings true for those of us who agree with (and to be snarky..who think) this description of what seems to be a growing population of American citizens. But at the end of the day, it still is preaching to the choir.

    My post asked: how did they get to that point? What causes a group of people to create a mindset where ignorance and hate are celebrated?

    I enjoyed Dylan's historical connection but to be honest, I think he gives the tea baggers, extreme right wingers too much credit. In my rural area, I am surrounded by numerous neighbors who comfortably wear all of the hate statements listed. But my limited conversations revealed the following: one guy, a bona fide Tea Party member, refused to answer my question about whether he has a copy of the Constitution and if he has actually read it. Another neighbor, who wears a Proud to be A Conservative ball cap, was apparently alarmed at the fenced in garden and greenhouse in my pasture. He wondered why the hell I would spend time growing food when I can drive into town to buy it. When I offered concerns about nutritional quality, access and food security, he grunted and later told one of my other neighbors that I have a screw loose and I must be paranoid!

    The point: this supposedly is 30% of our citizenry and they had a remarkable impact on recent election. They have become puppets of conservative billionaires who sponsor related media and political organization. If change is desired (and I assume it is if you want to dominate the world :>), then should we consider whys more than the whats?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Good Gravy! You grow your own food, Sue? I don't think we can be friends anymore.

    ;)

    Kidding aside, spot on. How did they get to that point? What causes a group of people to create a mindset where ignorance and hate are celebrated? I ask myself that every single day. Thanks, Sue, I love your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  49. This is beautiful. I'm sharing with everyone I know. Thank you for writing it.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Wow,

    You got all that from a bumper sticker?

    You know what's really funny? An anti-Pebble Mine bumper sticker on a car made from mined materials.

    ReplyDelete
  51. The author sounds like kind of a bigot if you ask me. He makes all these assumptions about who he hates, but it sounds like it is really the author who is filled with hate, as evidenced by his lengthy bigoted rant.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Every single "You hate..." line was taken directly from conservative comments."

    How do you know they were conservative? Many of those statements were just plain stupid, and certainly do not represent what Conservatives believe.

    ReplyDelete
  53. 52 comments before the first troll showed up, that's some kind of record.

    Dan, regarding your first comment: you didn't get much of a response to that same dumbassery over on Aesop's Retreat, did you think you'd get more of a fight here?

    Your second comment is an ad hominen fallacy, but to answer your specific question: nobody asked you. So you can keep that kind of shit to yourself. Read the commenting rules, there's a link at the top of the page.

    And to answer your third comment, how do I know they were conservatives? Easy. Exactly the same way I know you are. If it walks, talks, and squawks like a elephant, Dan, it's most likely not donkey.

    You're done here. Don't comment again.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Trolls and conspiracy theorists. My, my, you sure know how to pick 'em, Warrant.

    On the other hand - REDDIT. w00t!

    ReplyDelete
  55. You know me, Janiece, I'm like troll velcro.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I did make a valiant attempt at a cogent comment but it seems blogger limits me to 4096 characters.

    Rather than grandstand by spewing a lot of overly prolix commentary, I went ahead and blogged it myself as an open letter. Not so much to Jim himself, mind you, but mostly to the teeming throngs who are sudden fans of this particular post.

    Feel free to look if you like. If not, I at least got a chance to play with Blogger a bit and learn a new blogging platform. Comments turned on in any case:

    http://loquortibi.blogspot.com/2011/03/open-letter-to-jim-wright.html

    ReplyDelete
  57. I encourage you all to read Outis' response.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Jim,
    You AREN'T growing your own food? hmmm...
    Allow me to introduce you to Monsanto- your primary food producer and global ruiner of life, as we SHOULD know it, on the planet (my own designated title).

    I loved the q & a on " How do you know it was a conservative?" Who should i be pissed at about what our public education teaches?

    Interested in a co-blog posting on what public education should teach?

    Y

    ReplyDelete
  59. Not that they make for a regular diet, but the occasional troll is tasty, roasted over hot, hot flames. :) You know who your regular posse is here; feel free to toss us the occasional red meat, in the comments. That is, if any of 'em manage to muster a cogent thought. :D

    ReplyDelete
  60. agnostic, small govt-lovin, gay lovin, compassionate conservativeMarch 25, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    You just described every liberal I've ever had an argument with. They can't stand to see happy conservatives with no regrets. They can't stand even to think about the FACT that conservatives are the ones who possess the real balls to get shit done without screwing over legal citizens. They see truth behind govt and the truth behind the president's intentions.

    One question I had once I finished reading your lovely post: Why do you hate people and America so much?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Why do you hate people and America so much?


    Heh heh. That's got to be a Poe. Thanks for starting my morning off with a chuckle.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Wait, you still have a DIAL phone??? I hate you!
    OTT, great post! FL Pete

    ReplyDelete
  63. Jim,

    Thank you for the link to Outis' open letter to you.

    Funny enough - or, not so funny the more that I think about it - I think you two would get along.

    ReplyDelete
  64. It's entirely possible, he seems like an intelligent reasonable human being - I sort of like that in my friends.

    ReplyDelete
  65. "You hate that the government won’t let you sell defective products and contaminated food and unsafe toys coated in lead paint..."

    I wish! What I hate is that the government DOES let companies sell things like personal care products (makeup, lotion, shaving cream, etc.) containing known human carcinogens, still allows Atrazine to be sprayed on lots of crops (it's banned in the EU), and much more.

    It's bad enough that there are so many toxic products that eventually cause disease that are perfectly legal, but when there are product safety regs, they are often not enforced.

    For example, the legal limit for lead is 300ppm (parts per million), and will be going down to 100ppm in August of this year. USPIRG (independent watchdog, not part of gov't) in a recent test of a sample of products purchased at places like ToysR Us and Claire's (mall jewelry store chain aimed at teens), they found a baby book with 1900ppm, and children's jewelry that was 71% lead by weight.

    If you think a product can only be sold if it is safe, that it's illegal to sell products that contain known carcinogens, hormone disrupters, or other toxins, or that the safety regs that do exist are well enforced, then someone needs to have a talk with you and let you down easy regarding the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as well.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Anonymous, I understand where you're coming from, I do, but that wasn't the point of the statement you refer to in the post.

    Read it again in context, the mindset I'm talking about here thinks that the regulations currently in a place are too stringent or are unconstitutional or are government overreach.

    There's this idea in conservative capitalist circles that in a true democracy, bad/dangerous/unsafe products won't exist because business and industry will be self-policing and self-correcting because if they make a bad product, customers either won't buy their products or will march on their factories with guns and torches blazing. According to this frontier mentality, government regulation is unnecessary.

    The point of the statement in the post was to point out that certain folks seem to have this idea that all government regulation is bad - it was not an assumption that all current regulations are adequate or complete or up to date.

    Now, before somebody jumps on my ass over that statement, my comment here is not a call for more regulation, or over regulation, or a lack of understanding that some government regulations are indeed overreach or that certain bureaucrats would regulate breathing if they thought they could get away with it.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Thought I'd share this in this comment thread. When I went to see Neil deGrasse Tyson he had a Q&A afterwards. One person asked him a question about being pessimistic about the future with the current state of science education in the US.

    His response was, yes, there is a lot to be pessimistic about. However, when Bill O'Reilly made his "Tides come in, tides go out," comment that there was a lot of push back. Dr. Tyson even was a part of the Colbert Show skit in response. Dr. Tyson commented that even just 5 years ago O'Reilly's comment would have gone unchallenged. That time has passed.

    Hopefully the time of people being about to spout ignorant political bullshit ludicrous statements without being challenged (effectively, in the open, and at the time the statements are made and too the same crowd) is also about to pass.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Well said. Well written. I'm a literature scholar and manufacturing craftsman who's trying to wean himself from the political madness vortex.

    Idiots. They're everywhere. I work with people that would fit your article like a hand in glove.

    As a writer, you are doing very well, and I don't say that just because I happen to agree with your article.

    Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  69. The confederate flag crowd - a great number of them all over the state but hailing from the Matsu Valley area, are homegrown Alaskans. That got here on the biggest, most expensive social experiment government hand-out in American history.
    The Matanuska Colony was part of Roosevelt's New Deal (to recover the country from the depression).
    "Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan were chosen to be part of the project because it was felt they most closely resembled the climate in Alaska, and because they had an extremely high percentage of residents on social assistance programs."

    Good ol' southern boys with weird affected Deep-South/North-Dakota-heartland drawls. Juuust like Sarah Palin.
    Sadly, themselves just a few generations out from Ellis Island immigrants. Funny how the Statue of Liberty is not one of their iconic symbols.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Holy Cow Shite! Love this post & blog. I'm in Alaska & am so sickened by the bullsh*t that passes as philosophy in this state.

    Seriously, it's cathartic to read so many words that I'm ranting & yelling to myself as I drive along with some typical AK a**holes.

    Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Thanks. Well said.

    I always thought I'd like to visit Alaska, but it seems like y'all have just as many redneck racists as we do.

    Of course y'all do have more room for them to spread out.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Great commentary. Ironic that the Impeach Nazi Obama sign guy is back at it on the intersection in Palmer. Now how does one have a discussion with him? I wonder if he will be at Katie Hurley's 90th birthday tomorrow at the depot..a lot of dems there for him to hate!

    ReplyDelete
  73. Jim,

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I am singed up to receive White House news via FB and it boils my blood to read the comments after every post. What happened to the days when we respected the Office of the President? What happened to the days when we had mutual respect for each other? What happened to the days when we could have an opinion that wasn't shared by our neighbors, but the neighbor respected my right to have that opinion?

    What your post said to me, is it is much easier to hate, then to participate in democracy. The Glen Beck's of the world are simply selling their shows through expressing what is wrong, but are weak at expressing how to fix their impression on what is wrong. Governance is about those that show up and participate, not by those that sit back in their SUVs with slogans of hate.

    Thank you for your post, thank you for being brave enough to say what many people think. Thank you for being Jim.

    I am a USAF retired officer. I served so those that hate everything have the right to say what is on their minds. I wish they would serve this country instead of trashing it, but rights are what we are all about. However, with rights come obligations too.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I believe so many listen to Back and others like him is the huge numbers of mentally ill in this country,
    About 16 people out of every 100,000 people commit suicide each year – in the USA it’s about 11 per 100,000

    the USA it’s about 7% depressed with women being twice as likely to be depressed as men. Around 16% of adults will experience depression at some point in their lifetime with most going undiagnosed or untreated

    2.6% or 5.7million adults in America suffer from bipolar disorder

    Over 70% of the prison population suffer from two or more mental health issues

    Globally, over 450 million people suffer from a mental health problem or mental illness

    1 in 10 children have a mental health disorder between the ages of 1 and 15

    Women are more likely to suffer from mental illness than men

    The cost to the economy is huge –
    inefficiency and heath care costs

    4 out of 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed nations are due to mental illness disorders

    Mental health problems affect 1 in 5 american families

    Between 70% and 90% of people treated with drugs or psychosocial measures reported a significant reduction in symptoms

    Many mentally ill do not take their meds or do not take them as prescribed resulting in erratic thoughts, behaviors, actions,

    13% of adults suffer from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorders

    4.1% of adults suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorde

    These are many of the people who respond erratically to some issues online, they may be home on disability and what they do is turn on the teevee or internet and go after what supports their current psychosis about what is wrong with the world....aka the shooter in arizona

    The Glen Beck's of this world know the garbage they spew out makes these mentally unbalanced individuals even more crazy....that's why they do it...

    Combine mentally unbalanced with little education or knowledge about life outside their world and kaboom...

    I have worked in the mental health field for over 25 years and have extensive knowledge and experience about these issues...

    GodSpeed

    ReplyDelete
  75. @Anne: Ah yes, I know it's spring when Sidney Hill takes up his post at the P/W Hwy and the Glenn and begins his raving lunacy. I believe in freedom of speech, I spent twenty years defending that ideal after all, but there are days when he's screaming in my window that I'd really like to get out and kick his crazy ass.

    My favorite part? He's a Tea Party LaRouchie - on Social Security and government disability. Doh.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Jim,

    Absolutely, terrific and truthful article.

    So glad to have discovered your blog~

    ReplyDelete
  77. dear Jim, i am a new reader. i have sent your essay to friends and family across the country.
    you said so much that is in my heart but you said it so much better than ever i could. i am one of Jeanne Devon's Mudpups and am very pleased to make your acquaintance.
    love Bubbles

    ReplyDelete
  78. I thought you said you were one of "Jeanne Devon's muppets" and for a minute there I was almost tempted to stop drinking in the morning.

    Welcome aboard, Bubbles.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I am going to have this printed on a t-shirt...and then I am going to say to anyone who tried to read it: "Stop staring at my tits!" Because that kind of push me-pull you thinking is EXACTLY what you are describing here. Love it, love you, write more.

    ReplyDelete
  80. In the immortal words of Viper (Top Gun): Well.... that'll just about cover the fly bys.

    ReplyDelete
  81. how wonderful to be able to share this on facebook and spread the word. you should be getting wazoo attention. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Dude!

    You nailed it.

    Not much more to say.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I love mental floss...thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  84. Thanks for this post - very vivid imagery and really captures the pain at the center of such folks' souls. Reminds me of the time I was driving up north around the start of the Iraq war and saw a pickup with the bumper sticker "Bomb France." Came to this blog from a link on The Obama Diary. Will read the other posts on this subject and poke around a bit to see what you have to say. I read your rules and it made me feel nostalgic (my dad was a Chief Gunner's Mate in WWII and prouder of that than anything else in his life.)

    ReplyDelete
  85. Can I get a witness?!

    Righteous.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Now, to be fair, you hated the last president too and in fact you’ve got a beef with damned near every president except for Good Ole George Washington and maybe Ronald Reagan.

    The only thing you got wrong. Because the guy driving that truck did vote for "the last president"…twice. And called everyone who criticized him a traitor. Only now, Limbaugh and Coulter and Newt have told this guy to burn his Brown Shirt and repeat, "George Who?" and swear to God that he didn't just *suddenly* begin to hate government, two wars, and deficits when a Black man put his hand on the Bible on January 20, 2009.

    ReplyDelete
  87. When I see those confederate flags, and some of the bumper stickers, I have the same reaction, altho not as polished. I have often wondered if I am the only one who feel that way. Exactly what part of 'America' do they love? Thanks for putting this out there! Fred

    ReplyDelete
  88. Better stick to your fishing, Jim.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Very good read, though I find the title ironic. America is not a nation or a country, it is two continents, North America and South America. We are citizens of the country "USA", "America" and "Americans" are two words that do not mean what people think they mean.

    ReplyDelete
  90. I ever decide to chuck it all on the advice of some random anonymous commenter from the internet, yours will be the advice I heed, anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Amazing and wonderful. Just one little suggestion--I think you mean to call fat people "gluttonous slobs" rather than sticky, gluey glutinous slobs. Though I suppose gluttons often are sticky.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Thank you. I am in Michele Bachmann's district and what you wrote seems to reflect closely her world view. I am disheartened by her narrowness and that of the people like her and more so the falsity of the hate-mongers who tell the lies that stir the poison then laugh themselves all the way to unimaginable riches.
    To the person who wondered why people hate-- I am not sure, but my gut tells me it has some to do with the fact that we do not know our neighbors anymore: We have become a land of strangers.

    ReplyDelete
  93. This was so contradictive, I guess this guy prefer we have bumper stickers that say "screw america" or better yet to what all the other minorities do, leave there crappy non opportunist countries in search of a better more productive country and then boast your other countries flags and bumpers stickers, also saying f-u america. You have so much pride for your original country please go back. We certainly don't need anymore immigrants living off my hard earned Living it you can't even have the decency to represent the people forking the check.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Way to miss the point entirely there, Anonymous. Really, Bravo. I'm trying to count the number of logical fallacies in your short little paragraph and failing.

    Something you might have missed: A rather large number of the folks I served with in the military were immigrants, some weren't even citizen yet. And still, there they were, risking their very lives for the United States and selfish ignorant conservative assholes just like you. They saluted the United States flag every single day, and they were damned proud to do so, and then they went to war to defend it. But yeah, why don't they just go back to Iran, the Philippines, Nigeria, Mexico, and all those other places that you think so little of? Eh.

    Blow it out your ass, Anonymous. Don't comment here again, you've done completely pissed me off.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Wow! Bet you felt better after getting that all out. My head is buzzing.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Brilliant!
    I've always wondered what America people are talking about when they talk about how they have to "take back their country" ... the America I grew up in (Berkeley, Ca - pinko commie liberal homo heaven) is the one I would fight and die to protect! It really pisses of the right wingers when I tell them I'm the descendant of a founding father!
    There's a great song called "My Country" by New Model Army that goes "Yes, I will fight for my country, the land that I love so well, yes for justice, a land fit for all our futures." That's how I feel about the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave (Berkeley!)

    ReplyDelete
  97. An excellent rant. Nailed these ignorant, hateful bigots.

    ReplyDelete
  98. ...and oh yeah... I really like your bowls!

    ReplyDelete
  99. So let me get this strait, you prefer a socialist America, full of illegals, homos, government controlling what you eat and drink, and to keep doing the same things that bankrupted us and our children? All because you think conservatives hate what we've become? Conservatives want to rite the ship and make things better for our kids instead of becoming the next Greese. I'm ashamed you wore the uniform of this great country for 20 years.

    ReplyDelete
  100. (insert eyeroll)

    Glenn, Glenn Beck is that you? Don't be shy, come out in the light so we can see you.

    Christ, I hope that's a Poe, but sadly, it's probably not. Free beer to the person who can name all of the logical fallacies in Soros' comment.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Excellent Rant- Thanks for expressing the frustration I've had with people who can't see cause and effect, only understand sound bits and are too lazy to research and find solutions to what they PERCEIVE are problems. One thing I've learned is to "Question Authority"- not in the sense of refusing to do what's needed - but in "is what I'm being told, the truth?" It's a complicated world out there, and there are no simple solutions. Another Mudpup here... (ex-navy)

    ReplyDelete
  102. Free beer to the person who can name all of the logical fallacies in Soros' comment.
    I count 8 - socialist(1) full of illegals (2), homos (3)goverment controlling what you eat (4) and drink (5)keep doing the same thing to bankrupt us (6) Conservatives want to RITE the ship(7) and make things better for our kids (8)

    As for his being ashamed, he probably is; but not because of YOUR time in the service, but because he probably was too chicken shit to serve him/herself

    Do I win the beer ? :)

    ReplyDelete
  103. Reminds me of a "big truck", similar to truck you describe, bumper sticker i saw in Seattle area. It was posted on his tailgate, up high - to be seen by all...

    "I AM NOT A REPUBLICAN"

    Loved that and love your post as well.

    ReplyDelete
  104. There's a few more, starting with my favorite: false dichotomy.

    I love that he or she is ashamed of my service. I'm decorated combat vet, with numerous citations for honorable service - but I guess those little yellow ribbon magnets don't apply to me. Sigh, how will I live with myself? Oh, the shame.

    ReplyDelete
  105. chortle... have another beer, it will wash it away !

    ReplyDelete
  106. here's something fun to do... name one idea that has been linked with Conservative thinking that has led to being a positive force/influence for the majority of people in this country.

    What really bothers me is that this country was founded upon liberal ideals and progressive thinking, namely that a man (or woman) can make their own way and determine their own horizons based on hard work and opportunity. Free from the influence of the church or any royal decree. Funny how so many folks have forgotten that.

    ReplyDelete
  107. We need a bumper sticker saying "Nuke Gay Whales for Jesus". We could sell it to the Truck People and finance a few schools.
    Wonderful post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Mr. Wright,

    As a two tour veteran of Vietnam (U.S. Navy k-9), I applaud not only your service, but I applaud the clarity and honesty of this post.

    I wouldn't pay too much attention to sorosthedevil until he/she learns how to spell (Greese?)

    Keep up the good work Chief!!

    abirato

    ReplyDelete
  109. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  110. READ THE COMMENTING RULES. Read them all the way through.

    Then go be an asshole somewhere else.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Excellent rant, Jim.

    You know you've hit it out of the park when you start getting Wingnut hate mail.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Well done, Jim.

    You know you've hit it out of the park when you start getting Wingnut hate mail.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Jim great stuff! Amen and standing ovation.
    You might want to check out the magazine I started called www.goodmenproject.com

    ReplyDelete
  114. I find it funny how you judge; how you say WE all hate; etc etc; from reading this I can SEE, FEEL, YOUR hatred of OTHERS!!!!!! I love my COUNTRY as a conservative because WE can ALL love each other; speak our minds (whether I agree or not); WE all are immigrants (but the Indians); my family came here legally; the problem I have is the illegal part; I do not feel I have the right to JUDGE nor should I hate anyone; as a FOLLOWER of CHRIST; it is his commandment TO LOVE EVERYONE!!! That is right EVERYONE! You can not put all conservatories in the same pot; just as I can not YOU! I hate no person; do not like the president; but do not HATE him; I may not like him; but I respect the office and any man that takes on the hardest job in this country; the confederate flag is part of our HISTORY; but as a follower of Christ and a conservative I have no respect for what IT stood for! We are ALL AMERICANS; none of US have the right to JUDGE anyone!!! I don't see color; or beliefs; I only SEE AMERICAN!!! I see the beauty of this WORLD!!! Do not agree with what WE did to the Indians; or ANY SLAVE (black, white, asin, etc) We are all in this together; and SHOULD LOVE all PEOPLE no matter what!!!! Can not change the past; all we can do is learn from it and make the FUTURE better for everyone!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  115. You may be familiar with this quote already, but I think it fits here: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a Bible." - Sinclair Lewis

    ReplyDelete
  116. Back away from the exclamation point. Please.

    It continues to amaze me - I never said the driver was a conservative, why do you assume that's who I'm talking about? Unless, as they say, if the shoe fits... Since you brought up the Bible, I refer you to the verse dealing with a certain mote, a certain beam, and and certain eye. Try reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  117. I think I love you. Not in a way that would screw up my happy marriage, of course. I love you because what you said and the way you said it make me realize that I am not alone in wondering how people who claim to love this country can spend so much time hating everything about it except their narrow little slice.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Hi Jim
    Sad to see what we've become isn't it. "I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free." That's the meme only free doesn't mean equal and proud doesn't mean virtuous. Code words for the covering of bigotry and fear.

    You divide a democracy to conquer it and I'm afraid we're losing the battle. Corporate manipulation has tapped into the feckless mind you describe in your exposit. Both hate government regulation that protect the innocent. Both are dissembling freedoms that were fought and died for. Only one knows what their doing. The other doesn't care enough to inform theirself. They thrive on shallow emotion. Something we're all guilty of. But it's no way to run a government.

    Appreciate your attempt to try and wake people up. I hope with everything that's going on in this country against the working class to marginalize their ability to have a real voice that some are finally waking up.

    Kudos to Kenneth for his 'fire.com metaphor on what capitalism leads to. Dead on.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Have you ever considered marrying a liberal elite, arugula-eating, New York, socialist fag?

    If so, I'm available.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Brilliant. Pure, simple, brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  121. I forgot to add my congrats to Dylan Bryne's post. Thanks for posting. You couldn't have hit the nail harder with a wrecking ball.

    In fact I'm going to copy it for future reference.

    *****

    ReplyDelete
  122. No, but I'll keep you in mind ;)

    ReplyDelete
  123. Well said, and well said! Please keep on blogging because your essays are wonderful. Some people can't take the truth, especially when a mirror is held to their faces. The problem with these people is of course that they are so utterly brainwashed and ignorant, there is no possibility of dialog. It's "think like me or I'll blow you away".

    If you haven't done so already, check out Chris Floyd's Empire Burlesque for more of the same. He's a kindred spirit, believe me.
    http://chris-floyd.com/

    Keep on shining the light upon the lies!

    ReplyDelete
  124. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

    Read the follow up post, specifically Part II.

    ReplyDelete
  125. wvincentf, one other thing, be sure to scroll all the way down in the comments under Part II. Look for a guy named Tex. Read all of his comments.

    Then tell me again about strawmen.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Great piece Jim.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Holy Cow you said it all...they hate every thing and every person in this Democracy...
    Oh, and as for the CBF...
    Having been brought up in Jersey (no I'm not a Guido) the war we were taught was the Revolutionary War, the Jersey Line, Monmouth Courthouse, Princeton and of course Trenton ...hell it was fought all over Jersey, then I moved to Manassas and suddenly I see CBFs and KKK recruiting signs...Hate Hate Hate glad I'm in Seattle now

    ReplyDelete
  128. Great Jim
    As a retired Army Officer, Grandfather of a Navy Veteran, Cousin of a Sailor who went down on the Indianapolis a former resident of Wasilla and now once again in the deep south all I can say is AMEN to your post. Thanks to the mudflats I found you.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Great Jim
    As a retired Army Officer, Grandfather of a Navy Veteran, Cousin of a Sailor who went down on the Indianapolis a former resident of Wasilla and now once again in the deep south all I can say is AMEN to your post. Thanks to the mudflats I found you.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Everybody has tools... like a drill, a file, a knife, a multitool, a computer, a Dremel, a Zippo, a gun, etc.

    Everybody knows that you have to do periodic maintenance on these tools to make sure that they work right when you need them.

    You can pass on that and stow them away for "sometime" when you might need them, but the risk is that when you pull them out they may be dull, rusted, inoperative or dead.

    There's no difference with being a "REAL" American. News flash: America is the top dog because we allow and encourage an amalgam of different people of different cultures and different points of view to come to us because (think metallurgy) it makes us stronger and more than we were. And it DOES.

    I don't understand how others don't understand that concept. I guess I should probably dumb it down. "The More the Merrier."

    ReplyDelete
  131. I live in Idaho, which actually IS stuck in the 1800s and proud of it. The folks here despise "socialism" though they couldn't correctly define it if they had to. They spit on government welfare except for the handouts they get for their 8 children which their church encourages (demands) they bear whether they can afford it or not. And they can't. I was asked why I did not join "The Church" and I replied "Because I would never join a club which has Glenn Beck as a member." They don't speak to me now. Whew! How lucky can I get?

    ReplyDelete
  132. I've heard most of these comments or variations of them from the mouth of my father.

    Get this: my father now lives on his pension from the City of San Francisco, where he retired early in his fifties, due to a generous benefits package that he would now deny any other worker, where he was a tax collector.

    Big Rush Limbaugh fan my dad was. Absolutely incapable of applying logic to his own life and political views.

    Conservatism is, IMHO, a mental illness.

    ReplyDelete
  133. You know what pick-up-truck-with-confederate-battle-flag dude hates more than all of that.....

    Cyclists.

    To see the hand waving, horn blasting and beer can throwing exercised by your average quad cab passing a bicycle or three on an empty country road you'd think that tapping his brakes and flicking his steering wheel to the left equated to an ice-water enema.

    Must have something to do with insecurity issues....

    ReplyDelete
  134. Jim:

    Gotta hand it to you Jim. You are the perfect antidote to the slug of e-mail I get from a RW compatriot of mine who can spew an endless array of those cheesey bumper sticker slogans while dribbling tobacco juice on his bib. Despite all I do to try to prevent him from filling my e-mail box with mindless talking points he keeps sending the anyway. But after the last one, I was ready for him and I sent him a link to this page. I think (hope) that he is now suffering from an attack of apoplexy fit because I haven’t heard from him since.

    You see, we go back, far back, to another war in another century, WWII to be exact and after the war, while he joined the VFW and relived his war experiences over and over in their local beer hall, I went to college. And while he is still saving the world from the threat fascist dictators I’ve moved on.

    But as I see our freedoms being eviscerated while those with political influence cash in without any concept of what we sacrificed and how we got to this point, I want to scream. But now I don’t have to yell any more. I can just point them to your blog. Thanks Jim. You’ve been a lifesaver.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Thank you for this. I was beginning to think it was just me. I'm in Ohio, and this mentality is prevalent, to my horror.
    I love my whole country, warts and all. I love patriots like you who speak the truth, especially when it needs to said and isn't a popular perspective.
    There's something to said when your voice speaks for so many, eh?
    Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Its articles like this that reaffirm my basic conviction that the republicans are the party of fear and the democrats are the party of hate.

    Mmmmm....kool-aid.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Probably a good thing I'm a independent centrist then.

    ReplyDelete
  138. You article is well written, but heavily biased and unfair at best. So, wait a minute...back up...are we forgetting that the Confederate Nation and the Union were in a CIVIL war? Which means that the Union had its 50% part in fighting its own brothers?

    So your statement "long defunct political/military organization that directly and without equivocation attempted to destroy that self same country." EQUALLY applies to the Union!!!!

    The Confederate nation were NOT mostly racist slave driving people. General Lee himself reluctantly went back home to Virginia, not out of spite for a unified democratic nation, but to protect his family.

    I cannot get past your own assumptions of the situation to read more into your content of your lengthy article.

    While I hate the huge, jacked up, organ pipe, flag bearing trucks myself, Dodge RAM's, especially diesels do not get 5 MPG. To go from a truck with a sticker to racism and treason against the U.S. is pure assumption. You know nothing about the driver or his motives. Based on the other two stickers alone, he or she is against intrusive governments. So am I. So are the founders of our nation.


    The Confederate flag is actually slightly appropriate and applicable. The Confederate nation saw the Union as big government coming in forcing new rules on their states such as state vs. federal rights, and the disparity of the northern economics re: cotton and the southern economics for example.

    I do agree that displaying the Confederate flag is in bad taste, but you cannot assume it as all about slavery and rebellion against government. Nor should you assume the owner is a dumb white trash stereotype. Though they usually are.

    ReplyDelete
  139. ... Nor should you assume the owner is a dumb white trash stereotype. Though they usually are.

    Thanks. That bit of cognitive dissonance started my morning off with a laugh.

    Read the follow-up pieces. They're linked at the bottom of the article.

    ReplyDelete
  140. I love cognitive dissonance.

    Saying the Civil war was fought for slavery is like saying we fought in Iraq for hidden WMD. It was smoke and mirrors with hidden agendas.

    Same goes for the American-Mexican war. Grant himself says in his memoir that he was ordered to instigate a war with the Mexicans to get my beloved land of Texas.

    There is too much bigotry and ignorance surrounding what stickers we have and what cars we drive. We are all Americans! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  141. I never said any of those things, you did and you can't seem to get past it.

    Again, read the follow-up posts. Both of them.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Cliffdweller is right. Laugh @ Kado, who’s also got a great idea for funding schools! And I did read Outris’ response, and replied to him. I think the fundamental difference between you and he (and it is a fundamental difference) is in the idea of populist sovereignty vs. individual sovereignty. Piratedan points out, “this country was founded upon liberal ideals and progressive thinking, namely that a man (or woman) can make their own way and determine their own horizons based on hard work and opportunity. Free from the influence of the church or any royal decree.” Free from church and royal decree certainly, but not without the constraints of a democratic society, and both the rights and responsibilities outlined therein. Our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (I think people get them mixed up) guarantee individual liberty within the constraints of a democratic society. In drafting the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson substituted Locke’s theory of natural law (providing every citizen the right to property, life, and liberty) with the right to “pursuit of happiness” for “property,” emphasizing that happiness is the product of civic virtue and public duty, that is, a “heart devoted to the good of mankind.” The Constitution begins with "we the people" - an emphasis on the collective, if I've ever seen such.

    As I see it (and I may well be wrong), the Libertarian platform, as Outris describes it, is based on individual liberty without constraint – a heart devoted to the good of the self. I’m guessing you’re not “down with that.” Again, I could be wrong…

    ReplyDelete
  143. @Elizabeth, you are exactly correct (at least as far as my own viewpoint). The only nit I would pick with your comment is this: The Declaration of Independence doesn't "guarantee" Americans anything. It was a declaration of intent - it's a valuable historical document, but provides no basis for law in the United States. As you pointed out, a lot of Americans confuse the Declaration with the preamble of the Constitution.

    ReplyDelete
  144. I hesitate to point this out, but the Confederate Battle Flag was a symbol of a bunch of treasonous fucks who LOST THE WAR. In any other country, their symbols would be outlawed.

    Damn that constitution allowing people to keep on celebrating traitors.

    ReplyDelete
  145. My little {/sarcasm} tag at the end there didn't stick (applied to the last sentence.)

    ReplyDelete
  146. No, no, Nathan, your sarcasm tag came through just fine the first time ;)

    ReplyDelete
  147. This article took a good point (that it's hard to claim pride in your country when you wave a battle flag of an institution that was created to destroy your country, and that often republicans continually trumpeting the patriotism card often don't seem to like a whole lot about the country they love) and then went so far overboard that it eventually became unintentionally hilarious. Then it went further and became kind of pathetic and hypocritical.

    ReplyDelete
  148. BionicNinja,

    What makes you think that it was unintentional?

    You are correct, it went on and on until it became tiresome and pathetic and long after it should have realized how tiresome and pathetic it was getting.

    Why do you suppose I did that?

    I'm a pretty good writer, don't you think I might have done it on purpose?

    Could it be that the format of the article, it's repetition and length, it's continued beating of the reader about the head and shoulders, was intended to convey meaning - the real meaning of the piece, in point of fact? To make a point about the tiresome and repetitious bleating vitriol that I hear continuously each and every day?

    More than 600,000 people have read this article now, about 590,000 of them seemed to have gotten it.

    ReplyDelete
  149. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  150. AND ONCE MORE:

    READ THE FUCKING COMMENTING RULES, READ THEM ALL THE WAY THROUGH, READ EVERY SINGLE WORD, HEED AND ADHERE TO THEM.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Great post Jim! I must admit that I do not understand American politics - especially in the last three decades or so - at all. Why are there so many wingnuts? Why do people keep listening to them, and more to the point, voting for them? Are you people really going to elect Sarah Palin, or at least let her run??!! Have you not noticed that she's not only unintelligent, but is proud of that?!

    I have heard Americans say that they are proud of their ignorance - and have even used words like "intellectual" and "educated" as epithets - don't these people realize that when thinking becomes something to be ashamed of, or ridiculed, then that society is DOOMED?!

    No sir, I don't get it.

    Disclaimer: I live in Europe and am a card-carrying socialist, an intellectual, a liberal, and probably a dozen other things that many Americans would love to hate.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Sorry Jim,

    One or two of your new visitors seem to need a road map, footnotes and an English-English dictionary to find their way through a simple declarative sentence.

    ReplyDelete
  153. No, no, Nathan. They can manage a declarative. They've got, "You're an asshole!" down pat.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Good on ya, boy. That was a cracker of an article. Loved every word. I live in Massachusetts, but was born in Virginia. I get mad every time I see some mental vegetable fly the Confederate Battle Flag. You see, I have the right to fly it. Born and bred in Dixie. But I don't. It may be a beautiful flag, but what it represents is wrong. Sorry, I meant WRONG. And I wanna smack any Yankee who thinks it's cool to fly it. Because, you can't have it both ways. You can't revel in your free society and fly that flag. But these dopes don't get that. Why? Because their memory only goes back to the last beer they pulled out of the fridge. That ain't much history to base a movement upon. And that ship left the harbor and sank...what? 140 yrs ago..?

    ReplyDelete
  155. Great post. And read every comment. I can't believe I'm so not alone. I wanna cry. There are people in this country I could have a beer with and not wanna shoot myself just to get out of the room:)

    ReplyDelete
  156. Well written. Discovered it on facebook. Very impressed....Nice to see some validation

    ReplyDelete
  157. I just read your writing for the first time and loved it. I have been saying for may years that I wouldn't vote for candidate X (most recent example: Michelle Bachmann) because I don't know what he or she stands for - only what he or she stands against. I have extended that feeling to quite a number of candidates and (by extension) supporters and commentators all along the political spectrum. Thank you for so brilliantly asking the question I have had in my mind. (And I'm not ashamed of your service - you're exactly the type of person I want in our military. Then again, I'm proud to be an over-educated elitist.)

    ReplyDelete
  158. What I love is that all the fellow had to do was drive up alongside you. You had one helluva conversation all by yourself. Plus plenty more tolerant ranters had a beautiful opportunity to blow off extraordinary masses of pent up rage. Where else but America could one person bless so many and never even know what a contribution he has made.

    ReplyDelete
  159. holy. sh*t.
    I'm going to just start sending a link to this rant from now on instead of trying to argue with people.

    I'm quite sure they'll be completely and utterly without the ability to regurgitate anything they've recently heard on Glenn Beck in defense.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  160. I finally found it. I saw this somewhere and tried to save it and print it out so I could pass it along.
    Now I've tried to link it on my FB page..hopefully that will work.
    Holy buckets batman, you are spot on!
    I live in very rural, very ranch-y, no-government-tat-all-thank-you-very-much-until-I-need-that-government-to-shoot-some-wolves-or somethin'-or-other Wyoming, and I'd have to say that this is the sentiment I run in to. All day, every day. It gets tiring. Your post gave me hope when I first read it several weeks ago. And now it does the same again. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Certainly wish I had known you while I was in (Navy, 73-79 + 4 Reserve) and damn it all, you are just too far away to buy a beer for. Love Alaska though - maybe someday when I get back that way (from NY State), you will allow me to do the honour.

    Great work. Off to read more.

    JC

    ReplyDelete
  162. just...daaaayum

    I lol'd & I :'( (the truth hurts)

    whoot....you are A "God" and as stated, I cried.

    ReplyDelete
  163. I grew up in rural Georgia during the 1950's ...SSDD

    Meet the new boss ... same as the old boss

    ReplyDelete
  164. When words fail me when I come up against a real right wing radical who thinks that the freemarket in america is just the best thing God ever created...I will link him/her to this post. I so often try and I do mean try to explain the fallacy of what he thinks a free market society is and I'm immediately shut down. I love, love, love this article. It was well written based on all the rhetoric I've heard and the accusations about how stupid I must be to not agree with what the tea-party elected are doing to our entire system and our society in general. Thanks for making me feel somewhat intelligent again for not wanting the world to be their world as described by them.

    ReplyDelete
  165. This column is quite simply - excellent! I'll be back to read more of your work.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Standing ovation!!!! Everyday I have to put up with people who love to hear bad news about our country because their guy is not president, yet they claim to love this country. You can’t have a serious discussion about politics with them because they only know what Glenn and Rush tell them . They also claim to be Christians but you can’t have a serious discussion about the bible either, because they have never read it or the constitution for the matter . Thank you for saying what millions have been thinking for years.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Something that baffles me everyday...

    I just googled the percentage of Republicans in the US and came up with 37 - 38%

    Which means 62% are Non Republicans.
    How come that the Media does not show news items that cater to this 62%

    What does Fox News gain by spreading hatred. You can argue that they are pro Corporations. But, if you make everyone very poor, who is going to buy the products that they are making ? Isn't that like cutting off the hand that feeds you ?

    Who is dictating the new cycle. And how come that only the Democratic leaning organizations are the only ones that seems to fall - Accorn, Mr Jones and now Rep Anthony Weiner comes to mind.

    Why ? Why ? Why ?

    ReplyDelete
  168. Tina -- Despite what the likes of Faux News, the Tea Party and most conservatives say, the media IS business. Every newspaper and TV station is a business and is controlled by some corporation somewhere. So, while they don't tip as far to the right as Faux does, they definately are NOT liberal. They try to keep up the pretense of being non-biased, but when it comes right down to it, they're not. :-(

    Ann

    ReplyDelete
  169. Thank you so much for this post. It helped me to "clear my mind"

    The eternal question I have had in my mind is what do WE do to "take our country back"

    Politically speaking Conservatives are better at following authority and sticking to the same message - and that is because they are BORN that way.

    The answer may be in this NYT article. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/opinion/28kristof.html?_r=1

    Bottom line - Conservatives THINK differently than Liberals. And if we are to work together we have to first become friends - and then there is hope to share our point of view...

    ReplyDelete
  170. I'm late to the party, but glad to be here, Jim. Amazing post, which I will share liberally (pun intended).

    Regarding the questions about how the Tea Party/Christianista right wing got (and stays) so batshit crazy: I've been reading Charlie Pierce's book "Idiot America," which is a fascinating examination of the grand American tradition of embracing cranks who, being cranks, nonetheless have always held themselves at arm's length from the predominant culture. Pierce's thesis (my clumsy synopsis) is that modern society, facilitated by TV, has made "crankism" another product to be marketed, and thusly has destroyed the utility of ideas that are out on the edge of consensus reality. His argument makes a lot of sense, and I'm enjoying the book, in a sort of grit-my-teeth fashion.

    My own theory is that the process of evolution has engineered humans to be crazy; some of us just manage our craziness better than others. The oldest part of our brain, the hierarchical and fear-driven r-brain, is in constant conflict with the newer, logical, analytical cerebral cortex, and the r-brain almost always wins the battles if not the entire war. It's an uneasy marriage that we're holding together for the sake of the kids, but divorce would probably be a better option.

    Anyway, LOVED the piece, Jim, and I expect to fritter away tons of time on your other posts during which I could otherwise be doing something useful. Thank you.

    P.S. I read your comment rules, which made perfect sense and were vastly entertaining. I thought I'd offer MY response to people who claim they get a free pass to be asshats in a public forum because "everyone is entitled to their opinion": Yes, you are entitled to your opinion; however, it does not then follow that your opinion deserves to be HEARD. Or that it deserves to be heard by ME. This ability to ignore white noise is a gift bestowed upon me via the quality of discernment.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Naw, I think media has gone from informational, to message to massage.

    ReplyDelete
  172. I love your blogs! Living in Oklahoma, I am surrounded by those in the big trucks with the confederate flags. The best thing I can say is that most of them are not registered to vote.

    ReplyDelete
  173. Nice post, Jim. I agree with parts of it and disagree with other parts. That is what makes this such a great place to live, regardless of one's political or personal views.

    I posted under the last of the series, when I meant to post beneath this one, so I'll put it here as well, with a few, minor, additions.

    Jim is definitely opinionated, and, as he already stated, wordy. Those are qualities I have always liked about him. I remember being trained by him in my first "C" school, Outboard, back in, oh, 1990 or so. He was opinionated and wordy. I remember training with him in 1992-3 in Owl. Again, wordy and opinionated. I remember being stationed with him in Alaska. Yep, opinionated and wordy.

    So was I.

    We did not always agree, but we got along just fine.

    What do I love about America? I love that Jim could reference "The Princess Bride" and make me spew coffee before even reading the first few lines.

    I love that I could visit D.C. (very first time for me, even with a good deal of time in the Navy) with my son, recently, and could show him the original Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. I got to walk through Arlington National Cemetery with him and explain to him what it meant to me.

    I love the Rights we have, granted by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, even though they sometimes make life harder for me. Odd? Perhaps. I may hate that someone will desecrate the flag, spit on it, throw it to the ground, etc... But, I defended that right for 7 years, 3 months and 10 days (yep, I counted). As a peace officer, I still defend that right. As an American citizen, I still defend that right.

    I also defend my own right to tell the person who spit on it that they can kiss my ass.

    Living in the south, I see the Confederate flag flown a lot, displayed on bumper stickers, etched permanently into skin. Some are proud because they believe in the devisiveness it represents, or the hate it is associated with. I agree, Jim, it is a contradiction. I don't, personally, undrestand how someone can be proud to represent such bullshit.

    I am a person who believes in smaller government. I believe the government should collect taxes, albeit only what is needed to provide basic services. I believe govt. should field, train and properly equip our military. I believe govt. should not be invasive into our lives. I believe it is not the place of the govt. to take care of me, but to give me the opportunity to succeed or fail based on my own ability and effort.

    Republican, Democrat, Republocrat, is there a difference? The parties exist to serve the parties. I tend to be conservative, but do not equate that with Republican, Tea Party, Libertarian, or any other supposedly "conservative" group. Too many times, though, we are limited to whomever the two major parties field as candidates. 2008, really? Those two choices, and their perspective VP candidates, were the four best we could come up with? Really?

    I vote my conscience. I encourage you to arm yourselves with knowledge and vote yours. I do realize we may be on opposite sides of that vote, but at least we will be informed.

    We will still have to deal with asshats and trolls, but at least, as we do so, we will be equipped to fend them off rather then being sucked into their world.

    ReplyDelete
  174. Wow! A tirade worth reading...I've posted it on my Facebook page...

    ReplyDelete
  175. I disagree with many things about this post. However, I'll go with the comment format and respond briefly to the one dearest to my heart.

    You characterize the Confederacy as "a long defunct political/military organization that directly and without equivocation attempted to destroy that self same country." I believe this is imprecise.

    Leading up to the American Civil War, there was a lot of debate about the right of states to secede from the union (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secession_in_the_United_States, Antebellum American political and legal views on secession), primarily because the Constitution offered no guidance on this point. The secession of the first states from the Union was doubtless a major contributing cause to the war, but the states' rights to do so are arguable.

    Then, I looked into how the war actually began (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War#The_beginning_of_the_war.2C_1861). It appears that armed conflict began over control of military forts located in the seceding states, notably Fort Sumter. While it is true that military force was first used by the Confederacy to assume control of these forts, it was only after "The South sent delegations to Washington and offered to pay for the federal properties and enter into a peace treaty with the United States." President Lincoln refused on the grounds that he did not recognize the Confederacy as a legitimate government.

    It is my understanding that most of the war was fought in Confederate territory, and no concerted effort was made by the Confederacy to invade the United States. It was a war for independence; the Confederacy was no more attempting to destroy the United States than the colonists were attempting to destroy Great Britain during the Revolutionary War.

    The most fundamental defining principle of America is the right to dissent, and to persuade others to join in your dissension, free from government repression or oppression, so long as it is lawful. All other attributes that have been associated with America have been fleeting. While the notion of patriotism does not vary much, what is considered patriotic certainly does. Therefore, I don't believe the display of a Confederate flag alongside an American one to be paradoxical; the Confederacy was the expression of dissent at the level of the states.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Wow. Stereotype much? Ever been to North Carolina? I went to a party deep in the woods there once with some friends and was kinda shaken when I first noticed that the party was actually a group of bikers. Confederate flags were flying proudly and I began to suspect that coming to the party was a very bad idea. As it turned out, the gang was multicultural. The only thing the group members seemed to have in common was ownership of a Harley, distrust of the government, and a genuine love of personal freedom.

    And FYI, the confederacy did not try to destroy the country. You can't even really say the Confederacy tried to destroy the Federal government. The whole point of the civil war was a desire by southern states to maintain the government and country as it had been in previous generations- to stop the Federal government from destroying state and citizen rights. Whether they were right or wrong in doing so is an entirely different discussion, but to say it was a desire to destroy the country, or even to maintain slavery is simply asinine.

    ReplyDelete
  177. Tyrone, the stereotype comment was addressed in detail in the follow up post.

    As to your second comment, by your logic the way to preserve a marriage would be through divorce. I'm not buying it.

    No where, in this post or any other, did I ever say that the civil war was fought to preserve slavery. However, I note that you did, "The whole point of the civil war was a desire by southern states to maintain the government and country as it had been in previous generations . Yep. And they're still fighting that war.

    But, really, thanks for stereotyping me.

    ReplyDelete