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American Honor

Since I began writing, I have been called numerous names. I have been told I should be tarred and feathered and run out of town. I have been called a Communist, a tree hugger, and a liar. I have been banished by God, and his fearing people. I have been accused of being stupid, unaware, and out for the handout. I have listened to people call the president names such as Obozo, and use terms like forward. I have read shared articles stating our president is a Communist; a Socialist. I have read falsified information that shifts the responsibility of our current state of economy, in its entirety, to the current White House administration.

All of these things are simply big corporation lies. The lies are created to muddy the minds of those who want to believe them, as if it suits their purpose. The people like me, the people that look at both sides of the story and then search out the facts, know exactly what I am talking about; the rest will slam me with their ridicule. My side on this particular piece is this: It isn’t about who is right or wrong. It isn’t about liberal or conservative. It isn’t about Republican or Democrat. It isn’t about black, white, brown, Latino, or Arab. It isn’t about Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Scientologist, Muslim, Jew, or Hindu. It isn’t about young, old, male, female, or sexual preference. Today, it’s about pride. It’s about the honor and respect for our leaders, regardless of their politics. It’s about our people, our politicians, and our government, not about whose side we are on or what political stance we take. Where did that American pride and respect go? When did we become so disrespectful? When did we become so full of hate? When did we allow our values to be preached to us by the networks? When did we become so incredibly selfish? When did we lower ourselves to verbally abusing our officials, with an Archie Bunker mentality? We sit on asses of self righteousness, calling names, throwing disrespect, like playground bullies, too afraid to confront the real issues, too lazy to act on them, and too complacent to attempt to make any significant change.

I’m not sure which side of this chicken/egg came first. Did the politicians stop respecting our people or did the people stop respecting the politicians? The people will blame the government and the government will blame the people. In the mass of deceitful lies and betrayal of one another, I can’t help but ask myself, does blame matter? Today, that seems to be all that does matter. We live in a state of who to blame, because the politicians are so weak they have nothing else to stand on. They can’t stand on their convictions, because they are devoid of conviction, they are bought and paid for by the corporate steam of power and arrogance.

Corporate America took a big hit when they lost to Obama. They had the balls of the Republican Party clenched down tight, on lock. What they preached to the public was lighter government and less government control. I play with words all time. I enjoy playing with metaphors and similes, as do corporate speech makers and marketing analysts. Maybe I can see it only because it is a trick of the trade, but still, it’s transparent. What they metaphorically call less government means less environmental protections, fewer fines for illegal dumping, fewer restrictions on air pollutants, fewer laws governing the safety of the people, to enhance their financial growth. They pay for this advertisement through food stamps, collective bargaining, and the slow growth of the economy. Corporate America hides behind the belief of trickle down, yet as their growth soars skyward, it leaves us with less than the trickle from a leaky faucet.

About Pam Messingham

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pam –

    Think back to the Bay of Pigs invasion, Iran-Contra, and the War of 1812 (where we were trying to invade Canada I’m told, but our schools don’t teach that). There’s the internment of the Japanese Americans in WWII, the Trail of Tears, and the order by the American general to “kill all male Filipinos over the age of ten” (during the Huk Rebellion circa 1910 IIRC).

    Anyone willing to take the reins of the presidency must be willing to have innocent blood on their hands – for all have, all the way back to George Washington.

    The history of Congress isn’t any better; indeed, I think I’m not far off base in saying that someone like Strom Thurmond would have been seen as a bleeding-heart liberal after Reconstruction lost its steam.

    Right now, the corporations are winning, and we don’t have a trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt on the horizon to stand up for the American people.

    So what’s the point? Easy. The Great Wheel turns, and we relearn the lessons of history that we’d forgotten along the way…and we have to remember that it really ain’t so bad here after all. Yes, there are better places to live than in America – Australia and several other First World nations come to mind – but we’ve still got it pretty doggone good. Sure, the game is rigged here. If we go up against Big Business, chances are we’ll fail. But sometimes we win. In much of the rest of the world, people aren’t allowed to go up against Big Business at all, and they’d give quite a bit to even have the small chance of justice that we have, rather than the zero chance they have in their homelands.

    I see this quite a bit in the Philippines. The government there is far, far more corrupt than it is here, and for reporters, it’s one of the most dangerous places in the world. Corruption there is _normal_, and if you’re not willing to work with the corruption, you’ll get nothing done at all…and I feel quite confident in stating that things are pretty much the same in almost all third-world nations.

    That’s not giving America an excuse for her corruption – all I’m doing is providing some perspective. What’s more, you’ll find corruption – some more, some less – in all first-world nations. Why do I know this? Because they’re all populated by human beings.

    All we can do is strive to make it better, and when things start looking worse than they were twenty or thirty years ago, we should look back and see how far we’ve truly come through the centuries. The march of history has always been from the conservative to the liberal. True, there have been starts and stops and backsliding and epic injustices along the way, but in the big picture, the world continues from the conservative to the liberal.

    And if it makes you feel any better, it’s that fact that scares the hell out of the American conservatives of today.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Glenn,

    My American perspective is very tainted when it comes to our government. We do things that only benefit us, then we tell everyone how we are the good guys. We aren’t.

    History, exactly. That’s what proves to me that we have been the arrogent bullies on the block. We promise one thing, befriend one side, and then “flip flop” over to the other when it benefits us, without care or concern that our word, the common basis of honor, is meaningless.

    We befriended Ho Che Minh, promised we would help against the French, then BAM, we stabbed him in the back. We basically did the same with Saddam. When the money shifts, we blow with the breeze, always siding with what will benefit our Capitalistic mentality.

    I think it’s funny how so many people confuse democracy with capitalism.

    I live in Michigan where we have a Governor from Hell. When asked by our local news if he was going to go ahead with the bridge with out waiting for the vote on it in November, say: Yeah (with a smile)it isn’t going to cost Michigan taxpayers any money, so why not.

    I looked for that clip on line and it was gone. Replaced with other interviews. Then suddenly there wasn’t enough votes yet to put it on the ballot. That’s insane. The people have become totally insignificant in the country that was supposed to be “by and for.”

    I know we traipse between conservative and liberal, but holy cow, Glenn, this is out of line. American politicians are totally out of control.

    I know I sound anti American, but I’m not. I am pro American. I want to go back to the years where I could at least pretend we were a country that deserved some respect for our values. We no longer have the values.

    I was thinking about all the billionairs that are buying this election with the help of Citizens United and I wondered what it was like to be a billionaire.

    What is it like to buy anything and everything you want? From love, sex, power, control, you can buy it all, never having anything to dream about because you have it all. What we are seeing is the product of them being told NO. This is their rebellion, their childish rebellion, to simply being told No.

    I do find it interesting that the Koch Bro’s have funded all the spin that goes to Obama’s “communism” when their original wealth came from Stalin, though. I guess Fred thought that after making millions with Stalin, when that well dried up, he could simply erase the fact by creating John Birch? I guess that’s how the mega rich wash their souls.

    I just see us as lower than third world, because we act like it when we aren’t. It bothers me that our people can’t see it.

    I truly wish that I had the power to drive the voters to vote against both parties…to break their backs, so we could start over.

  • Igor

    National Honor is political currency: it is usually banked by one administration and spent by another.

  • Clav

    Unfortunately, we have now had two administrations in a row (and arguably more) that have spent the country’s honor; and banking none.

    One could say the US is nearly devoid of honor these days.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pam –

    Read again the first few sentences of comment #1 – America’s committed far worse sins in the past (and I didn’t even touch slavery or Jim Crow). America as a nation is FAR better than it was fifty years ago.

    Pay attention to current events, absolutely, but don’t forget to compare them to the big picture of American history (and human history) as a whole. It’s sorta like watching the stock market. If we pay attention to only what happened today or this week or this month or even this year, we’re going to be scared to death of investing in the stock market, right?

    BUT if we look at the performance of the stock market over the past couple of generations, we see just how well the stock market outperforms any bank or savings-and-loan, don’t we?

    So it goes with current events and American history. Right now American culture is going through a spasm because the racists of America (and those who tolerate them) are spazzing, flailing in panic because they see “their” America changing into something other than a 1950′s white-bread community chock-full of cigar-smoking good-ol’-boys and Stepford wives.

    The conservatives see this happening, and they simply can’t handle it – besides, conservatives by definition are uncomfortable with change, and look wistfully back to the “good old days”…never mind that if we really think about it, the good old days were never really that good.

    That in a nutshell is why we see the epic obstructionism by the Republicans. They absorbed the “negrophobes” of the South after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and Nixon’s Southern Strategy essentially required the Republican party to tolerate racists in order to win what used to be an almost completely-blue South. So after the Civil Rights Act passed, the racists in the South deserted the Democratic party and now the South is the reddest part of the nation.

    You could say that the Republicans won the battle for the South – and several presidencies since then because of the South’s electoral power – but thanks to the apparently irresistible demographic change in America (aided by modern culture and a certain Barack Hussein Obama), they see they’re losing the war.

    I’m not saying that we don’t need to fight the political idiocies of today – of course not! I’m simply saying that things aren’t as bad as they seem, and (as long as there’s no national or worldwide catastrophe) they’re going to get better. Chin up, Pam! The light at the end of that tunnel is a lot closer than you think.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Perhaps the single most essential element of honor is having the courage to stand up and admit when one is at fault and to apologize for what one has done…and who was it that condemned Obama for his “apology tour”? Oh, right – it was the Republicans who couldn’t allow themselves to admit that America has done anything wrong.

    “I think he had made a practice of trying to apologize for America. I personally am proud of America.”
    –Former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Feb. 20, 2011

    “I will not and I will never apologize for America. I don’t apologize for America, because I believe in America.”
    –Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (author of “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness”), Feb. 11, 2011

    “Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country.”
    –Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Feb. 11, 2011

    Of course you’ll say I’m being completely naive by implying that Obama was at all sincere in any of his apologies, but you know what? A person cannot learn how to do what is right if he cannot have the courage to admit what he has done that is wrong.

    For example, you yourself have stated that the Iraq war was nothing but wrong, but will the Republican leaders in Congress – or Romney or any of his current VP candidates – admit that the Iraq war was wrong? No. That, sir, is the difference. One side is at least trying to do the honorable thing (if not always succesfully), but the other side is rejecting honor altogether. The Republicans claim the word ‘honor’, but they ignore what’s required in order to uphold it.

  • Clav

    So the Republican rot has spread to the point where the entire country lacks honor.

    Strip all the Republicans of the citizenship they have dishonored and banish them all back to the countries of origin of their ancestors.

    Problem solved

  • Igor

    The Bush regime spent our honor surplus with the same enthusiasm they spent our budget surplus. You know, illegal wars, torture, Abu Grabe, collateral damage, etc.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    @ #7:

    Isn’t there a well-known maxim involving babies and bathwater that would apply here, Clav?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    What, are you unable to refute what I said and therefore have to use false contrition to avoid answering for what your side has done and continues to do? You know very well that kind of tactic belongs in a high-school lovers’ quarrel, not in a discussion by educated adults.

    You’ve chosen your side – so defend your side, if you can! A couple years ago I asked you to point out a single act by any Democratic leader since the Depression that ranked with what the Republicans have done in the past quarter century: the illegal and unprovoked Iraq invasion, the official sanction of torture, and Iran Contra. The only possible comparisons are the Vietnam War (which most Republicans were for anyway) and the Bay of Pigs invasion.

    Don’t you see, Clavos? The last time the Democrats did anything to compare with your boys was fifty years ago! And this is without even addressing the racism and wholesale rejection of science that is still so obvious among so many conservatives!

    Clavos, you’re a very intelligent man and you know the respect I have for you, so would you please explain to me how it is that you can still support conservative politicians in the face of what I’ve pointed out above?

  • STM

    Clav: “Strip all the Republicans of the citizenship they have dishonored and banish them all back to the countries of origin of their ancestors”.

    The Poms and Irish won’t want ‘em. They’ve got enough trouble. You’re stuck with the buggers!

  • STM

    On a serious note, in my view the US doesn’t lack honour; it lacks understanding of the world around it, that is the world beyond its borders, of the perceptions of others outside the US and their needs, and of reality when it comes to dealing with all of that.

    The classic example is in trying to push McDonald’s and Coca-Cola democracy on countries like Iraq, where any intelligent study of that situation might indicate that such an option might not be the best one. What others think of as freedom might be anathema – or at least too much all in one go – to others. Certainly a non-secular tribal muslim state ruled by an Arab Stalinist since the late 1960s might not be ready for the rush to liberal democracy, and we in the west need to try to understand that and accommodate it, even if it falls a tad outside our sphere of thinking on the matter of how we’d like to be governed. What’s right for countries with over 1000 years of liberal democratic tradition isn’t going to work for a country that until 100 years operated purely along tribal lines in its internal dealings, and prior to that had been under the thumb of the Ottomans for centuries.

    I sometimes wonder how people who make those kinds of decisions – and not just in the US – manage to finagle their way into positions of authority without having any real understanding of what all the issues really are, and how different they might be when viewed the lens of someone else’s understanding.

    It’s not even capitalism that’s the issue here. Capitalism and modern liberal democracy go hand in hand and you only have to look at the result to see that it’s better than pretty much anything else going around, even in its less kind incarnations. It is what it is and it enables us to live the kind of lives we live.

    If the US is guilty of anything, it’s been in trying too hard to export its idea of democracy. As Glenn points out, you only have to look at places like the Philippines to see that. We understand rule of law and transparency in the Anglo-American democratic tradition because we’ve had 1000 years or more to get it close to being right.

    Expecting others to pick up the ball and play catch up in 100 years, or less, just isn’t possible.

    We really need to be mindful of that in all our dealings with others.

    Softly, softly …

  • STM

    And I don’t see American expansionism and capitalism or the spread of liberal democracy as being any different to the spread of the British Empire and the ideas that drove it, before the rise of the US.

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the true. The Brits have matured, and they’ve left a wonderful legacy of rule of law and hugely benign democracy, mostly, except in places that have chosen on their own initiative(think: Zimbabwe and parts of Africa and Iraq and Pakistan) to bugger it up completely.

    It wasn’t because those places weren’t left with the framework or infrastructure. It was because in tribal cultures, some people decided they had more right to decide than others what would be best and not in the subtle way we know … especially when it came to the age-old practice of personal pocket-lining at the expense of others.

  • STM

    America will leave a wonderful legacy too – when it matures.

  • STM

    And I can tell you from personal experience that the notion that’s it’s the group with the most votes that gets to run the country not the group with the most guns is totally foreign to many of the refugees who arrive daily in this country on leaky boats from places like Iraq, Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

    It’s part of their desire to live under democratic rule of law and with all the freedoms that brings – but it’s not part of their life’s understanding up to the point they land here.

    But it’s why they pay over their life savings to criminal people smugglers and risk their lives and those of their families to make perilous sea journeys to norther Australia in the hope of a better life.

    If America is tryting to give people that in their own countries – even if it’s not always doing it correctly – then that’s something to be encouraged.

    It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with honour, even if the end result isn’t quite the desired one and planting a seed in a field is better than fouling it with salt. Lacking honour would be to sit back and do nothing.

    There’s a famous quote about that …

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    On a serious note, in my view the US doesn’t lack honour; it lacks understanding of the world around it, that is the world beyond its borders, of the perceptions of others outside the US and their needs, and of reality when it comes to dealing with all of that.

    AAAAAAAAAMEN!

    One of the most frustrating things I see is the attitude by many (almost all conservative) Americans is that if a social or cultural or governmental idea didn’t come from America, then it’s a waste of time even discussing it.

    Sorta reminds me of when my youngest son and I were talking politics with my brother, whose opinion of the French was “How can anybody trust the people who invented the bidet?” Both my son and I immediately spoke up and said we both gladly use the bidet we have at our house in the Philippines…and my brother looked like he wanted to disown us. We told him that it’s a far, far cleaner, more sanitary, and less wasteful way of cleaning one’s butt after defecation, but all he could think of was, “You’re actually glad to have water spraying on your asshole????”

    I looked at my son and told him that this is the difference between a liberal and a conservative – liberals are usually much more easy-going when it comes to trying something outside one’s cultural or societal norm, whereas conservatives – being quite conservative – usually like to keep things just the way they are. When my brother heard me say that, he almost lost his composure, saying that “Conservative and liberal has nothing to do with it!!!!”

    And I daresay most conservatives would agree with him.

    Yes, Stan, we Yanks have a LOT of growing up to do.

    P.S. My youngest son (17 y.o.) doesn’t have a problem talking about bidets and the cleanliness of one’s anus. Why? He’s the son of a retired sailor and a nurse, and raised in a household that almost always had medically-fragile kids. He was always quite proud of the fact that nobody, but nobody could gross him out at school….

  • Clav

    Yes, Stan, we Yanks have a LOT of growing up to do.

    Just the conservative ones, Glenn.

  • Igor

    Clav seems to have a persecution complex.

  • Clav

    Clav seems to have a persecution complex.

    A psychologist you are not, Igor, so spare us your pop version. I’m not a conservative; I am an atheist — not only in regards to “god” but also in regards to the the USA.

    Don’t believe in either one, although I’ll admit that at one time at least, the USA, unlike god, did exist.

    But no more — only a pathetic shell bearing no resemblance to the republic established by the founders is left, and even that is deteriorating at a steadily accelerating pace.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Clav, agreed.

  • STM

    Glenn: “You’re actually glad to have water spraying on your asshole??”

    Lol. You’ve made my day champ. Anything that gets me giggling aloud gets my vote.

  • STM

    Clav, all the more reason to get on down here to the arsehole end of the world for a holiday!

  • Igor

    14-STM: some claim that America will leap from adolescence to senility without passing thru maturity.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Glenn, you don’t seem to understand what I meant with the word honor. Look at the Mitt campaign. We all know it’s bought, nobody cares. What kind of man of honor would accept winnings that were won through cheating, or in this case, buying? An honorable man wouldn’t accept it. There isn’t pride or dignity. I’m totally ashamed of Mitt and the campaign the billionaires are buying for him. This is about today, not yesteryear. They don’t even try to hide it anymore. I know the rest of the world is laughing at us, at least the governments, but the people are probably feeling pity for how pathetic we have become.

  • Clav

    Stan, I’m workin’ on it.

    How’s everything?

    Over here in the Brave New World, we’re good. Wife’s teaching nursing at the university, (she spent 30 years in clinical, working in NICU, and began teaching a few years ago), I’m still trying (and succeeding, from time to time) to sell some boats, and we’re living on ours, at the same marina I lived in back in ’58, when my parents moved to Florida from Mexico.

    Life is good.

  • STM

    That all sounds pretty good champ. My missus has been doing a non-ward job (a clinical nurse specialist’s type role, but she’s a cardothoracic transplant nurse and misses surgical nursing, so she’s going back to it. This new city is nice – but much smaller than I’m used to, which of course has its own advantages. Only 1.2 million population. It’s bloody hot in summer though because even though it’s on the water, it’s also a hop, skip and a jump from the desert – so when those winds blow offshore in summer, it’s like a blast furnace. A wall of heat is how I’d describe it, and unlike Sydney, doesn’t have the kind of humidity associated with hot summer weather on the Pacific coast. I just bought a house with a pool (home prices are like half-price giveaways here compared to the big smoke), near the beach, so in summer I can do either, or.

    Door’s always open here for you and your wife mate. Cheers.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    I know I beat up on you and you have your own opinions about me, but I really am happy to see you’re doing well. My wife’s mentioned lots of times that she’d like to check out the Miami area – I’m not too hot on the idea, but I know that if I don’t give her the opportunity to really check it out, then she’ll always have that “if only we’d looked at Miami” feeling no matter where we live.

    So when we do drop down that way, would you mind giving me some pointers on what the locals like to see and do, so that she could get an idea of what it’s like to live there? She might really like it, and if she does, well, heck, I can adapt to almost anywhere as long as it’s next to the sea.

  • Clav

    I’d be happy to not only do that, but would also hope we would have an opportunity to get together during your visit. You might be surprised, Glenn; Miami has a wonderfully varied international flavor, not for nothing is it often referred to as the capital of Latin America. Oh, and as of last night, we are home to the NBA national champions, the Miami Heat!

    As the time nears, drop me a line at my BC email addy and we can finalize plans. I’m looking forward to meeting you both!

    One last thing; you say:

    I can adapt to almost anywhere as long as it’s next to the sea.

    Quoted for Truth!!!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    It won’t be anytime soon, probably not until next year, but I’d really appreciate that.

    And almost everyone here in the Great Northwest was rooting for the Heat – not because we necessarily like the Heat, but because the OKC Thunder used to be the Seattle Seahawks. The one buying them at the time was swearing up and down he was going to keep them in Seattle…until a couple weeks after the deal was done, that is. So…if we ever get another NBA team here, it will be an instant bad-blood rivalry between Seattle and OKC.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And assuming we do visit, I can promise to leave politics off the table – it’s a lot more fun to visit when religion and politics aren’t part of it.

  • Zingzing

    Seahawks, Glenn? How soon we forget…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    Huh? Is there some history here I don’t know about? Please let me know!

  • Zingzing

    I’m just going to let you stew on it. You’ll slap your forehead when you figure it out. I’m just waiting to hear the sound. It’ll be super. Like a boom.

  • bliffle

    I suppose we should celebrate Larry Ellison, the new American hero for his impending sports victory in the Americas cup. Here’s the thrilling description by Rebecca Solnit posted on TomDispatch, June 25, 2013:

    “If Google represents the global menace of Silicon Valley, and
    Zuckerberg represents its amorality, then Oracle CEO Larry Ellison might best represent its crassness. The fifth richest man in the world, he spent hundreds of millions of dollars to win
    the America’s Cup yacht race a few years back. The winner gets to
    choose the next venue for the race and the type of boat to be used. So
    for this summer’s races, Ellison chose San Francisco Bay and a giant
    catamaran that appears to be exceptionally unstable. Last month, an
    Olympic-medal-winning sailor drowned when a boat he was training on capsized in San Francisco Bay, pinning him under its sail.

    Part of Ellison’s strategy for winning again evidently involves
    making the boats so expensive that almost no one can compete. A race
    that once had seven to 15 competitors now has four, and one may drop
    out. Business Insider headlined a piece, “Larry Ellison Has Completely Screwed Up The America’s Cup.”
    It went on to say, “Each team, with the exception of New Zealand’s, is
    backed by an individual billionaire, and each has spent between $65
    million and $100 million so far.” In typical Silicon Valley-fashion,
    Ellison also figured out how to stick San Francisco for a significant part of the tab and in the process even caused the eviction of a few dozen small businesses, though in the end the city did not give him a valuable stretch of waterfront he wanted.

    Here’s what San Francisco is now: a front row seat on the most
    powerful corporations on Earth and the people who run them. So we know
    what you may not yet: they are not your friends and their vision is not
    your vision, but your data is their data, and your communications are in
    their hands, and they seem to be rising to become an arm of or a
    part-owner of the government or a law unto themselves, and no one has yet figured out what we can do about it.”