Sunday, July 04, 2010


Long ago, in a punk scene far, far away, I was up on stages singing a song about the citizens of a land known as Reagan Country. It had a chorus stating the following:

New Patriotism
What the fuck is that?
People with their flags in one hand, wallets in the other.

New Patriotism. It’s baaaack.

Greedy ass selfish fuckers who don’t seem to understand the meaning of the words “We the people” are sucking up most of the air in their immediate area lately, producing massive amounts of rhetorical pollution disguised as love of country.

As for the Neo-New Patriots’ current mouthpieces du jour, I don’t question their patriotism. The least patriotic thing for somebody to do is to question the patriotism of a fellow citizen, although the Neo-New Patriots tend to do that on quite a regular basis. I do, however, question the personal definition behind their constant buzzwords of “freedom” and “liberty”.

The definition of “freedom” espoused by these folks has nothing to do with anyone else’s freedom, and all about solely their own. Instead of “Don’t Tread On Me”, perhaps the slogan of their rally flags should simply read “Me, Myself and I”. Their vision of “freedom” and “liberty” are defined by principles such as the “freedom” to keep women from making choices with their own bodies, and the “liberty” to avoid paying taxes once they become rich enough, while everyone else in the lower income brackets cough up the loot to pay the nation’s bills.

In other words, to be free to run the rest of our lives and tell us what we can and cannot do. It’s not really about freedom and liberty. It’s a sick combination of lust for power coupled with a dismissal of personal responsibility for those who attain that power.

As far as I’m concerned, we are only as free as we all agree to be. People in this country have a reasonable right to live free, pursue opportunity, and strive to make this land a better and better place to live in everyday. This involves cooperation, understanding and tolerance, and not just getting together as (somewhat remotely) like-minded individuals to bitch about what triggers our prejudices and insecurities.

While certain folks out there are wasting their time whining about the state of the nation, I’ll be truly appreciating my freedom and liberty as an American by communicating positively to my fellow citizens, and treating them with equality and respect. That’s what it’s all about, and perhaps someday, these empty rhetoric junkies, or at least their descendants, may finally get a clue.