Trying to avoid political posts again...but somebody asked me offline whether I didn't do my usual 4th of July post because I was "feeling less patriotic" this year.
Briefly, no. I am one of those fanatics who always feels extravagantly patriotic; less on the universal grounds that "my nation is great because I happened to be born here," than something like "this nation is great because, unlike most nations, it was formed with an aim toward specific ideals of freedom." I understand those who point out how far short the country has fallen in meeting those ideals -- even at its inception the "liberals" who wanted to denounce slavery, for example, were not only slave-holders themselves, but were forced by their "conservative" pals to drop the subject...and when your high ideal of human freedom includes owning some humans as slaves, you've got a problem. But, yeah, I am devoted as hell to defending a country based on such ideals, and the fact that some folks in power now are swiftly dismantling the Bill of Rights which most engenders my own patriotism, doesn't lessen that patriotism itself even one little bit.
No, my problem was the opposite: my patriotism is currently in such a frenzy of concern that my attempt to write a post on the subject went haywire. The part about my respect for those under arms for us was fine, I thought -- if a bit maudlin and angry by turns, in the current circumstances -- but I wanted to touch on two other areas...only one of which went along at all well, without descending into a screed (yes, even to my own ears). So I'll just calmly summarize the points, then let it go.
(1) In such a polarized political environment it's difficult to get anybody to criticize "their own side," but I wanted to, bigtime, and briefly will now: even though it was the "moderates" on the Supreme Court who decided the thing, and the "conservatives" standing unsuccessfully against them -- and despite my understanding that the actual issue decided on was states' rights, not eminent domain per se -- the recent eminent domain decision was disastrously wrong, IMO, and deserves condemnation from everyone who cares about freedom. I am happy to so condemn it here, and do; and am proud to note that many of my right-leaning libertarian friends are similarly happy to condemn the institution of detention at the will of the monarch. I believe it's a sign of maturity to be able to admit when your "side" (if you have a "side") is Just Plain Wrong. So there! :/
That part of the post was originally longer, and more strongly worded, but it went okay. Where everything went screechy was in the second part.
(2) I wanted, this 4th of July, to pay tribute to some of our necessarily unsung heroes: those in America's clandestine services, particularly those operating without diplomatic immunity. Here too I'm well aware of the abuses, historical and otherwise -- but, dammit, there are people out there risking their lives in hidden, and frequently non-violent (see Paul Linebarger (SF writer Cordwainer Smith)'s classic on psychological warfare) ways, to see to it that we're safe in our beds. Up to this point, so far, so good.
But then I couldn't resist mentioning the case of a clandestine service officer's name having been leaked for political advantage by someone in the current administration...and kids, I can't discuss that one without seeing red. If this happened in anything like the form everyone seems to agree it did, it's both infuriating and incomprehensible to me, and every bit of calm reason I have flees every time I get near the subject.*
Despite all the (fake, one can only assume) concern expressed by this bunch about WMD's, some among their number apparently deliberately blew the cover of an undercover operative whose job it was to build networks to stop the spread of real-life WMD's. They not only injured her career -- and quite possibly endangered her life -- but blew her networks as well...not to mention committed a serious crime, which the administration has subsequently been at pains, with the help of its good friends in the media, to cover up. Somebody(s) or other, for political gain, deliberately placed America and her friends in harm's way -- in the way of harm from mass-destructive weapons! -- from cheap political motives. In my book that's plain and simple treason. Had Clinton's administration done that, you know it would have been part of the impeachment; had Clinton known about it -- or even failed to fire and prosecute the guilty parties -- he would, and should, have been removed as well.
So, belatedly, here's a raised glass to those of you who serve in silence, and (particularly those without diplomatic cover) in special danger, to protect the country and ideals I love. Your enemies are my enemies. May they be requited exactly, and as fully, as they deserve.
There. That sounds reasonable enough. Back to work, and away from politics again (I hope I hope I hope).
93 93/93 -- Rabidly Patriotic AJ
* In fact, one proposed title for the post was "Nation of Pussies," and a sub-theme the speed with which some Americans wanted to surrender all their freedoms because, for once, somebody punched them. I backed off this not only because it seemed both extreme and undignified, but because I recalled a curious fact: those most eager to surrender our freedoms tend to congregate in states that are least likely to be attacked by foreign terrorists; those likeliest to be in the crosshairs, tend to resist most strongly the attempts to destroy our freedoms. I haven't a clue what the motives are of those whose "love of country" includes revulsion toward its Bill of Rights, but clearly, cowardice isn't the main issue.