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Independence Day

By DOUG THOMPSON
July 4, 2011

A biker passes by a theater marquee in Falls Church, Virginia, on Sept. 15, 2001 -- four days after 9/11. (Photo by Doug Thompson)

 

The following sticker appears on the back of two of my motorcycle helmets:

I’m not a Democrat.

I’m not a Republican.

I’m an American.

There is a difference.

That sticker sums up my philosophy and my feelings about my country. My beliefs and my soul belong to no political party, no ideology, no philosophical organization and no other group with an agenda that supplants love of country or belief in the principles that guided our founding father on that July 4th in 1776 when they put their lives, the property and their freedom on the line to sign the Declaration of Independence.

On this July 4th, I wonder if most out there remember — truly remember — what it means to be an American?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Nowadays, the 4th is — for too many — an excuse to party, get drunk and forget — if possible — the many problems that inflict this nation.  Too many ignore the true meaning of Independence Day. Too few get a lump in their throat when Old Glory flies or the band plays the Star Spangled Banner. Too few even fly the flag on this most sacred of purely-American holidays.

Too many today identify themselves primarily not as Americans but as Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals, members of a tea party or its left-wing equivalent.  Each group — whether left or right — claims to be the ones who stand for the “real America,” yet none of them do.

Sadly, the nation founded on the belief of individual freedom, of freedom of thought and expression, of individuality has become a divided country where diverse groups battle each other for the right to dominate our thoughts, our actions and our allegiance.

Each party, each group, each gathering of ideologues demand lock-step obedience to a narrowly-defined set of beliefs. Those who display any signs of independence become outcasts or traitors to the cause.

Reasoned debate vanishes in a storm of discord, driven by bitterness, hate and ignorance. Those with opposing points of view become targets of derision. Differing viewpoints bring insults or even threats.  Diversity becomes a badge of dishonor.

I don’t pretend to have any answers to the many problems that threaten America today. I’m not smart enough to offer up any solutions.

I’m simply an American who looks at dismay to what is happening to the country I love and wonder what — if anything — can be done.

Are pride in country, celebrations of freedom and patriotism outmoded concepts?

God, I hope not.

I’d hate to see the Star Spangled Banner replaced by Taps as the national anthem.

I’m not a Democrat.

I’m not a Republican.

I’m not a conservative.

I’m not a liberal.

I’m not a progressive or  a regressive.

I’m not an Anglo-Saxon, African-American, Hispanic-American or anything else.

I’m simply an American and damn proud of it.

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10 Responses to Independence Day

  1. Fivebyfives

    July 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

    In 1940 there were two brothers working in a rock quarry in West Virginia nailing 50 cents per hour. They joined the army under the buddy system and both were eventually posted on Corregidor in the Philipines. After the fall of Corregidor in May 1942, they spent 3 1/2 years as prisoners (and later slaves) of the Japanese. During this time they lost a brother in a bomber in Europe.

    One of them said to me when I was growing up, “Don’t ever believe a government. Governments by their nature are designed to lie. But never forget what the flag represents, that is the best this nation can offer.”

    To me the flag transcends all politics, and speaks to a quiet but proud patriotism which should not be confused for nationalism. Also, while it is appropriate to be thankful for the men who forfeited their lives and health for their nation, it is incumbent upon us to remember the women who sacrificed as well. While not perishing in numbers like men, we tend to overlook the mothers, wives, and daughters who laid to rest the remains of all they nurtured and loved.

    Thank you Doug for a poignant and timely reminder on this day.

  2. Sandune

    July 4, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Thank you Chief, this is a very nice commentary on American values. I tend to agree that America might be on her last years. I was born the year that FDR became president and through the years it became obvious even to a dumb beach bum that attitudes and allegiances were changing. The never-ending wars since that time changed the individual American into a team player that turned into a backyard brawl. Many of us blame the fear of hell and damnation that wandered in and out of our cities and many blame the hatred for people of color and other nationalities.

    Whatever divided us did one hell of a job. The blind faith that many felt was that America would never harm one of their own. The Declaration was written by the people and for individuals. An enormous separation hit the citizens brought about by political wars pitting neighborhoods against other areas within the cities. With television and then the internet, nobody had to research the corruption found in our government.

    There is no way we can return to the days of honest elections, rational home loans and affordable health care. We are owned, lock stock and barrel by the federal government.

    I still hold out hope for honest debates by millions of honest Americans who agree on freedoms for everyone. I will never respect any decision that comes from our Supreme Court ever since the Bush 43 Administration salted the Justices under God.

    But on CHB, I stand alone on my agenda. My world won’t end but my responsibility to vote will come to an end. Americans are too dumb and lazy to care about what the laws represent. They will line up and wait to be to told what they cannot do.

    Happy Fourth of July!

  3. Carl Nemo

    July 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Thanks Doug for the 4th of July editorial, one of the finest I’ve read in my time and sums up what it means to be an American along with honoring the true value our heritage. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. woody188

    July 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you to the great men and women that sacrificed of themselves. I appreciate what you have done. The following is not directed against you as you have about as much choice as any of us, meaning next to none, in what is occurring to our United States.

    Just days ago we are told by our court system that it’s Constitutional to force us to buy health insurance.

    Our President has sent our military into Libya on his own accord and ignored our laws. Just days ago our Congress acknowledged this yet does nothing to stop it because while they disagree with his methods, they agree with his cause of meddling in a civil war in another country.

    We are scanned, searched, groped and scrutinized when we travel. There are plans to increase this to shopping malls, groceries, and sporting events.

    The FBI has partnered with business leaders to create InfraGard, a privileged class of business owners and managers that get advanced warning notices and are told to shoot to kill in the event of martial law.

    Our church clergy are enlisted by Homeland Security and told to cite Romans 13 in an effort to “quell dissent” and get them to obey government orders, relinquish guns and be taken to camps during a state of emergency.

    The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team is stationed within the continental US “to help with civil unrest and crowd control.”

    Our elections are a sham. We are given a choice between two corporate candidates that couldn’t care less for America or Americans. All they care about are corporate profits and how they can line their own pockets. What’s good for the country doesn’t even cross their minds.

    We are held hostage to an international banking class that demands our payments via the IRS with threats of prison if we don’t pay. They print our money out of thin air and demand we pay it back with interest. Their system is stacked against us and designed to keep us in perpetual debt and hence, in servitude to them.

    On this Independence Day I can’t help but wonder, where’s the freedom and independence we claim to have?

    • Carl Nemo

      July 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks Woody188 for your incisive “counter opinion” as to where this nation stands on its 235th birthday.

      I thought of writing such myself, but Doug wrote such a fine piece of traditional feelgood material that I thought it better to go with the flow rather than rock the boat.

      “I don’t pretend to have any answers to the many problems that threaten America today. I’m not smart enough to offer up any solutions.” …extract from article

      Regardless of what I’ve contributed to this forum over time, I’m with Doug for the most part. So too I think he’s smarter than he might give credit to himself, but the problems facing this nation are so ‘ in our face’ and all-encompassing that it leaves one hushed when contemplating the necessary solutions, myself and others included.

      Our nation has become a “Tower of Babel” situation with so many factions pulling in different directions while losing their sense of nation which is what the globalists want; I.E., the destruction of the concept of the “nation state” while turning former sovereign nations into simply desperate minor plantions within the greater global order of such. It seems they, the bankers have succeeded in their long term mission to achieve such.

      *****

      “Give me control over a nations currency, and I care not who makes its laws.” … Baron Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 18th century founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty

      *****

      It’s my fear that America will not be a long-lived experiment in freedom and justice for all and we’re now witnessing the unravelling of the Republic. Surely sovereign insolvency could be the catalyst to start the final process to our national undoing. Things are not well Gotham… : (

      Happy Fourth of July 2011 to our site host and all the fine participants that contribute to his CHB forum over time. : )

      Carl Nemo **==

  5. shortlittlerebel

    July 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for this great article! But don’t lose hope, Chief. Most Americans believe what you do. I am convinced that the media projects this division of peoples for one reason only: to cause Americans to lose heart. Most people have common sense. They can see the issues. The trouble is that our government just can’t self correct anymore. We, the People, may have to retake and reform our government into the one outlined in the originating documents of this great nation. Me, I’m an Independent and have indeed experienced the situations you described. But I still mainly consider myself a ‘conservative’ in most ways. While I agree that mean spiritness can come in all shades, I believe it comes mostly from the progressive left. Just a thought there.

  6. DejaVuAllOver

    July 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Fine piece, Doug, but I have a question. Is hoping for your own tyrannical government to fall considered patriotic or subversive? Since it’s obvious to a toaster that both parties and our government are owned by the neocon / neoliberal mob who are actively working toward a police state to further the interests of a small so-called country in the Middle East, when is it still patriotic to hope for a COMPLETE change, which might result in a new country or several, perhaps not even called America?

    Asked another way, were the Founding Fathers patriots or reactionaries, or both, since they obviously wanted a clean, fresh, brand-new start and were willing to fight and die to overthrow their (then current) government?

    Personally, I am loyal to the land, my family, friends and some principles which used to exist here, but no longer do. Happy Fourth to you all, but to me patriotism means loyalty the land and hoping that our current government spends a long, long time in Hell.

  7. Carl Nemo

    July 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    ” …to me patriotism means loyalty the land and hoping that our current government spends a long, long time in Hell.” …extract from post

    Both succinctly and beautifully said DejaVuAllOver. The land and our roots that stretches back 235 years is all we have to grip upon as our nation founders in a turbulent sea of corruption and duplicity in high places.

    When and if the day comes we hear these crimpols in high places talking of handing over the gold reserves in Ft. Knox and the states to the Chinese et al. creditors, then it will be time to fetch the tar, feathers, and sharp edged rails to render justice as in olden times…no? : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. Almandine

    July 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    You get what you work for… or something else.

    http://www.alt-market.com/articles/163-reflections-on-the-4th-of-july

  9. griff

    July 6, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    My bumper sticker reads “Ron Paul for President.”

    The solution is in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Very few people truly understand what they stand for, what America stands for.

    What is freedom any way?

    All we are is a bunch of label shoppers. We put more thought into choosing breakfast cereal than we do choosing a president or congressman. Sound bites and slogans. Yum. Eat it up!

    Eat organic. Put the chemicals down.

    Campaigns are two year marketing schemes based on the latest poll results. Wedge issues drive party bases to the polls. There is so much shit wrong with this country it’s almost unfathomable, if not insurmountable.

    They use words like freedom and democracy in a twisted game of buzzword bingo, much to the delight of the media and the multitude of obedient viewers.

    Killing is our business now. We’ve never met any one we haven’t manufactured a reason to kill yet.

    Greed and corruption is our business now.

    Every morning the Hill People climb those steps they’re getting ready to take a huge steaming crap on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. On America.

    And on you.