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Dean again

Howard Dean announced today that he would stop campaigning, which effectively marks the end of his run for the Democratic nomination. One small part of his remarks today really jumped out at me, though:

You have the power to take our country back so that the flag of the United States of America no longer is the exclusive property of John Ashcroft and Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Falwell; that it belongs to all of us again.


That's exactly how I feel these days. Four years ago, the U.S. flag was something I would have gladly called the symbol of my country, a country I was proud to be born and raised in. Now, the flag seems more like the symbol of the conservative, arrogant, narrow-minded anti-people government of the U.S.A., and it's no longer something I want to be associated with. They've corrupted the flag so that it stands for their particular right-wing Christian viewpoint instead of the greatness that it used to. I feel ashamed when I talk to people who live in other countries, because of the way Bush has treated the entire rest of the world.

And I just realised every time a car drives past with an American flag in its window, I think "there goes another poor fool, tricked into thinking this country is great by the president's pathetic, moralistic, guilt-driven rhetoric." And I hate it that I think that. When I see someone displaying a flag, I want to think "that person knows exactly how great this country really is." But I can't any more, because right now, this country isn't great.

Howard Dean's message was simple. He wanted the government to be about the people in this country. Not the corporations in this country, not the military of this country, not the strength of this country, the people themselves. He wanted laws passed that would guarantee equal rights to every citizen, regardless of any of their differences,be it race, gender, religion, sexuality, income, or anything else. He wanted to make sure that every single person here would have adequate health care. He did it in Vermont, and he could have done it in D.C., but people were too shocked by the fact that he yelled excitedly at a rally to give him a chance.

As much as I'd like to see Dean continue to get votes in the upcoming primaries, and perhaps even gather a few more delegates despite not actively campaigning, I know that won't happen. The public has a dreadful attention span, and by the time Super Tuesday rolls around, Dean will be all but forgotten by everyone except his active supporters. However, I think that his message has come across well. Kerry and Edwards have both adopted Dean's stance on several issues, quietly making parts of his message their own, and that right there is a small victory.

Here's to more victories in the future.

Comments

duchez
Feb. 19th, 2004 09:41 am (UTC)
Hm
I normally stay out of these discussions, but I couldn't let this whole conversation go by in silence. I didn't intend to let this get angry or long...it just happened.

And I just realised every time a car drives past with an American flag in its window, I think "there goes another poor fool, tricked into thinking this country is great by the president's pathetic, moralistic, guilt-driven rhetoric." And I hate it that I think that.

The solution is not to think it... The solution is to realize that merely because someone doesn't agree with you, they're not stupid, they're not a fool... They're merely someone who disagrees with you, and that's not necessarily good or bad, it just is.


Neither you seem to realize that the vast majority of the cab drivers (at least in New York City, which is where I am basing my thoughts on) are not displaying the American flag because they are "tricked" into thinking the country is great, or truly believe the country is great. They are displaying the flag because their foreign looks, their foreign sounding names make people look at them twice. They display the flag as a protection, a way to try to minimize their foreigness, because they are just simple people trying to make money. This extrapolates to a lot of private car owners, myself included. I am just making my life here, studying, working, living. I shouldn't have to feel that I need to display a flag in front of my home, in my car, just so the neighbors won't speculate. Yet, we do. So we wave the flag.

Later on in the comments, someone points out the difference between actions and beliefs, using the Patriot Act as an example. I have no complaints with anyone agreeing or disagreeing with the President, or his Cabinet. There seems to be a sentiment that the opposition is wholly upon the current president being a Republican. I recall controversy when Clinton dropped bombs on Iraq (98? 99?). Unless those of us with the foreign names and looks were the only ones complaining? If you are going to criticize the current administration, criticize the policies. In this case, the Patriot Act. The double standard of going to war against Iraq and not Liberia. The lying about Iraq's WMD, links with Al-Qaeda. If you are going to defend the current administration, please defend the policies. Please defend the realities, not the rhetoric. I am not sure, but it seems like only the people who oppose the administration focus on the larger picture, and the supporters on specific details. Is this the nature of opposition? I don't know.

Those of us who are Americans but also have ties with other parts of the world know the true meaning of being free to criticize. I wonder at the irony of it all. We oppose many of the policies that is supposed to make those countries better - Iraq? - and we oppose many of the policies that is supposed to make Americans feel safer - none of us feel safe living in fear of being carted off to jail. It makes me angry when I am told the administration's current policies are aimed towards making the world a better place. For whom, I want to ask, for whom?

I do want to point out that John Ashcroft, observing the ceremonies on 9/11 this year, said Americans had forgotten the horrors of the day, which is why they were opposing the administration's policies (I posted this at the time). Yes, Ashcroft never said "unpatriotic" - but what he said is still pretty galling.
westernactor
Feb. 19th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC)
Re: Hm
I have no complaints with anyone agreeing or disagreeing with the President, or his Cabinet.

Nor do I, for the record.

The lying about Iraq's WMD

There's a difference between lying and faulty intelligence. When Clinton bombed Iraq in 1998 or whatever, he was operating on similar intelligence, and it was an action that a lot of liberals and Democrats at the time supported. Then, when Bush wants to do something similar for similar reasons, the same people criticize it. Why? I don't understand that. If the intelligence was faulty or inaccurate, that's a terrible thing, but it's not something that was Bush's fault alone.

links with Al-Qaeda

As I have said time and time again on ifMUD, it is incorrect to state that there is no reason to believe there are (or were) connections between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. There most certainly was reason to believe that's the case, but what irks so many people--myself included--is that no one really knows for sure. And, most likely, no one ever will know for sure.

I am not sure, but it seems like only the people who oppose the administration focus on the larger picture, and the supporters on specific details. Is this the nature of opposition? I don't know.

That's not at all my impression... I think people are just seeing different bigger pictures, which is leading to the whole problem that spawned this discussion in the first place. This is one of those things, like so many others, that's open to a tremendous amount of interpretation, and again, it's not easy to say that just one person is right and one person is wrong. There is truth to be found on all sides if you know how to look for it, a fact which seems to me to be all too infrequently acknowledged. (Something from which I'm not exempting myself, I'd like to make that clear.) But blanket statements about anything having to do with our current situation have seemed to me to be inadequate.

That's one of the reasons I like to have discussions like these, beacuse it allows me the opportunity to get a better idea of how the side with which I don't agree perceives what I'm looking at. I think of it as very similar to theatre, in a way--I'm always amazed by how two (or five or ten or twenty) people can look at one show and have two (or five or ten or twenty) totally different reactions to it. For example, I went to a show on Sunday night that everyone--without exception--I had talked to hated. Actually hated, not just disliked. I thought it was one of the best plays I'd seen all season, and the chief theatre critic of The New York Times pretty much agrees with me.

The trick, though, is finding a way to get at the discourse (be it about theatre, our current political situation, or something else altogether) while still being respectful of the other people's opinions and the way those opinions are formed. Because it's all valid, and it's all important; none of us lives in a vaccuum. I'm extremely grateful for your posting a response in this thread, because you can react to this in a way that's very, very different from almost everyone I know, and, particularly in your first paragraph, gave me a lot of stuff to think about in ways that hadn't occurred to me before. I can't just write you off because your opinions as a whole don't agree with mine; that would be foolish of me. And I guess I think it's foolish of others to do the same to me or those who agree with my opinions on issues like this... Everyone has something to learn from everyone else, whether you disagree with them or not, I think, and the bigger a picture I get of what everyone thinks, the more that helps me. I hope it would help everyone else, too. But some people (not necessarily in this conversation, I should point out) just don't want to listen. That makes me sad. But what can you do?

Anyway, regarding your last paragraph (the Ashcroft thing), I did a brief Google/Google News search but wasn't able to find a story detailing specifically what you're ferring to. Do you have a specific link to it?
rfreebern
Feb. 19th, 2004 12:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Hm
FWIW, Duchess' entry with Ashcroft's quote is at her blog.

This opinion column duplicates the quote.

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