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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

rfreebern
Feb. 19th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC)
Re: More.
So why should the companies that didn't contribute be granted that opportunity?

Because nobody asked us to invade Iraq. It wasn't our job in the first place, and it wasn't our right to decide who gets to benefit from our unapproved actions. The contracts should have been doled out by an impartial third party (like the U.N., perhaps) who could best evaluate which companies would provide the best services for the best price to the Iraqi people. Iraq's money isn't a "paycheck" that the U.S. is somehow entitled to.

Re: anti-American sentiment, I was stating that in the context of my perceived corruption of the symbolism of the flag due to the government's unilateral action against Iraq. Hundreds of millions of people across the globe demonstrated against us going to war. I wouldn't have wanted to walk around in their towns with an American flag at that time. I understand that anti-American sentiment always exists. It's just been higher than usual lately due to the administration's bullheaded foreign policies.
westernactor
Feb. 20th, 2004 04:31 am (UTC)
Re: More.
The contracts should have been doled out by an impartial third party (like the U.N., perhaps)

But the problem is, the U.N. was not impartial in this matter. And, again, I simply don't see why anyone who wasn't willing to take risks in liberating the Iraqi people should be allowed to benefit from their liberation. I hope it's clear I don't just feel that way in this circumstance, but I feel this way about a lot of things. I don't like to benefit from (or be credited for) things I didn't do or didn't write, and I expected to receive just compensation or credit for things that I do participate in. And your comment also suggests that the U.S. companies getting the jobs aren't the best available, which is quite likely a distinct possibility. And I agree that the Iraqi people deserve the best price for these things, but I just don't think that countries who refused to support or acknowledge the liberation of Iraq deserve to benefit from it now. We may have to just stop arguing about that issue altogether, because you're not likely to change my mind about it. Unless you want to send me your most recent paycheck, in which case we can talk... :)
rfreebern
Feb. 20th, 2004 06:42 am (UTC)
Re: More.
The only people benefitting from Iraq's liberation should be Iraq! We were not asked to take these risks. We were not employed by anyone. You think it's perfectly okay to wage war against a country, destroy their military, and then take their money and do with it as we please? I think that's called plundering, and it has no place in civilized society.

If the U.S.'s aim in this war was to truly assist the people of Iraq, then the only considerations that should apply to post-war reconstruction should be those of the Iraqi people. Our own petty grievances with countries like Germany and France have no place in the negotiations whatosever.

You keep comparing this to someone taking away someone else's paycheck. The problem is, a paycheck is given for a job that was assigned to a specific person. If you volunteer to perform a task, however, you shouldn't expect a paycheck, and if the person you do the task for decides he wants to give a bunch of money to someone else, you have no say in the matter. It's not your money!

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