Monday, February 28, 2011

Patriotism is Not About Bumper Stickers

Patriotism-is defined as love and devotion to one’s country not frenzied outbursts of emotion. Is there love and devotion to one’s own people? This is the question. To me this is another, almost, paradox. Everybody supports our troops or they should, unconditionally, you don’t have to agree with what they are doing but you have to support them in what they are doing, since they’re not even permitted to question what they are doing. These are our fellow Americans fighting and dying for us. Now if you do oppose what an administration is using them for, a lot of people can call you unpatriotic, the administration itself will. On the contrary, I might be more patriotic because I don’t want to see these soldiers die in vain, they are not an expendable to me. Don’t make the mistake and criticize the distribution of wealth or corporations, now you are an unpatriotic anti-capitalist. Want affordable healthcare and regulation? You are now an unpatriotic, anti-capitalist socialist. It is the most prodigious affair when there is a national disaster or attack (foreign or domestic) or a tragedy of some kind, to see the outpouring of love and support, the slew of emotions and actions that transpires, after such event, from Americans…it is unmatched. We are an intensely compassionate country. However when it comes to caring about each other on a daily basis, when it comes to fundamental needs, there is a lapse and usually attached to some kind of ridicule, hostility or judgment. I’ll start with poverty; Americans incessantly campaign to help other impoverished nations. There are multitudes of American’s, children, adult and elderly…even veterans, that go without fundamental needs…shelter, food, water…healthcare. Roughly 13 to 17% of Americans living below the federal poverty line at any given point in time, and roughly 40% falling below the poverty line at some point within a 10-year time span. Overall, 5.6 percent of veterans lived in poverty in 1999.The youngest veterans, those who served in August 1990 or later, were among the most likely to be poor, with a poverty rate of 6.2 percent.
47 million Americans still have no health insurance and the proportion of children with no health insurance has risen, with the poorest children the most likely to be uninsured. What do we here from the patriotic uncompassionate? Get a job. If a person accepts assistance in anyway, there is a great out lash against it. President Reagan was an individual who greatly looked down on disadvantaged people and the same sentiment exists now tenfold, that the person is lazy or not trying hard enough. However, Reagan’s own family benefited from FDR’s New Deal, leaving to question where his family would have been without it. Was it ever considered that the playing field has become increasingly uneven? How about raising the minimum wage? Quality education is not available to a great number of children. The costs of healthcare are just too great for even members of the upper classes. How about all Americans having the same rights? Just to clarify I’m not talking about abuse of resources. If we are so patriotic, it begs to differ that this does not help our country as a whole on a global competitive level or even exhibit the morals and values that are perpetually preached. This hostility is also directly related to what is happening to unions in this country (See Class Warfare, Fazed and Not Amused). It’s an attack on the classes.
 If we are so patriotic, how can we stand by and see people die from lack of healthcare or going bankrupt as a result, losing their house or business or job, therefore ending up in a situation that we so “despise” needing assistance for food and shelter, if the Americans aren’t dead. A colossal amount of American’s identifies with this being a Christian country. Would Jesus approve? Over 2 billion dollars were given for Faith Based Initiatives under Pres. George W. Bush. The separation of church and state was noted as one of major issues with the Faith-Based Initiatives laws. Critics have claimed that millions in government grants have gone to ministries operated by political supporters of the Bush administration. But to what extent can they help? In fact they cannot provide any assistance, if say, a chemotherapeutic agent that a patient has to take if they have cancer and cannot afford, is almost nine thousand dollars a month. They won’t provide assistance if the medication is over a certain amount. Not to mention there is no regulation with the foods that churches provide to people. People who rely on nutritional assistance provided from a faith based venue, are given foods that are in unmarked packaging, beyond the expiration date, and are composed of highly refined carbohydrates. There in resulting in problems that lead to other problems. “Supporters had hoped the Faith-Based Initiative would be about solving problems of poverty and an over-burdened welfare system, while opponents feared rampant proselytizing with government funds. Instead, these initiatives by and large did not offer substantial new fiscal support to those in need. In the place of this hope and fear, and despite the good intentions of many, these initiatives became powerful political symbols in the fight to reshape church/state relationships and distribution of political power”-Rebecca Sager. I love my county, I love my Americans… It’s not about flying a flag, wearing a pin or decorating bumpers...


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