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 Post subject: MOURN on the Fourth of July!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:20 am 
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Mourn on the Fourth of July

Media Beat (7/3/05)

By Norman Solomon

Am I the only U.S. citizen who finds the annual Fourth rituals to be cloying and deceptive? Yeah -- just me and probably tens of millions of other people.

Ever since the Vietnam War, the Fourth of July has seemed to be a celebration of the past in the midst of a distinctly un-glorious present. In 2005, as in 1965, lyrical appreciation of “bombs bursting in air” is chilling in the context of current realities.

Overall, my outlook on the yearly Independence Day spectacle remains what it was a decade ago:

Patriotic holidays come and go, but one theme is fairly constant in our country’s mass media: The founding fathers were a sterling bunch of guys.

Their press notices are usually raves when the Fourth of July rolls around -- superficial accolades for leaders of the struggle for independence.

It’s true that the famed men of the American Revolution were brave, eloquent and visionary as they challenged the British despot, King George III. But present-day news media usually avoid acknowledging an uncomfortable fact: Many of those heroes didn’t seem to mind very much when they benefitted from injustice.

Take the genius who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson certainly had a passion for freedom: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ...”

All men? Not quite. The luxuries of Monticello were made possible by slavery. Jefferson may have wrestled with his conscience, but it lost. He remained a slave owner until he died.

As for women, forget it. Jefferson assumed that females should have no right to own property or to vote. Women, he contended, would be “too wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics.”

The truth be told, some of the leading patriots were downright greedy.

George Washington was America’s richest man. And he had a record as a land speculator that makes Donald Trump seem like a penny-ante developer. After the Revolutionary War, as author Howard Zinn points out in A People’s History of the United States, Washington used his enormous wealth and power to snap up vast tracts of land.

Patrick Henry was also among the heroic fighters for independence who went on to make a killing in westward real estate. After demanding “Give me liberty or give me death,” Henry wanted Indians out of the way. His slogan could have become: “Give me property or give them death.”

James Madison and many other founders of the United States were masters of large plantations. They made sure that the U.S. Constitution would perpetuate slavery: counting each slave as three-fifths of a person, with no rights.

Is this just old, irrelevant history -- dredged up from water over the dam? Not at all.

Turning a blind eye to ugly aspects of the past can be a bad habit that carries over into the present: Too often, journalists focus on P.R. facades (old or new) and pay little attention to the people left out of the pretty picture.

Back in 1776, all the flowery oratory about freedom did nothing for black slaves, women, indentured servants or Native Americans. If we forget that fact, we are remembering only fairy tales instead of history.

During the Constitution’s 1987 bicentennial, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall punctured the time-honored idolatry of the Constitution’s framers: “The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war and momentous social transformation to attain the ... respect for individual freedoms and human rights we hold as fundamental today.”

Most of the delegates who gathered in Philadelphia to draw up the Constitution were wealthy. And they “were determined that persons of birth and fortune should control the affairs of the nation and check the ‘leveling impulses’ of the propertyless multitude that composed ‘the majority faction,’” writes political scientist Michael Parenti.

In his book Democracy for the Few, Parenti notes: “The delegates spent many weeks debating their interests, but these were the differences of merchants, slave owners, and manufacturers, a debate of haves vs. haves in which each group sought safeguards within the new Constitution for its particular concerns.”

However, “there were no dirt farmers or poor artisans attending the convention to proffer an opposing viewpoint. The debate between haves and have-nots never occurred.” And “the delegates repeatedly stated their intention to erect a government strong enough to protect the haves from the have-nots.”

After more than two centuries, you’d hope that more journalists would be willing to set aside fawning myths about the founding fathers. If that ever happens, the emergence of candor might even help shed some light on the ruling fathers of today.


Link: http://www.fair.org

Catherine

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 3:07 am 
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Quote:
“the delegates repeatedly stated their intention to erect a government strong enough to protect the haves from the have-nots.”


And look at how wonderfully that has weathered time!

Proves we are a nation of humans--with all the personality traits of any other group of people. And it points out just how important it is for the 'have-nots' to continue to fight with the aim of being included in our 'free nation'.

They hate us for our freedoms, you know.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:26 am 
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in our local paper today, they had letters from soldiers who are in iraq....it was unbelievable that some of them actually feel that they are protecting our freedom by fighting in iraq.

now, i know one does not have to be college educated to be a soldier, but how do you equate invading iraq with protecting american people???? had they said they were protecting american "interests", that may be a different story, because we all know the only american "interest" in iraq is by the corporations....the average american has no "interest" in iraq, other than fuel for their SUV.

i'm also aware that not all soldiers feel that way who are serving over there and it would have been nice had they printed letters from those who are unhappy with fighting a war based on pure lies and deception, but i imagine the american people can't handle things like that.........


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:38 pm 
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mga wrote:
in our local paper today, they had letters from soldiers who are in iraq....it was unbelievable that some of them actually feel that they are protecting our freedom by fighting in iraq.

now, i know one does not have to be college educated to be a soldier, but how do you equate invading iraq with protecting american people????


mga,
I have a friend who is in the military serving in Iraq right now. He is a graduate of West Point, so he has been fully "brainwashed" by the military and especially this administration. He 100% believes that he is protecting Iraq and our "freedom" by fighting in Iraq. It's very sad to see someone who doesn't even realize that he's been brainwashed by this administration. Do you know he STILL believes that Iraq had WMD's, or at least the capacity to attack the United States even though it's been proven otherwise. He also fully believes that Iraq had something to do with 9/11. No matter how much I tell him what he believes is false or try to prove it to him, he doesn't listen. It's as if his whole world will shatter if he discovers that he's been lied to over these past number of years - he just can't seem to handle the truth and therefore refuses to hear it.
If you want to read letters from soldiers who realize that they are fighting a war based on lies, read Michael Moore's book "Will They Ever Trust Us Again".
Also, I avoid watching regular broadcast TV on July 4th. I usually watch the "Twilight Zone" marathon. This way I don't have to worry about being inundated with images of the American Flag or listening to stories from our "brave" soldiers fighting for my "freedom" on this farce of a holiday.
Eva


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:01 pm 
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eva,

i know only too well how some soldiers think. my sons have a friend who joined a few years ago, and when he was back visiting he and i talked for a while. i was dumbfounded how they have taught him to think and his views on the war. i did not get into a debate with him, out of respect for his "job", but he had the same attitude as your friend....amazing what they can do to some people, isn't it?

but, what will happen to these soldiers when/if the truth ever comes out enmass about the real deception of this war? what will they thnk when/if impeachment happens? it'll be beyond their comprehension, but, i saw the same thing happen with gung-ho vietnam vets when they found out what veitnam was really all about...those are the ones who turned extremely radical towards the government.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:58 pm 
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Eva wrote:
It's as if his whole world will shatter if he discovers that he's been lied to over these past number of years - he just can't seem to handle the truth and therefore refuses to hear it.


His whole world most definitely will shatter. Finding out that instead of defending your country and your buddies, you've been committing war crimes, is soul-shattering, as well it should be.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:21 pm 
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mga wrote:
but, what will happen to these soldiers when/if the truth ever comes out enmass about the real deception of this war?........, i saw the same thing happen with gung-ho vietnam vets when they found out what veitnam was really all about...those are the ones who turned extremely radical towards the government.


Some of them were never able to face the truth. Some will never face the truth. They'll always continue to insist that they were doing the right thing and the real enemy is "liberals" who protested. Once you've done things that a person with a conscience and a soul would not do, it is extremely hard to face it. It is a lot easier to believe that you were doing the right thing. There were many Nazi war criminals who never abandoned their beliefs. When Nazis were assigned to the concentration camps, some vomited and cried and had to be sent home. Others compartmentalized the atrocities and continued doing their assigned jobs. And some were just evil, conscienceless people who jumped at any chance to kill and torture innocents and would happily do it again. The majority, of course, claimed that they had been duped. And maybe they had. Maybe the ones who simply couldn't do it just hadn't been properly trained and indoctrinated.

I find it comforting to know that there are some people who cannot be duped into committing atrocities. They have a visceral reaction that makes them unfit for service. And I like to think that no amount of training and indoctrination would ever change them. It gives me hope for humanity, no matter how few their numbers.

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