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Captain America

Political Post: Reclaiming the "Manhood" Card

Posted on 2008.07.18 at 21:56
I'll start with a simple statement: These are my political opinions and they're right. If yours are different, you're wrong, and I don't care. Bear that in mind, and all will be well.

I think it was Will Rogers who once said, "I belong to no organized political party. I'm a democrat."

It always stuns me to witness how, no matter how loathsome and ignorant a stumblebum the Republicans field, you can usually count on the Dems to find a way to lose to them.

The reason is simple. They surrender. As soon as the Republicans grab and play a card, whether or not it is rightly theirs, the Democrats shrug, and go along with it.

This is insanely bad politics, but never more insane than when the Republicans try to claim some high ground in the area of "toughness." Now, if you want to award them the "Pusillanimous" card, that of the craven, empty-scrotumed coward who talks tough and then folds up in whining surrender when things get tough, that's one the Republicans are entirely qualified for, and it's never plainer than now, when an administration of draft-dodging cowards mouths platitudes about how terrorists hate us for our freedoms, while falling all over themselves to surrender those freedoms in pursuit of some mythical "Security."

Here is the fact: Terrorism is a very old political stategem. It works as follows: Terrorists attack with the intention of provoking increasing levels of oppression from a government, thereby causing conditions to worsen for the rank and file to the level of unacceptability, at which point the people will rebel, overthrowing the government, leaving a power vacuum.

In response to a single successful terrorist attack on the United States, our Coward-in-Chief and his administration have leapt for every opportunity to throw away fundamental civil liberties. Secret Evidence in Secret Courts before Secret Judges weren't cowardly enough, weren't un-American enough for these craven simps, and the idea that The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized terrifies them.

The Orwellian "Department of Homeland Security" was created -- after all, what better to insure that the United States can react quickly to an attack than to create a vast and unaccountable Federal Bureaucracy to safeguard us!

Yet, while the fearful Republicans wet their pants and shrink away from every notion of fairness and liberty that makes America great, they have the unmitigated gall to pound their breasts and bleat of their courage, and call those of us who have the courage to brave danger in order to keep our fundamental freedoms cowards!

The truth is simple. It is cowardly to imprison scary men in a Gulag rather than try them show evidence of their guilt. It is cowardly to restrict movements, restrict freedoms, or your own citizens and visitors because you fear some may use freedom to attack you.

In America, when you have evidence, you present it in open court, you try and convict criminals with that evidence, or, if you feel that the evidence is too sensitive to use, you're out of luck. That is a charge you cannot press, a conviction you cannot win, a criminal you cannot imprison. It's a hard choice that takes real guts to make. The coward tries to have it both ways. To imprison without right to fair trail, without right to face one's accuser, without anything that permits justice.

Ask a Republican, and he will snarl that this is war, and that his goal is not justice, but security.

Ask a Republican, and he will, without knowing it, tell you he's forgotten the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, that he who would surrender his essential liberty for a little short-term security deserves neither liberty nor security and will have neither.

Ask a Republican, and he will use tough words to describe cowardly and despicable policies.

Ask a Republican, and truly listen to what he says, and he will tell you, with no awareness that he's doing so, that he's a craven, gutless coward, who will gladly strip himself and his nation of the real freedoms worth having, in hopes that he won't suffer another blow.

Ask me, and I'll tell you this:

No Republican gets to call anyone a coward, no Republican gets to call anyone unpatriotic.

Cowardice is surrendering your principles when they get risky. Principles like Habeas Corpus.

Courage is standing by your principles even when there's a risk. Principles like the Constitution, principles like the right to face one's accuser, to examine and challenge the evidence against one.

And patriotism is not flying a flag while violating the constitution it stands for.

Patriotism is upholding that constitution, even when it's perilous. And patriotism can be burning that flag to call attention to the way the freedoms it stands for are being debased.

In short, WE are the brave, WE are the patriots. We, the Democrats who have stood in opposition to the simpering chicken-hawk cowards of the right who have too long usurped our country with their false claims of strength and courage.

The manhood card is back on our side of the table. Let the Republicans whine for its return. They won't get it until they earn it, with a show of genuine American courage. I don't see it happening any time soon.

Comments:


sgt_majorette
sgt_majorette at 2008-07-19 07:00 (UTC) (Link)

Nicktoons All The Time

See, now, this is why I have digital cable. You are going to give yourself ulcerative colitis and begin to vomit green bile.

(Trust me on this one. I'm a veteran.)
natertatersmom
natertatersmom at 2008-07-19 14:46 (UTC) (Link)
::blink::

Wow. What a sweeping, dump-em-all-in-the-same-basket, post.

Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-07-19 15:36 (UTC) (Link)
And why not? Isn't that how they've gained and held onto power, in spite of vast incompetence, bottomless cowardice, and a disdain for freedom and liberty that is positively, stinkingly un-American? Why shouldn't the same tool be used inm hte name of truth, of courage, of America?

Show me a man or woman who stands up for liberty and against the nutless kleptocrats in office, I'll show you a man or woman I'm proud to stand beside.

But the time has come for me to stand up to be counted. To be counted with America and all it stands for, or to be counted with those who are busily degrading, debasing, destroying her.

I know where I stand.
violet
amythis at 2008-07-19 17:14 (UTC) (Link)
I appreciate your honesty and strong feelings, but may I ask why America and its/her/our freedoms are equated with "manhood"? Why are we still stuck in 1984, arguing over which male candidates are bigger wimps?
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-07-19 17:23 (UTC) (Link)
It's a fair question, but I'm not the one to ask. It's the Republicans who've decided that this is the frame for the debate.

My post is a simple statement that if the debate is which is the party of manly courage, and which is the party of cringing wimphood, it's clear that the Republicans are the latter, not the former.

Edited at 2008-07-19 07:42 pm (UTC)
Fitzette
fitzette at 2008-07-19 20:40 (UTC) (Link)
I try not to paint with a broad brush, but knowing the Republicans I know, it's not an easy thing.

And patriotism is not flying a flag while violating the constitution it stands for.

word to this. I believe that the only way I can scream my beliefs from the rooftop is by affording others that same right. I may think you're wrong and I may think you're stupid, but you're still allowed.

Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-07-19 21:25 (UTC) (Link)
I got Sorkin for this, too!

Everybody knows American isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating, at the top of his lungs, that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free, then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest." Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

-Andrew Shepard, "The American President," written by Aaron Sorkin

carose59 at 2008-07-19 21:22 (UTC) (Link)
Well, I couldn't find a word in there that'd I'd disagree with.

And I even have a really cool icon that goes well with your post! *g*
Nunchucking Pizza Scarfer
elvisvf101 at 2008-07-19 21:30 (UTC) (Link)
Here via natertatersmom's journal.

I do agree with a healthy swath of what you're saying, and I even agree with painting with broad brushstrokes, which I normally abhor.

I'm reminded of a scene from the Ender's Game series, where a group of colonists basically form a lynch mob and are out for blood. Their goal is revenge, and they attempt to extract it by going after a tribe of aliens that are innocent and different from the tribe that committed the crime the colonists are out to avenge.

Standing in their way, and basically single handedly stopping their advance is a crippled man, who stands with his arms out, saying that they must kill him before they kill anyone else. He shames them, targets them and singles them out. His victory comes when he gets those in the mob to stop referring to themselves as "we" and makes them think of themselves as "I," individuals again.

(posted in two parts for length)
Nunchucking Pizza Scarfer
elvisvf101 at 2008-07-19 21:30 (UTC) (Link)
I'm okay right now with painting with broad brush strokes. G.W. and his team of neo-cons may have stolen the first election, but America voted for him the SECOND TIME (shenanigans in Ohio notwithstanding), which will go down as one of our most shameful moments. The election of 2004 is what finally swayed me to register as a Democrat.

America needs to take ownership of its political parties. We run basically a two-party system because the alternatives are either tyranny, which we don't like, or coalition governments, which are hit or miss. The left has basically let itself become disorganized and defines itself by being what the Republicans are not. Which is why they couldn't win the most winnable Presidential election in possibly the last 100 years. If we want actual opposition and alternatives, you can't just go voting against the Republicans, you have to vote FOR something, because there is a big swath of America out there that will only hear those who are yelling the loudest.

I'm okay with generalizing and even being a little insulting. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. We VOTED for this man, and we stood by while he put greedy, selfish, dangerous, cowardly and incompetent men in positions of immense power. It will take generations to undo the damage they have done. Something fundamental to the American identity has been lost under their watch.

On September 12, 2001, 90% of the world was with us. If we had asked for toe-nail clippings, we would have gotten enough to fill every stadium in America. If we had asked for rocks, we would have been able to erect a new Everest. 7 years later, we are a shell of our former selves in the eyes of the world. And we VOTED for this.

America has to come forward and account for itself. If you don't want to be lumped in with these men, if you don't care for what they said or did, then don't just be indignant because you don't like Bush, STAND UP FOR SOMETHING.

My God, we made Iraq possibly worse than it was under Saddam Hussein. Iran has started thumbing its nose as anyone who says they can't do what they want. Petty warlords the world over are emboldened because the threat of dropping badass men with M-16s is gone. Corporations have no fear of cutting corners. Cowardly men in white collars and ties have figured out how to fix prices, and robber-barons are making off with our money. We've sold our economic AND moral high-ground to China to fund an unjust war, paid for with the lives of our best and brightest.

It's a testament to the underlying character of American society that we aren't under a true collapse like Zimbabwe or Post-WWI Germany, and it's still pretty darn good to be an American because we can walk the streets without fear of being shot. But I'm tired of having to be thankful for having it pretty good because I compare myself to a world which is going to hell in a handbasket. These are not supposed to be uniquely American values. The criminals in power are trying to fence these values in and hoard it for themselves mostly, and couldn't give a flying fuck about the fact that tribals in Darfur use rape as a weapon of fear, and that Vladimir Putin is perfectly willing to starve and freeze his neighbors so that the Kremlin makes a few extra bucks.

The world is not a nice place, and a lot of it (not all of it) is our fault. So stop saying you don't like Bush. Stand for SOMETHING! I'm sick of having to stand AGAINST something. I hate being negative.
B00
i_m_b00 at 2008-07-19 21:57 (UTC) (Link)
I agree with a lot of what you spoke about.
I don't know how they can set up a bureaucracy in only a few days that has no account ability and thousands of employees. We know from experience that government agency don’t ever go away even if their unruliness is out dated. No one looked at if this was good idea, not one looked at what they would really do. Getting undressed at the airport is not doing any one any good. They fail test after test after test. This is not useful; it’s a waste of money.
Now to be fair it’s really hard to balance safety and freedom. The only way to make that work is to have every one unhappy…Right now I am unhappy but not everyone.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-07-19 22:05 (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's that hard to balance safety and freedom. You don't. If you're an American, you stand by your freedom and you take your chances because Freedom, because America, is worth it.

To quote the Denzel Washington character from the movie The Seige:

London, Paris, Athens, Rome, Belfast, Beirut... We're not the first city to have to deal with terrorism. In Tel Aviv, the day after they bombed the market in Tel Aviv, the market was open, and it was full. This is New York City. We can take it.

Edited at 2008-07-19 10:05 pm (UTC)
Machiavellian Puppet Master
tjs_whatnot at 2008-07-20 05:00 (UTC) (Link)
♥ U!

That is all!
Ashaherazade
ashaherazade at 2008-07-23 06:04 (UTC) (Link)

Amen and pass the ammunition

(as my Grandmother would have said)
While I'm not disagreeing with 99% of what you are saying (those who know me are going ?!? you aren't agreeing one hundred percent?!?!!)the one thing I will take issue with is the assumption that all Republicans support The Shrub. Just as there are those within the Democratic party who supported various candidates besides Mr. Obama there are those within the Republican party who did not and do not like, approve of or endorse The Current Occupant.

I happen to not like being labeled as ANY party personally. Although I generally am finding myself voting for Democrats I am regularly voting in that most "patriotic" of fashions - a split ticket. Let me explain. I vote for each and every candidate based on my opinion of how they have done or are proposing to do the job they are running for office for on the ballot. Yes, it is an absolutely enormous drain on my time before elections to make sure I am informed enough to make those choices but to me it is part of my responsibility as a voter in these United States of America.

As you know Jonathan I rarely ever post. But these things are something I feel passionately about: our Country, our Freedom & what we stand for including how we are perceived by those outside our country. Most of the folks I know who are military or ex-military are not voting for McCain - because he aligns too closely to The Shrub. A very telling comment considering McCain et.al. are constantly touting Obama's lack of military experience for why McCain is a better choice. FTR I'm not a 'registered' anything just a citizen who takes her right to vote seriously.

Just remember in November my favorite saying to those who give excuses for why they aren't voting; If you don't vote you haven't got a right to bitch about who makes it in, and personally I'm not *about* to give up my right to bitch- I like it too much. :-)
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-07-23 20:03 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Amen and pass the ammunition

All very well-said, and I agree with most of the above, but... The party is in lockstep behind the neocon extremists. If a Republican doesn't support that crowd, it's time for them to stand up and be counted with either active and vocal opposition, or by leaving the party.

In other news, I suck for the length of time I've owed you e-mail.

I suck, it's a fact.
sarahenany
sarahenany at 2008-07-27 21:55 (UTC) (Link)

Okay, now it's official...

I DO want to marry you.

That was well-thought-out, organized, clear, passionate - amazing. It's one of the times I wish I had a blog with a big readership so Icould link to it and lots of pepole could read it.

Really makes me feel better, just knowing there are still sane people in the world. Your distinction between courage and cowardice, in particular, and the evidence for same (like no abandoning fundamental freedoms, and the Constitution)was priceless.

{{{{{HUG}}}}}}
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-07-27 22:48 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, now it's official...

There was only so long I could stand to let the cowards frame the debate, and claim strength. I finally had to speak up.
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