By any standard, Obama's June 30th speech was an act of patriotism...
And his choice to deliver the speech from Harry Truman's hometown of Independence, Missouri was apropos, given the historic parallels of our times: Anti-terrorism is the new McCarthyism, decribed nearly 60 years ago by Harry Truman as, "The use of the big lie and the unfounded accusation against any citizen in the name of Americanism or security. It is the rise to power of the demagogue who lives on untruth; it is the spreading of fear and the destruction of faith in every level of society."
It was perhaps no accident, then, that the message echoed throughout Obama's speech mirrored the wisdom of Edward R. Murrow, who spoke against McCarthyism and the complicity of the media when he said, fifty years ago, "We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
If you heard Obama's speech and did not hear a call to dissent against a regime that has robbed our country -- not only of its foundation, but of its voice -- then you weren't listening:
Now, we may hope that our leaders and our government stand up for our ideals, stand up for what's right, and there are many times in our history when that's occurred. But when our laws, when our leaders or our government are out of alignment with those ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expressions of patriotism.
Recognizing a wrong being committed in this country's name, insisting that we deliver on the promise of our Constitution, these are the acts of patriots, men and women who are defending what is best in America. And we should never forget that, especially when we disagree with them, especially when they make us uncomfortable with their words.
It is no surprise that the media have downplayed the importance of this speech.
Aside from being a historic speech, seeded with courageous truths pertinent to these very times, this speech served as a notice to us all that Obama indeed *gets it* -- that there is more to patriotism than wallpapering your car with flag bumper stickers, or wearing a flag pin, or standing by your president, no matter what, even when your president happens to be a war criminal. Obama gets it. And you don't have to read between the lines to understand that he shares our frustration in having our voices silenced for the past 7 years, by a complicitious media, controlled by a government that labels dissenters as unpatriotic or as conspiracy theorists.
So it was also no surprise yesterday when, at the conclusion of Obama's speech -- before he'd scarcely had time to clear his throat -- the mainstream media abruptly flashed to footage of the Wes Clark/John McCain fracas, revolving around, what? Patriotism. Wouldn't be prudent, after all, to leave the people reflecting overlong on a speech, that urged them to own the truth: dissent is not unpatriotic.
Divide and conquer is the order of the day and has been since 9-11, when dissenters of Bush-Cheney policies began being painted with the "terrorist-brush." Even now, our allies, such as Germany, are blackmailed with the terrorist paint brush, as the Bush regime has coerced them with this choice: join our war efforts against Iran or risk being seen as a terrorist appeaser.
This is, of course, the elephant in the room: the upcoming Iran War, aka World War III, designed and implemented by two of the biggest, stinkiest elephants ever to darken America's doorstep -- Bush & Cheney, terrorists at large.
In the coming days, as we witness the fruition of the propaganda campaign leading up to the "unavoidable" war in Iran, we should each be asking ourselves: "Am I a patriotic dissenter, or a terrorist appeaser?"
(see video of Obama's full speech on patriotism at the bottom of this page)
Links to petitions to STOP THE WAR IN IRAN can be found on the links, page right.
The full transcripts of Obama's speech can be found at the The New York Times: