July 15, 2008

Connected Diss - Patriotism in the time of treason

As we gird ourselves for the masturbatory, chest-thumping spectacle of the nominating conventions and the election slugfest that is sure to follow, both the word and concept of patriotism will be bandied about in a most unpatriotic, not to mention nauseating, fashion. 

Unfathomable amounts of media real estate will be spent discussing matters of urgent national importance, like who is wearing a flag pin, which minister said what, and the first ladyness of the candidates’ wives, as determined by hemline and hairdo.

What will be discussed as little as possible are the issues. You know — healthcare, gas prices, housing, spying on citizens, global warming, and those pesky skirmishes in Iraq and Afghanistan. And what’s going on with Congress? Where are the hearings on gas prices? Why the continued rubber-stamping of Pentagon funding when pretty much everyone but our elected officials has figured out that these wars are a disaster and the level of waste and corruption is way past not-OK? Long story short, what the heck is in the Kool-Aid they drink in Washington, D.C.?

And while you were feeling stupefied by all this political bankruptcy, did you happen to notice that 35 articles of impeachment have been introduced against the president by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, apparently one of the few D.C. inmates who gets that flag decals are not, with apologies to John Prine, a free pass to heaven. And not one of those articles of impeachment has a damn thing to do with sex. Space does not permit a full recitation, but here are a few highlights:

Article I: Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq.

Article II: Falsely, systematically, and with criminal intent, conflating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, with misrepresentation of Iraq as a security threat as part of fraudulent justification for war.

Article IX: Failing to provide troops with body armor and vehicle armor.

Article XIV: Misuse and exposure of classified information and obstruction of justice in the matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, clandestine agent of the CIA.

Article XV: Providing immunity from prosecution for criminal contractors in Iraq.

Article XVIII: Secretly authorizing and encouraging the use of torture against captives in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places, as a matter of official policy. 

Article XXIV: Spying on American citizens, without a court-ordered warrant, in violation of the law and the Fourth Amendment.

Article XXXI: Failure to plan for the predicted disaster of Hurricane Katrina, failure to respond to a civil emergency. 

Article XXXII: Misleading Congress and the American people, systematically undermining efforts to address global climate change.

Now the Democratic leadership will tell you that impeachment is a waste of time, will drive away voters, and it is off the table. Sadly, they have not heeded the words of former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who has repeatedly and correctly pointed out that impeachment is a crucial tool in defending the integrity of the Constitution, and that allowing a lawless president to remain in office is a deathblow to democracy. Yes, it’s true that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will be out of office in a few months anyhow, and ending this reign of terror earlier would have been far more patriotic. Nonetheless, impeaching even at this late date would be a significant step in beginning the monumental task of healing this country.

Speaking of missed patriotic opportunities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently endorsed a resolution asking Congress to prohibit the use of funds to carry out military action against Iran without explicit congressional authorization. Jerry Abramson was not one of the endorsers, although a spokesman said he supports it.

Taxpayers here in Jefferson County ultimately will pay $1 billion in federal taxes for Iraq war spending approved to date. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided for an entire year:

• 279,242 people with healthcare

• 815,354 homes with renewable electricity

• 26,835 public safety officers

• 17,354 music and arts teachers

• 155,612 scholarships for university students

• 11,795 affordable housing units

• 397,592 children with healthcare

• 152,634 Head Start programs for children

• 19,618 elementary school teachers

• 14,727 port container inspectors  


Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist P.eace Network, www.feministpeacenetwork.org