Friday, September 29, 2006

Am I alone in this? Today I feel like I am a woman without a country

By Diane Silver

These are my thoughts from Kansas on a gray morning. I woke up today, and the first thing I thought was: I am a woman without a country.

In the aftermath of yesterday's Senate passage of the torture-enabling and Constitution-trashing Military Commissions Act, it feels like my country has ceased to exist. I haven't moved away from my commitment to citizenship and the ideals of the United States, but my country has.

I am in mourning.

The second thing I thought was: I need to post about this.

The third thing I thought was: Is it safe? If I speak so openly about my fury and my disagreement with this president will I someday be said to be aiding terrorists? Will my sentiments be the trigger for an arrest. Is that already possible?

(On second thought: Aren't I being foolish! America will never do that, but look at the letter of this law. Doesn't it give the president the right to define who will be imprisoned? The way this is written, no one need or possibly can look over George W. Bush's shoulder, or am I wrong? I pray I'm wrong, and not just for me, but for thousands of other people and for the soul of my country.)

And then I thought: Should I leave? Is it time to pack up and go to Canada? My brother lives not far from there. Is it time to move near him so we could dash across the border quickly if necessary?

And then I thought: I will be damned if I let George Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, Joe Lieberman and all the rest steal MY country.

And then I went over to visit Blue Girl, Red State who lives in Missouri not far from me and found her wonderful post "Rest in Peace America." Read all of it, but this is just a tiny snippet.
Sleep eludes me tonight, but it is understandable. I lost my country yesterday. It was not a sudden death - we knew it was coming. But that does not assuage the inevitable grief.
She talks about her anger and her promise to work for change. (And yes, oh great inquisitors, we are talking about political change, not violent change.)

It's time.

Enough is enough.

America is better than this.


vickie said...

You and Blue Girl have both made eloquent statements and I thank you both for saying what many of us wish to voice. There are indeed frightening times, and our leaders WANT us to be frightened.

Snoop said...

Ya know I wanted to comment on your entry, but I just said to myself never mind. Your post personifies the biggest problem liberal Democrats must overcome… themselves.
As long as you liberals continue to voice their contempt for this country, you will lose elections.
Verbalizing anything more would be kin to kicking a puppy.
Try and have a nice day.


Mena said...

Wow, people like snoop still exist even in this day and age where there is so much information out there but they can't be bothered to go and look for it. It's so much easier letting someone on tv or the radio do it for you isn't it?
No one is voicing contempt for this country per se, we are all just upset at what it has become. Time to take off the rose colored glasses and realize that torture is wrong. It is not what people died for on Iwo Jima, at Gettysburg, along the Marne, or at Bunker Hill, along with other places. People who make the remarks that snoop made seem to think that no one is going to go to bed hungry in this country tonight (unless the deserve it), everyone has adequate health care, and that "they hate us because of our freedoms", not that they have good reason to in a lot of the world. Those of us who want to make things better aren't kicking any puppies, you just aren't being told what you want to hear and that makes you angry. Stop pouting and stamping your feet and try to get with the solution instead of being part of the problem. Remember that the Titanic also stayed the course...

Blue Girl, Red State said...

Fuck you snoop. I said it. I stand by it. I'll say it again. Fuck.You.Snoop. Got it?

We do not have contempt for our country - but we do have contempt for some of our countrymen, most notably the neo-brownshirt morons like yourself who frog-marched the nation over the cliff to fascism like so many lemmings.

And Diane Silver - I bet we know one another. I lived many years in Wichita when my husband was stationed at the 381st MIMS at McConnell (he's a retired USAF officer Snoopy - whats your cred?) and one of my degrees is from Wichita State (I'm a Kirby's girl, myself - I used to plan my school day to end at McKinley Hall because it was the closest to Kirby's.) Carol Konek was my mentor. Carrie Boden and I were undergrads together. Ringing any bells? If we do not know one another, we know some of the same people. Wichita is too small a town for us to have never crossed orbits.

Maybe this will ring bells - Mark Gietzen and I were sworn enemies. I was the one who tipped the press about his domestic abuse after his daughter told me about it. She was my daughters classmate. Mark lost that election and never ran for office again. I could tell a lot of stuff about that jerk, but maybe I will just write a post...

You are bookmarked and I will be dropping by. Go Shockers - to the Field House for a beer.

Diane Silver said...

Dear snoop,

Basing your argument on the idea that I, as a liberal, have just voiced "comtempt for this country" is a convenient straw man. By misinterpreting my argument, or simply ignoring it, you make it easy for you see m as if you win.

But that isn't what I said, and this discussion isn't about winning or losing, but about what the United States really is as a country. As a patriot, I feel it is important for me to criticize my government when it is wrong -- and, you will note, it isn't all of my government I disagree with. It is merely the people who voted and pushed for this bill.

I am furious and frightened, but not at my country. I'm furious at and frightened by the people who seem to be determined to turn us into a tyranny. This is as much a danger to you as it it is to me.

Diane Silver said...

Blue Girl,

Hello! Thanks so much for your blog and your comments. I used to be a reporter for The Wichita Eagle, but I never lived in Wichita. I covered the Statehouse in Topeka then, and have lived in Lawrence since I came to Kansas in 1985. Thanks so much for bookmarking me and thanks for your wonderful blog!

vickie said...

Snoop is definitely part of the problem. He is among those that obviously are pushing the abominable agenda that has turned this country into what "we" are supposedly fighting against in other countries.

El Borak said...

Actually, I think Snoop is right on (and before you even get started, I'm not a Republican, don't like Bush, and would rather die than torture people - he and I will probably never agree on that, but that's cool) in his perception of liberals' problems.

"I am ashamed of my country."

This statement, which Diane wrote, illustrates the problem. The government is not "My country" to the vast majority of people.

Being ashamed of your country, it should not surprise you when the majority who may dislike this bill, or even be deeply disappointed in our elected officials, or even despise what our government has become, deeply question whether liberals ought to be allowed to run it.

Diane Silver said...

el borak,

You have a really good point here. I should have written something a lot more nuanced, but certainly emotion got in the way. I'm certainly ashamed of my government, and I do feel like I am a woman without a country because this bill was passed in the name of my country and any torture or other atrocities will be done in the name of my country.

But the truth is that the shame and fury is directed at my government.

Good point, and thanks for making it in a way that I can hear!

El Borak said...

Any time, Diane, but please forgive me for piling on. I realize I'm squandering goodwill by doing so, but I really think it goes far, far deeper than just the emotion of a single post.

If you look at Blue Girl's profile, you'll see exactly what Snoop is talking about. Not only is an upside down US flag contemptuous, but it is meant to be so. One can say, as Blue Girl does, that "We do not have contempt for our country," but you'll have to forgive the average voter for doubting it. Symbols are very powerful.

That's what Snoop means when he says liberals have to overcome themselves. Their emotional instincts are to bag on the whole and to seek reassurance among the like-minded. While we all do the latter, its danger lies in there being no one among them to point out the damage liberals are doing to their cause in the former.

Now I realize perfectly well that liberals are here at a disadvantage, that loving America seems inextricably entwined with wanting to see it kick everyone else's ass. We live in an age of nationalism, and most voters are interested in national greatness. If they want to win elections, liberals have to harness that desire while perhaps diverting it to something a little more constructive than the conservatives have. But they have to recognize that it is and that it drives politics.

If that seems unfair to liberals I can only offer a choice: you can strike at the voters through contemptuous emotional symbolism and continue to lose or you can play the game by the rules and accept the gift of a speaker's gavel that the GOP is offering through its incompetence and myopia.

Diane Silver said...

el borak,

Thanks for the further explanation. I don't see it as "piling on," but as engaging in a fascinating political conversation. I find much in what you say to make me think, and much that I completely disagree with.

I need to think through this some more, and right now -- at the ripe old age of 54 -- I'm in the midst of finishing up homework for a class I'm taking. (I can't believe I'm actually doing school right now!)

As we all know, blogs & the web move at the speed of light, but I'd appreciate it if you, snoop and whoever might be reading this can be patient. I hope to post a serious reply within a couple of days.

El Borak said...

Please let me know when you do, as I'm quite interested in following up.


Jamie Lynk, Sarasota FL said...

Dear Diane, Vickie, Snoop, Mena, Blue Girl/Red State and “El Borak”:

I have read all your dialog with interest. “El Borak” (Am I correct in believing that you’ve taken your “blog nom de plume” from a character created by Robert E Howard?), while liberal arguments need to be well reasoned, there is nothing “un-American” about being “in your face”. In fact, I think that “in your face” attitude is particularly American.
If liberals continue to worry about who they will offend -- they’ll continue not getting anywhere. It’s time to stake out our political territory and stick by it. If in doing that, we lose a few votes, so be it. If we shake people up, Hurray!! Maybe, they’ll start reading and making their own critical judgments instead of blindly following some party-line (and that goes for both Democrats and Republicans). However, I will agree that being P.C. has degenerated and has become double-speak for not being for anything; for being safe. Folks, it’s put up or shut up.
Yes, I too am afraid - and I am angry, disgusted, and just plain upset with the politicians (of both parties) who voted for “The Military Commissions Act of 2006.” I went on line to read the bill - It’s worse than I thought. (I’ll write about this in depth as a response to Pamela K Taylor’s blog, “Am I safe? Pondering hope and despair under the new detainee law.”). So, “El Borak” if this puts some conservative’s nose out of joint -- I can only reply, “I hope it hurts!” Pax Vobiscum.

El Borak said...

"Am I correct in believing that you’ve taken your 'blog nom de plume' from a character created by Robert E Howard?"

In a word, yes.