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“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.”

I have always loved this little patriotic song, even before I learned of its roots as a sarcastic rejoinder to its mawkish forebear “God Bless America.” But as this post’s title suggests, I’m liking it for a deeper reason this Independence Day.

A member of a nerd group I belong to wrote an article (“How to Celebrate Independence Day When You’re Feeling Less Than Patriotic”about the discomfort black Americans feel at celebrating July 4. Our history in this country has been one not of liberty and justice but, too often, fraught with constraint and unfairness. And despite the past 50 years of freedom in the nearly 400-year history of our time in the New World, there remain a lot of enduring effects of the bondage that characterized the bulk of that history.

I thought about it; how would I celebrate?

How SHOULD I?

My answer:

I don’t know how best to celebrate the Fourth of July other than rest in the knowledge that everything great about America is due to the efforts of we whose ancestors survived the Middle Passage.

  • The 13 colonies? Built on our backs. Even though the northern colonies rid themselves of the crutch of chattel slavery (to keep poor white workers from having to compete with unpaid slave labor), they still used the money made from it to build their industrialization and raked in more from earnings made by the South.
  • The first martyr in the revolution? A black man, Crisps Attucks, was leader of the group killed in the Boston Massacre.
  • The Civil War? A cynical power struggle and land grab for both sides until Africans in America ennobled it because it was literally a fight for our freedom.
  • Honest Abe Lincoln’s anti-slavery efforts were sparked and spurred by his correspondence with one Frederick Douglass, former slave and by then one of the world’s leading abolitionists.
  • The first Memorial Day for American soldiers was held by black people, not white Americans, who now revere the holiday.
  • The land of the free and home of the brave? All men are created equal? It was all wind until the civil rights movement stood up to America and said, “PROVE IT.” This, after two world wars fought abroad and a full century after our supposed emancipation.

 

The founding fathers had a good idea, but it, like most everything else folks crow about while praising this nation, would be nothing but empty hypocrisy built on a blood-soaked pile of theft, oppression and genocide but for us.

So I will celebrate the truth that, in all frankness, we whose ancestors survived the Middle Passage and all that followed have more right to call the United States of America our country than anyone. Its greatness is to our credit, not to our oppressors and their enablers.

This land is our land.

(A final note: Unless you are directly descended from indigenous peoples, don’t dare tell us to go ANYWHERE else. You don’t have the moral right.)

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Yesterday, almost straight down party lines, health care reform got repealed in the House of Representatives.

Readers know I’m not a fan of the law, so I’m rather OK with this largely symbolic development (after all, it’s not like this little repeal is going to pass the Senate AND escape being vetoed by President Obama). And this is actually good form on the part of the Republicans to actually attempt to deliver on a major campaign platform.

However.

For all my vehement objections to the health care law’s immoral aspects and the super-partisan, closed-door, zero-involvement-from-the-minority-party nature of its creation, I still just as forcefully say that some sort of health care reform is still needed.

Republicans need to step up to the plate with their ideas for health care now that both parties are forced to listen to each other for the first time in this century. And they need to do it soon.

It’s time.

2010/03/18

I’ve been sitting on this blog for a while now.

I’ve been wondering what tack I should take, since I hear that the most successful blogs tend to have a razor-sharp focus on a particular subject. But I don’t want to be stuck on a single subject.

The other issue is that I didn’t want to jump directly into some heavy subject right away. Yes, I want to write about Truth. Contrary to what our morally relativistic culture would have you believe, absolute truth does exist. And it behooves us as thinking beings to strive to know that absolute truth to the best extent that our finite minds can grasp it.

Yes, I want to write about Justice. Plainly put, some things are just right and some things are just wrong. The element that steers matters toward the “right” side of the scale is Justice. That’s what I’m about.

Yes, I want to write about the Way. Not the “American way,” but the Way referred to in the New Testament. And I wish to do so in a thoroughly non-religious fashion.

Finally, I want this blog to also have a fun side, as evidenced by its title’s evocation of the introduction to the old “Superman” TV Show (see 0:35-0:45):

I like comic books and superheroes. Always will. So I’ll frequently write about them as well.

I hope you’ll stick with me as I feel my way through this new venture.

——————————

Now. The reasons why I finally decided to quit waffling and just do this.

1) The graphic design programs I was working on just crashed. I needed something else to do for an hour or so while I burned off my frustration.

2) I keep hearing about new nonsense coming out of Washington D.C. surrounding this health care reform bill.

First: somehow, a nearly trillion-dollar new government program is supposed to reduce the federal deficit.

What?

The reason it can do this, apparently, is that the taxes and other revenue-building tactics begin years before any benefits start to pay out. Oh.

Second: I’m starting to notice that the health insurance industry is not very vocal in its opposition to this reform bill. That’s really got my alarm bells ringing. Some of my left-wing fellow Americans are noticing, as well.

Third: Meanwhile, my right-wing American neighbors across the nation are railing against something called a “deem-as-passed” procedure that could sort of pass a not-finalized, not-voted-on health reform bill. Is that even legal? ‘Cause it’s certainly not right.

I could go on, but I really don’t want to get any further into it.

3) I read some great comic books this week, including one starring my favorite superhero, Aquaman.

Back in grad school, I used to write a little comic book review column on Usenet forums called “This Ain’t A Library, Kid!” I’m wondering if I ought to start something like that again. For now, though, I think I’ll leave it at quoting my favorite line from a comic this week:

…..

…actually, it’s a tie.

“The sea covers 70% of the Earth’s surface…the land, only 30%. Why would I ever wish to settle for less?”Aquaman, replying to a devil’s offer to rule the surface world in The Brave and the Bold #32 (April 2010).

“Who can stop me? WHO?!”Gamora, “deadliest woman in the galaxy,” in combat against endless hordes in Guardians of the Galaxy #24 (April 2010).