Jonathan (jonbaker) wrote,
Jonathan
jonbaker

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Independence Day: Who We Are

Food for thought, on this 231st Anniversary of our Nation’s declaration of Independence from the British Empire

* * *

First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

John Wayne, an ultra-conservative, on hearing of JFK’s election in 1960:
“I didn’t vote for him but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

George Will, conservative pundit, 11 January 2001:
     Some presidents' names become adjectives--Lincolnian gravity, Rooseveltian reassurance, Kennedyesque charisma, Nixonian deviousness, Reaganesque leadership. To understand the meaning of "Clintonian," parse this from a 1997 news conference: "I don't believe you can find any evidence of the fact that I have changed government policy solely because of a contribution."
     It is reasonable to believe he was a rapist 15 years before becoming president, and that as president he launched cruise missiles against Afghanistan (a nearly empty terrorist camp), Sudan (a pharmaceutical factory) and Iraq to distract attention from problems arising from the glandular dimension of his general indiscipline. As president he was fined $90,000 for contempt of court, and there is no reasonable doubt that he committed and suborned perjury, tampered with witnesses and otherwise obstructed justice. In the words of Richard A. Posner, chief judge of the 7th Circuit, Clinton's illegalities "were felonious, numerous and nontechnical" and "constituted a kind of guerrilla warfare against the third branch of the federal government, the federal court system."
     Clinton is not the worst president the republic has had, but he is the worst person ever to have been president.

Keith Olbermann, liberal pundit, 3 July 2007:
This President decides that he, and not the law, must prevail.
  • I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.
  • I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people, a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.
  • I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient.
  • I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors.
  • I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but instead to stifle dissent.
  • I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.
  • I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.
  • I accuse you of handing part of this republic over to a Vice President who is without conscience, and letting him run roughshod over it.
Aaron Sorkin, movie writer/director, 1995, in the mouth of his fictional President, Andrew Shepherd:
     America 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".

Francis Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner":
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our Trust"

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


(also posted at ThanBook)
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