WASHINGTON - July 1 - ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ and PATRISIA GONZALES, XColumn@aol.com, www.uexpress.com/columnoftheamericas
Rodriguez and Gonzales co-write the "Column of the Americas." They said today: "Feeling under siege, the right wing believes that the whole world is unfairly ganging up on the president and his inspired policies. The left, on the other hand, is exasperated at the inability to drive a sharp distinction between Kerry and the imposter they love to loathe.
"Rather than pull our hair out about who to vote for, perhaps we should instead first decide what kind of country we want to live in. What kind of future. What kind of World we want to live in.
"In that spirit, we offer our own program. For example, we want to live in a society where:
-- all life is not only viewed as sacred, but is treated as sacred. This includes abolishing capital punishment.
-- speaking a common language alludes to belonging to one humanity, not a draconian English-only edict.
-- all people are treated under the law as full human beings, and there are no such things as legal and illegal human beings.
"We think everyone should step forward with their own plan ... and then vote for the candidate whose philosophy and track record most closely resembles his or her own ideals. And then hold the winner accountable every day from day one -- whoever it is."
DALE MAHARIDGE, email@example.com, www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=62-1583226273-0
Maharidge is author of the recently released book 'Homeland'. It is the fourth book he has done with the photographer Michael Williamson. Their previous work has won a Pulitzer and inspired a pair of songs by Bruce Springsteen. In 'Homeland', the result of interviews with hundreds of people and thousands of miles of travel across the U.S., Maharidge writes: "The change could be statistically charted, but Michael and I had been tracking it emotionally.... For us, the word 'homeland' took on an altogether new meaning after the September 11 attacks. But in reality, the evolution had been underway for three decades as a result of profound changes in the economic and cultural landscape that had left a large number of Americans confused, angry and fearful...."
ROBERT JENSEN, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/%7Erjensen/freelance/julyfourth.htm
Jensen is author of the book Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity. Three years ago, for July 2001, he wrote in a Houston Chronicle oped: "On this Fourth, I will be forced to face a conclusion I have long wanted to avoid: We are the empire, soon to be judged by history the way all empires have been judged, as cruel and self-aggrandizing. If we want to escape that judgment, we as citizens of the empire cannot wait for our leaders or the wealthy to lead us, for theirs is the path to power, not greatness. This Fourth of July, I believe that citizens of the United States have to commit the ultimate act of patriotism: We must stop being Americans. By that I don't mean we must give up on the truly noble ideals associated with the United States. Nor do I mean we must turn our backs on the many accomplishments of the people of this country. Nor must we turn our backs on each other. Instead, we must tell the truth about what being an American has come to mean, and we must find a way to rethink and reshape who we are. We are too busy congratulating ourselves; we need to be questioning ourselves."
Today, Jensen said: "In a nation that claims to be a nation of laws not men, we see the gap between the rhetoric and the reality. Will Saddam be allowed to bring forward evidence and witnesses regarding his long-standing relationship with the U.S. government -- including U.S. support for some of the very same crimes he is accused of committing? Saddam is being questioned by people handpicked by the U.S. occupiers even as the U.S. rejects an International Criminal Court to deal with such situations."