Published on
The Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Patriotism is More Than a Flag

I am not a violent woman. But if I see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on TV one more time I could get violently ill. Of all the whining, sniveling carrying on - and I'm paraphrasing her excuses - she was lied to, she didn't know or when they briefed her they left the torture stuff out. And my favorite, she must not have been listening when they mentioned torture.

Speaking as an active participant in the political world around me, I have to say that it's embarrassing that a woman just four heartbeats away from the presidency believes that any excuse would justify her not knowing.

Really Madam Speaker, you can stop your bellyaching because one thing we know for sure about this torture intelligence is you know now!

So where's the special prosecutor assigned to look into these crimes? Where's the investigation into the allegations of torture made by the Red Cross? And as for former Vice President Dick Cheney: You have his admissions of guilt as he publicly brags that their torture techniques "worked."

Speaker Pelosi, it's like Bonnie and Clyde bragging that bank robbery works. That sort of carrying on helps you prosecute the criminals.

If you're asking me, I don't believe a word of Speaker Pelosi's feigned ignorance. I believe she knew all along. That's why she didn't file articles of impeachment against the president and why she never supported House Resolution 333 to impeach the vice president. Because when all is said and done, Speaker Pelosi's finger-prints are alongside those of George Bush and Dick Cheney on the glass of Kool-Aid that Americans have been drinking from since this CIA-faulty intelligence thing began.

And it's despicable. Almost as despicable as the willing way in which Americans downed the poisoned punch. While this country worried that a bunch of Mexicans and Hondurans were scrambling across the border to take its jobs, and while patriots flew flags from their SUVs because terrorists wanted to ruin "our way of life," our fellow Americans were destroying our economy and threatening our livelihoods.


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The unemployment rate is a hog's breath away from 10 percent, U.S. car companies are closing thousands of dealerships, home foreclosures are at an all time high and the thieves who stole your jobs and way of life were U.S. citizens from Wall Street and the Capital Beltway.

Don't you feel like a fool worrying about the guy cleaning your toilet while former AIG executive Joe Cassano was flushing the economy down one? By the way, Cassano was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in case you'd like to build a wall around it instead of the one across the Southwest desert.

And where's all this good old U.S. bravery we hear so much about? Who has the courage to stand up against this international disgrace? "Liberty and justice for all" is vanishing. Don't forget that when you promise justice that means you have to have the courage to meter justice to the unjust.

If ever there was a time since 1776 that we needed good old-fashioned patriots it's now. And back then there wasn't just one Paul Revere and one Sam Adams and one Ben Franklin. There were tens of thousands of farmers and journeymen who put liberty before comfort and gave the words and deeds of those men the power to mean something.

If your patriotism only stretches far enough to say a prayer when your neighbors' sons or daughters get called up to Iraq, why bother calling yourself a patriot at all. Those courageous men and women who are dying or coming home modern-day Humpty Dumptys aren't fighting to protect people who sit idly by while the nation's leaders commit illegal acts and then cover for each other.

Tomorrow morning I want you to pull your covers off and shake yourself until you wake up. This is our country and it's circling the drain. We're disgraced. We're broke. And we're not holding anyone accountable.

And what about President Obama? Write to him and demand action. Now that it's blown wide open under his watch. If he doesn't hold folks accountable, he'll be as guilty as Speaker Pelosi.

Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche is an author, activist and advocate. She is the author of "Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States."  Her new novel, The Magic Diary, is due out in late spring.

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