Patriotism For Skeptics
This is a double repost from this time four years ago. They were originally posted in a red, white, and blue font. This is one mistake which will not be repeated, at least not today.
Both features are on the theme of patriotism for skeptics. America has given me a good life, and I appreciate this. The problem is crooks and liars who make patriotic noise while robbing you blind. They think that waving the flag will distract you from their thievery, and often they are right.
These features were originally posted forty eight months ago. A few things have happened in that time. The economy has gone from bad to horrific. Lots of carbon dioxide has been pumped into the atmosphere, which may not affect us for a while, but probably will. The Gulf of Mexico has been poisoned. Israel killed women and children in Gaza, and is threatening to do the same in Iran. Meanwhile, Iran had a crooked election, and the people fought back. This is similar to what is going on in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria.
The US dollar, with all its problems, is still the preferred currency of the world. There was speculation a while back that the Euro would replace the dollar in this role. The Euro is in worse shape than the dollar these days. All is not hopeless.
The U S of A elected a dark skinned man POTUS. Many said that race relations would be different, but that has not worked out very well. The combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq, but Babylon is still in a world of hurt. The new POTUS discovered the wonders of robomurder eight time zones away, and has wasted many women and children. Nuclear armed Pakistan gets more edgy every day. Maybe the best thing to do is live in the past, and enjoy some repeat posts. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These images are Union Soldiers from the War Between The States.
The following is a repost . It was originally published in a red, white, and blue font. As a service to the readers, today’s posting will be in green. Yellowdoggrannie is going strong, and has not forgiven W.
I read an item at yellowdoggrannie’s place this morning. It was a link to a video about the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. YDG said it made her cry. It set off my BS detector. I am not a history buff. I do know that the War of 1812 was not the most glorious part of American History.
In 1812, Napoleon was on a rampage, but about to screw up. He invaded Russia on June 24, just six days after the U.S. Congress gave approval to “Mr. Madison’s War”. According to St. Wikipedia, the declaration passed by the smallest margin of any war declaration in American History.
The War was caused by several things. The British were “impressing” sailors for duty in their Navy. Among the deserters and British subjects were some Americans. The British were supporting the Native Americans who were fighting the white man. There was also some talk ( in Washington) about annexing territory in Canada, either to keep, or to use as a bargaining chip with the British.
On the East side of the Atlantic, England had a change of government at this time, towards a regime that wanted peace with America. This being the early nineteenth century, word of this development did not make it to America in time to stop the War.
The War went on for a couple of years. It distracted the British from fighting Napoleon, and was a strain on the young American republic. In the Summer of 1814, negotiations were underway to end the conflict. The British launched a few military campaigns to put pressure on the U.S.A. Washington D.C. was captured and burned. The next move was the capture of Baltimore.
This is where the video begins its tale. Where the video said hundreds of British ships, Wikipedia says 19. An attorney, Francis Scott Key, was negotiating the release of an American POW. He secured his release, but they could not leave until the bombardment of Fort McHenry was complete.Here is an account of the story:At Fort McHenry, some 1,000 soldiers under the command of Major George Armistead awaited the British naval bombardment…. The attack began in the evening of September 13, as the British fleet of some nineteen ships began pounding the fort with Congreve rockets (from rocket vessel HMS Erebus) and mortar shells (from bomb vessels HMS Terror, HMS Volcano, HMS Meteor, HMS Devastation, and HMS Aetna). After an initial exchange of fire, the British fleet withdrew to just beyond the range of Fort McHenry’s cannons and continued to bombard the American redoubts for the next 25 hours.Although 1,500 to 1,800 cannonballs were launched at the fort, damage was minimal.
After nightfall, Cochrane ordered a landing to be made by medium boats to the shore just west of the fort, away from the harbor opening on which the fort’s defense was concentrated….Operating in darkness and in foul weather, the diversionary attack failed. On the morning of September 14, the 30 ft (9.1 m) × 42 ft oversized American flag, which had been made a few months before by local flagmaker Mary Pickersgill and her 13 year old daughter, flew over Fort McHenry, and Cochrane and Brooke knew that victory had eluded them
Mr. Key saw the flag the next day. He wrote a poem to the tune of a British drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven”. The song was made the National Anthem in 1931, and has been (badly) sung ever since. Two extra words, “Play Ball”, were added later.
On September 24, the Treaty of Ghent ended the conflict. The verdict was “status quo ante bellum”. In other words, nothing was changed by the death of those men. The war was, in effect, over when the Battle of Baltimore was fought. The word of the treaty did not reach America for a few weeks. (The Battle of New Orleans was fought after the end of the War.)
The video said the Flag at Fort McHenry was held up through the night by men, many of whom died. This might be true. It is also true that the negotiations were about to yield fruit. It would take a few weeks for word of the Battle of Baltimore to reach Europe, at which point the War was already over. Status Quo Ante Bellum.
Patriotism is one of the games that almost everyone plays. The rules seem to vary.
In 1967, JSM was flying planes in Nam, I was in the eighth grade, and BHO was in the first grade. He was in Hawaii, which might have been where JSM went for R&R if Hanoi did not have other ideas. America was about to hit a turning point about the Vietnam War. At first people were supportive, albeit without much enthusiasm. Opposition started to arise, and was frequently confused with treason. As the war dragged on, the homefront began to see things differently.
To this reporter, many of the patriots of 1967 were the ones who opposed the war. The conflict in Indochina was to cause many problems for the United States. Eventually, Richard Nixon got a fig leaf treaty that he called Peace with Honor. The early opposition was heard, but not after losing more than fifty eight thousand fine men.
That is the first way to be a patriot…to keep an eye on the government, and speak out in opposition when it is needed. Another way is to keep the United States strong and healthy. One way to do this is work hard and pay taxes. Now, the conservative windbags whine loudly about paying taxes. They want to pay for the current war by cutting taxes to make the economy grow. If we had no taxes at all the economy would grow even more.
The war in Babylon was an experiment in war without sacrifice. There was a tax cut when it was apparent we were planning an invasion. The national debt has gone out of control, and the federal reserve bank has cut the interest rates. The result is that the dollar is not worth as much as it once was. The oil market is based on the dollar. Oil is just as valuable as ever. The dollar is not, and it takes more dollars to buy a barrel of oil. This is an important factor in the rise of gas prices.
The way to keep America strong is to follow the three basic rules of the workplace: show up, stay awake, don’t kill anyone The citizens of the United States are a remarkable group of people. One way to be a patriot is to show respect for these people, and for yourself.
Another way to help America is to quit consuming so much. If we drove smarter, we would not need as much gasoline. We would not be so big if we didn’t eat as much. Maybe you can put a sweater on in the winter instead of turning up the thermostat. We are heading in this direction, but have a way to go.
Much of what you hear and read is not true. The so called conservatives are just as guilty as the so called mainstream media. Think for yourself. The freedom to think is a part of America that you are sometimes discouraged from exercising, but it is important.
This is a dangerous world, and we have a military to keep them away from our borders. We are also involved in a tough war of our own choosing. It is to be hoped that our next President will find an acceptable conclusion to this conflict.
Meanwhile, this is the fourth of july. It is a day to enjoy the good life we have here. America is a fine country. It has given me a good life. While I am not blind to the problems, there is no where else I would rather be.