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To (some of) My fellow Americans: Do you enjoy living in this country? Do you appreciate all it gives you? Or do you spend your time complaining about every last thing? Do you think this country is fascist and run by an evil cartel? Do you gripe about having to pay high taxes on your property or your luxury goods? Do you piss and moan about the crushing of dissent and the making of a police state? How would you like to live like this? bq. Rapes are still occurring. People do not feel safe leaving the camps to go out and forage for food. The situation remains very, very serious, and first and foremost the security has to be dealt with." That's Colin Powell talking about the ethnic cleansing going on in Sudan. You know what struck me the most about that quote? The word forage. Imagine having to forage for food for your family. Let's move on:
In 1988, the people of Burma revolted against the country's military rulers. It was one year prior to the widely-telecast Tiananmen Square uprising in neighboring China. Both uprisings were met with bloody crackdown by the respective regimes in Burma and China. *** In 1988, within minutes, Burmese security forces machine-gunned down over 300 peaceful protestors including students, school children, monks and other citizens in an Upper Burma city of Sagaing. Subsequently, the troops bulldozed the dead and the wounded from the streets of Sagaing, threw them onto army trucks and dumped them into the Irrawaddy or the Nile of Burma.
And more:
Since its announcement of a 'roadmap' to democracy in August 2003, Burma's ruling military has been engaged in a nationwide crackdown on Burma's democrats. A new report by Alternative Asean Network on Burma (Altsean) reveals that the crackdown includes: the sentencing to death of journalists, the shooting of political prisoners and the arrest, imprisonment and torture of pro-democracy activists.
Not getting the point yet? Let's try Iran. bq. The Islamic republic regime executed publicly a third individual in less than two days. This new victim of the Mullahcracy's repressive policies was named "Moosa Noori" and was hanged in the central square of the western City of Dehloran. Here, try this photo on for size. There's a few more here. Are you someone who likes to protest? Try protesting in Cuba: bq. At the risk of being taken from their homes by force, at the risk of being brutally interrogated, at the risk of being encarcerated like their husbands and family members, twenty-two wives, mothers and sisters organized a protest in Cuba this past Father's Day. Yes, they risked their lives to protest. See, in some countries protests are illegal. In some countries, freedom does not exist. In some countries, dissent is really crushed, along with your hopes, spirit and probably a few limbs. In some countries, there are no inalienable rights. There is no freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to come and go as you please. In America, you have rights and freedoms and cry wolf as you may, you are not being oppressed. Go read about Sudan. Women are being raped, some many times a day. Rape is used as a political tool there, condoned by the government as a form of coercion. Thousands of children are starving to death every single day. A race is being ravaged. Now stand here and try to tell me that our government is oppressing you. Go ahead, try to tell me that they're shutting you up or keeping you down. Have they ever sent a group of men to your house to slaughter your children in front of you because you dared to speak out? No, they haven't. Go read about Iran. When was the last time you went to an anti-Bush protest and some of the protesters were rounded up and hung right in front of you? Go read about Burma. Have your protestations ever been met by a hail of machine gun bullets? No to all of the above. To you, a grave crime against humanity occurs when Whoopi Goldberg loses her Slimfast ads because the owners of the company decided that she no longer was a good representative of their product. She spoke out against the president, against his administration, made jokes about him and she lost an ad contract. She didn't lose her life. She isn't in jail. Her family hasn't been wiped out. Try some perspective. The Dixie Chicks dissented and made the cover of Entertainment Weekly the next month. That's America for you. Fascist land of dictatorship, oppression, stifling of dissent and a police state. Get some perspective, people. And stop taking your country for granted. I look forward to facing the protesters in front of Madison Square Garden next month at the RNC. It will be a wonderful reminder of how great our country is, and how free we are.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Perspective:

» It's what I've been saying all along. from Babalu Blog
It's all about Perspective. There are some people, Americans, always complaining about having their rights trampled on by the government. Oh! They boycotted our album because we spoke our minds! Oh! My employer fired me for making remarks against the... [Read More]

» Reality Check from LeatherPenguin Blog
Michele offers some Perspective for the "America Sucks" Society to mull over.... [Read More]

» Perspective from The Shape of Days
Recently I re-ran a little essay I wrote last year that tried to throw some contrast on the "the Bush administration uses the threat of terror to keep people living in fear" rhetoric. Today, Michele Catalano has posted an article [Read More]

» Today, on "World's Wildest Police Chases" from Inoperable Terran
Michele reads everyone their rights.... [Read More]

» OPW from Hold The Mayo
One of the things I like the most about the tabbed browsing feature in Apple's Safari browser is that with one click I can simultaneously load all 49 weblogs in my daily read folder of favorites. Each in their own... [Read More]

» ecurity Mom This from Sekimori.org - Live Blog
I've never heard the phrase before, but I love it. And I am definitely a Security Mom. Buy your Security Mom t-shirts here: http://www.cafeshops.com/security_mom More products coming soon.... [Read More]

» Perspective: US vs. Them from PoliPop
Unsure about the different meanings of oppression around the world? Michele explains the differences in a world wide, whirlwind tour.... [Read More]


Great post, Michele - this is Michele's writing at its best!

Sadly, too many Americans don't want to know what is going on outside of our borders.

To a lot of people on the fringe left, it's just a game.

They play at being "oppressed" like little girls playing "House".

Michele's observations and examples of real oppression make the LLL cries of being "oppressed" in this country just laughable.

I'm reminded of the anti-war protests I attended, and one peacenik who told me "No one is being oppressed in Iraq, it's a great place to live. Who told you people aren't free there?" That's when I chose sides, and it wasn't his.

...But, but, they want to search my backpack!!

Awesome. Just freaking awesome. This is why I'm a daily reader of yours.

Excellent post Michele.

But...but...but...poor people in this country don't have a second TV!

Great post. That is why I am the luckiest woman in the world. Why, you ask? Because I was born in the United States of America. God Bless America.


I love the moral equivalence game, don't you?

It sounds like everyone should be glad to live in Cuba because it's so much better then Sudan, China, Burma, and Iran. Why are they whining about being interrogated and incarcerated when protesters everywhere else get killed. Yes, the United States has a much better system in every way than a despotic tyrany or theocracy. No, that's not an argument or justification for anything.

I'd be happy to talk about the Whoopi Goldberg case on the merits. If the left wants to get up and argue that I have to continue to employ someone who annoys me, let them try to make that case! Whoopi Goldberg's right of free expression does not include a right to continue employment. Free speech has never meant being able to say anything you want without any consequence, it just means the government can't censor you or herd you off into some designated area based on your viewpoint.

But John Ashcroft sent some jack-booted thugs to my house and they took my rug. It really tied the room together.

Given the events of the past couple of weeks (Whoopi, Linda Ronstadt), it is becoming clear that some on the left have difficulty understanding the difference between "censorship" and "consequences". Michael Moore just posted an open letter to the president of the Aladdin Casio on his site in support of Linda Ronstadt (I won't pollute Michele's site with a link to the cretin; I'm sure you all can find it if you wish). But here's a money quote: "Sure, some people didn't like the dedication, and that's their right. But neither they nor you have the right to remove her from your building when all she did was exercise her AMERICAN right to speak her mind." WRONG...this casino is a PRIVATE place, not public, and they have the RIGHT to remove whomever they choose. They just don't get it....

Rob. I spit some very expensive white tea all over my top secret documents becaue of that remark. Just so you know.

Americans have a lot to complain about.

It takes too long to return something at Best Buy. It can take up to ten visits to get your satellite HDTV tivo situation ironed out! And just try to find peanut butter made of salt and beer-leavings.

Sure, it's good to have perspective. It's great to know that we have a pretty good deal here in this country. Sure, alot of people are morons (on both sides of the line).

This country wouldn't have started if people hadn't gotten fed up and started complaining. It wasn't so bad under Britain. Sure, we had to recognize a monarchy that we would never see and that was ultimately just using us without giving much back. Except protection. And sure, they were oppressive to a point. But it was no Sudan. It was no Iran.

Unfortunately, there a lot of ignorant people in this world (and somehow they always end up on TV...why is that?). There are a lot of ridiculous complaints. But maybe, just maybe, by complaining now we can prevent what in the future may become a LESS free state. We don't have it as bad as Cuba, but how easy would it be to get to that point? In this experiment called Democracy we have to struggle to maintain a sense of balance and freedom. Mankind is a flawed creature, always hungry...for power, for money, for popularity, for everything. Our system is set up to work against those flaws, to try to keep them out. But sometimes, these flaws get in, in the people that we choose to represent us. Sure, it's no big deal now that our library records can be accessed by the FBI, that a terrorist suspect can be held without charge indefinately. It makes sense. This is a "time of war." But for how long will this stand? Will it get worse? Will it get better? By making complaints now when it isn't so bad, perhaps we are preventing a further disappearance of our civil liberties in the future. Or prevent further loss of life in questionable wars. Or prevent the loss of innocents in terrorist attacks that we are unprepared for. For all of its many faults, complaining still maintains a large number of perks as well.

Great post Michele. Is it just me or has LLL troll activity slowed down these past few days?

Lucas, I generally agree with your thoughts above. I just don't think they apply to the 'drama queen' mentality that michele is criticizing in her post.

Hello. My name is Earl and I'm great, big, stinking idiot who has nothing of value to add to any conversation except third grade insults. I'm no longer welcome here.

And as usual, earl comes along and, instead of arguing the point, spouts ad-hominems.

Do you have anything interesting to say, earl?

TV (Harry)

America, we got issues, but still the greatest county in the world.

Hello. My name is Earl and I'm great, big, stinking idiot who has nothing of value to add to any conversation except third grade insults. I'm no longer welcome here.

yes, it does help to put things in perspective. however, there is always room for improvement. i used to use the same argument on my mother when i got "A-"s in high school - "hey! i did pretty well! what are you complaining about?! look at all those people who didn't do so well - and just to let you know... that's most of them! i should deserve a medal!" and she would reply, "there is a '-' next to the A. you still could have done better." as much as growing up with her really sucked, she is right. always aim higher, and never rest on your laurels.

i don't doubt that some lefties are america-hating loons, but america does have some problems - albeit not as many as the places that you mentioned - and there isn't anything wrong with trying to fix them. but i know your piece was aimed at the "america-hating loons" contingent, so i shall step aside and say, "carry on..."

Well, whoop--de--do.

I like America just as well as you do, actually, and for much the same reasons. The freedom is great. In fact just this evening I put a new bumper sticker on my car:


And, luckily, this time its an older car so all the key scratches that it acquires from the contemptible "conservative" vandals in my town (Columbus, OH) won't show that much. Here in America, you adapt, when you can, to "consequences", as long as they fall short of lynching, which they do these days--though they didn't always.

I'm under no illusion that the Dixie Chicks, Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, or, now I understand, Doonesbury are suffering from anything but the purely American brand of skunk spray you get when you disturb certain dens in this country.

But I'm old enough to have known men whose careers were destroyed by the McCarthy Blacklisting, solely because once upon a time they had the wrong opinions.

I doubt you are old enough to remember that. And it changes your perspective on how permanent and reliable "freedom" is here.

No blacklist. Never again.

And no being shouted down by "hillbilly heroin" addicts on talk radio either.

Having read up on the history of Joseph McCarthy, complete with current information, it appears that the great majority of his 'victims' were indeed Communists, and supportive of an enemy of the US. Funny that Hollywood has always been a nesting ground for them. . . first the USSR and now the jihadists.

Mr. Marshall, I, as a moderately conservative individual who likely holds strong opinions differing from your own, would not mark your property based on your displayed statement. But I would most certainly point and laugh, as it is an incomplete and likely inaccurate statement, as most 'liberals' these days are merely leftists instead, and the complete statement should read:

But, in any case, we are not likely to return to any kind of government-sponsored blacklist. What you are more likely to see is a mass, quietly undeclared boycott of such scuzzy characters as Mssr Moore, Whoopi, and Ronstadt(please note that for all the hype of how much F9/11 has made, it has so far made total about as much as Passion of the Christ did in one weekend, Whoopi is a B-movie actress now on her best days, and Linda who?).

This was a GREAT post! I'll try to keep coming back. That is, as long as the Government monitors allow me to log on. . .

Mr. Irving, the point of my bumper sticker is that nobody has to get used to folks like yourself speaking freely. They do have to get used to folks like me doing it.

Because for half of the last century I have listened while folks just like yourself have had the copper-bottomed arrogance to either state openly or imply snidely that folks with my views are not "genuine" Americans. I note that your post continues this fine old tradition.

A "mass quietly undeclared boycott" was exactly what the "blacklist" was. Back then not a single government official openly ordered anybody not to hire people because of their politics.

It was pure mob activity--but usually not violent, thank heavens. By the 1950's that was generally reserved for people with the wrong skin color who did or said something the mob didn't like.

But history aside, this time its different. Get used to it.

Well, Joseph, let me give you a clue.

I'm female. In the backward arab countries, to name just one example (Africa, Asia have their own "unique" take on things), since I'm divorced, I'd probably be forced to live with a daughter or my nearest male relative, my brother, and off of his charity, as I would not be able to hold a job. I would have had absolutely no choice in my husband, and if I produced only female children I would have been divorced for that reason alone. I would never have been allowed to drive a car, own property, or vote. I could be raped by my husband any time he wanted, I could be stoned or beheaded for "adultery," which in the arab world means you looked at another man in the street.

I don't think there's too much of a choice as to where I'd live.

I'm an 11th generation American. I'm a conservative. I can speak freely. YOU get used to it.

Imperial Keeper

I am quite used to it, Mr. Marshall, thank you. It appears to be you, and Linda Ronstadt among others on the left, among many on the far right, who fail to realize in a free marketplace of ideas, those that are as worthless as a Commodore 64 will lose out.
Michael Moore is drawing a huge backlash because, while he raised a very small number of legimate concerns, he did so with enough bile and deceit to repulse all but the most bitter and self-deluded on the left, even as many go to see for themselves just how enormously slanted piece of propaganda he has produced. He may draw the benefit of a small group of supporters who continue to fund his follow up projects, and the A-list stars who think that their incredible performing talents translate into any kind of true understanding of politics will continue to find work in spite of, not because of their views. But those on the margins, who hope to gain attention from linking themselves to these anti-American and anti-freedom viewpoints, will see their careers wither and die. No blacklist required, just consumer reaction. Nothing arrogant about that, it's the American way. But you refer to people 'just like myself.' I think you know NOTHNG of what you speak, and doubt you have ever spoken to someone just like me, and even if you had, you didn't listen.

I have a prediction for you. If terrorists accomplish another major attack on the US during the election campaign, you will see John Kerry back George Bush 100% in his immediate response, and switch to campaigning against him on domestic and social issues, and the vast majority of the Democratic politicians will do likewise. You will also see Michael Moore and his ilk speak against America, obliquely or overtly, and provde moral aid and comfort to those who would attack us. Because, despite the political differences (narrower than one would think) between Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney, both are solidly American supporting teams. Michael Moore and the far left crowd support only that which would cripple or destroy America as it is, and replace it with a monstrous corruption of our way of life.

I am always amazed at the sheer ignorant effrontry of posts such as the last two above.

"America" is NOT the current lazy fool who happens to occupy the Oval Office-- playing at war with no experience of it--and laying the groundwork with his bumbling for a nuclear armed Islamic fundamentalism.

Which, by the way, I'm not thrilled with either, John, despite your insulting smear of my giving it "moral aid and comfort", or Elizabeth's litany of its abuses of women which she seems to think I somehow agree with.

My quarrel is with the lazy fool in Washington and the other fools around him and behind him who cannot distinguish between "fighting terrorism" and "fighting terrorism intelligently."

Let's look at the record. King George promulgated the Bush Doctrine of premptive war against "rogue states" with WMD's. Okay. Times are tough and terrorists are a threat, so I'll go along with it, even if I think it has other bad consequences. And it does.

But you have to have the force to back it up! And even the largest and most sophisticated military in the world has limits.

There were about five candidates for "rogue state" status: Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, and Korea. An intelligent man would tried to judge the threat level of each against the other before sending in the troops since not even our great army could fight all of them at once.

An intelligent man would have come to the conclusion that Iraq had the greatest handicaps to being an immediate threat to us. And also that Iran was the greatest threat since it had active nuclear reactors, an Islamic fundamentalist government, and long range missiles from Korea.

Half of the Iraqi army had been destroyed 10 years earlier. Iraq had no nuclear capablility whatever. It was under constant surveilance with our planes in its airspace routinely, and was struggling with a decade of economic sanctions. And, yes, it was headed by a very nasty man, who had tried to have King George's daddy killed.

So who did King George attack? Iraq, of course! Why? Because he and his neo-con crewmates thought it would be an easy knockover from which he could intimidate all the other rogue states.

Well, surprise, it didn't turn out that way! Wars usually don't, and people with experience of war know this. He occupied Iraq with too few troops, he dallied six months doing nothing in particular to pacify the country while digging in every hole and corner for WMD's (which, not surprisingly, he didn't find), and he let a very nasty insurgency get completely out of hand.

So where do we stand now in terms of being actually able to enforce the Bush Doctrine and deal with Iranian nuclear ambitions? In a godawful mess, that's where!

Tens of thousands of our active troops are projected to be pinned down for YEARS in Iraq.

Two-thirds of our active troops abroad are currently engaged in combat missions of one kind or another related to our two unfinished little wars and can't be spared for anything else.

And barely one-third of our Navy and one-sixth of our carrier forces are on station because they are STILL so depleted from the so-called "Mission Accomplished".

We have given every incentive for the Iranians to go nuclear as quickly as possible. We have also crippled our capacity to meet this threat with military force.

And we have made sure that the Islamic fundamentalists have no reason whatever to regard us as anything but enemies who will not scruple to attack them first as soon as we have the troops back to do it.

All of this was forseeable and avoidable. So a few of us are hopping mad that a witless dunce-in-office has actually managed to increase our danger rather than reduce it merely because he liked to play with war toys.

And we are determined to see that the image of King George and his grand moment in history, the image that will live like Roosevelt addressing the Congress after Pearl Harbor or Kennedy telling the country about the Cuban missiles, will be of George staring vacantly into space, and picking up a children's book to read.

Because that image is the true one,
to the everlasting shame of the America I love.

So you wanted "King George" to run out of the building, screaming, trampling on the kids as he went? Wow, your "sheer ignorant effrontery" is showing.

I was explaining, I had hoped in little words to help you understand, why I'm proud to be in America. The topic of the thread? Hello?

"Tens of thousands of our active troops are projected to be pinned down for YEARS in Iraq." We've been in Germany since 1945. That's almost 60 YEARS. End the occupation of Germany!

Pompous, elitist windbag.

Imperial Keeper

I started to write a lengthy response to Mr. Marshall, but realized I was violating my personal rule "Never debate with a moonbat, it's like mudwrestling with a pig."

I'm not debating. I'm mocking. So it's under the radar for me.

Now I'm going to go help a little boy celebrate his 8th birthday. With "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" for Gamecube in hand.


Imperial Keeper

There is nothing like fact and coherant argument to shut up those who can't recognize the former or practice the latter. And to drive them back to mere personal insult.

The last four years are solid proof that the Village Idiot can't be transformed into a world-class statesman, even with the help of all of Daddy's friends.

But, of course, convincing the political party of Village Idiots of this takes some doing.

Umm, I wasn't even going to post, but I just needed to point out to the all wise Elizabeth that the topic of this thread was actually "Perspective," and not "I'm proud to be in America," as you stated above. And perspective seems to be a lot of what is missing from many of these comments near the end.

Village idiot? Perspective? Oh, I'm so sorry. Not. I voiced MY PERSPECTIVE of the thread.

I voiced a rebuttal of your comment. I'm not impressed by either your reply or Sarah's. Come in when you have something worthwhile to contribute, other than snotty verbage.

Imperial Keeper

Umm, speaking of "village idiot," Mr. Marshall, like most rabid liberals of your (and my followup) generation, you are clearly pulling "facts" out of thin air in a desperate attempt to support your rantings.

Just one selection of your deposit: "And barely one-third of our Navy and one-sixth of our carrier forces are on station because they are STILL so depleted from the so-called "Mission Accomplished"."

In fact, the Navy as of 23 July 2004 has 88% of the surface fleet and 75% of the submarine fleet at sea in one capacity or another, and 5 of 12 carriers are at sea at the moment (though I did note that you qualified this change-over period by using the phrase "on station," implying something was seriously amiss), with an upcoming exercise requiring two more to sail by the end of the summer. In addition, two of the five Expeditionary Strike Groups are at sea and on station, with one just back in port for refitting, another preparing to sail in a few months, and the fifth still being organized.

Unlike you, sir, I checked with a reliable source; in this case, it was the U.S. Navy herself: http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/news/.www/status.html

I must say that, on checking, I should expect the remainder of your "facts" to check out similarly. Rant and rave all you want, but a poor researcher with prejudicial notions about their subject comes across as nothing more significant than a ignorant buffoon.