John on The Battle Hymn of the Republic, the National Anthem, Trickle-Down Economics, Our Country's History, and the Flag
Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that men never learn anything from history.
George Bernard Shaw
THIS POST CONCLUDES MY RESPONSE to John J. Wall's email requesting a divorce from "American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al."
His idea of a divorce settlement included dividing the country between his "group" and mine.
I'm sure he assumed that his "group" would get at least half of the country, but as we worked through some of their positions it became clear that there are very few Americans who would agree with his group's stance.
Most Americans, conservative, liberal, or moderate, would not want to increase taxes on the poor and middle class; cut government programs like Medicare or highways or the military; eliminate the right to peacefully assemble; allow the government to decide whether married couples can use birth control, or any of the other consequences of John's radical views.
So, John, I don't think you'll be getting any of the country's "landmass".
As for the remaining details in your divorce settlement proposal, let's take them one at a time:
"We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem."
We—my liberal and conservative and moderate friends and I—will keep those.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic was written and sung by the people who refused to divide up the country last time, when people like you thought keeping slavery intact was reason enough.
And the National Anthem is the anthem for those of us who actually believe in this country, and don't want to divorce it, divide it, or leave it.
"I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute 'Imagine,' 'I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing,' 'Kum Bi Ya' or 'We Are the World.' "
No again—they're no substitute for the national anthem.
But they are nice songs, so I'd take them, too—and America the Beautiful.
"We'll practice trickledown economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot."
Reality contact again, John.
It's trickle-down poverty, and trickle-up economics.
You won't find a single reputable economist who doesn't admit that wealth is created by the labor of middle-class and poor workers.
And trickle-down economics has not historically made the average citizen richer.
"Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag."
You can have the fabricated history, if that's all you mean—the one in which the United States has always without exception been the good guy in every encounter, the one in which we were originally founded by by evangelicals and fundamentalists with an eye toward creating a theocracy disguised as a democracy.
But not our real history, with all the warts and glory of a people struggling toward enlightenment, democracy, justice, and freedom.
Although we've made many mistakes as a nation, and although those of us who are grown-ups are willing to admit that, our history is one long journey led by the very people who offend you, John.
Over the years, people like you have resisted:
- Abolishing slavery.
- Giving women the right to vote.
- Giving all races equal legal rights.
- Giving all races the right to vote.
- Abolishing child labor.
- Allowing workers to negotiate their contracts.
- The forty hour work week.
- The weekend.
- Social Security.
...and the list could go on.
But cooler heads have generally prevailed.
Heads that were more mature, more in tune with the Judeo-Christian tradition, more democratic, and more American.
So we'd keep the flag, too, thanks.
"In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you can answer which one of us will need whose help in 15 years."
My guess, John, is that you wouldn't need my help in 15 years.
Everything you've written above convinces me that either you were born into wealth, or you are in law school preparing to make yourself indispensable to the wealthy.
But if your "group" really contains any ordinary people, I predict that they would be wanting to return to the United States of America, from whatever offshore island you decided to incorporate on.
They'd be welcomed here, I suspect.
We have that history as well.