Friday, October 17, 2008

If You Love America, Pay For It

I was looking for this video on YouTube, and look what I found:

This was filmed on my street, right in front of my house. It was a pain in the ass all day. The part that takes place on a palm tree-lined street in South Central or LBC or East L.A., is in fact Eagle Rock. This is the first time I've seen it. And now for your random political rant of the week...

I keep thinking about the exchange from the Biden-Palin debate, on the subject of whether paying taxes is patriotic. I'd just like conservatives to decide whether they love the government or hate it, to take some kind of consistent position on it. Are we capable of trusting the government with unlimited powers of surveilence, torture, extradition and pre-emptive war, or are we incapable of trusting the government to provide social programs like Medicare and WIC without devolving into a dictatorship within a generation?

That's what kills me about the taxes thing. If you voice disagreement with the decision to go to war, you're being unpatriotic--hell, you're a traitor. Why is it not considered unpatriotic to throw a tantrum when it's time to pay for that war?

Sometimes they'll come back with an argument about the American Revolution. The revolutionaries were patriots, and they were fighting against taxes. Wasn't the Boston Tea Party a big, patriotic tax revolt? There are some obvious problems with that (the primary objection was to "taxation without representation," and we have representation now), but yes, that matches up well with patriotism as the founding fathers understood it. But it has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism as it's generally described by the contemporary right wing, as an absolute love-it-or-leave-it support of the President and all his decisions (which of course wasn't the case when the President was Clinton, but don't get me started on that line). So they have this slippery definition of patriotism--it means different things from moment to moment, depending on what they want it to mean.


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