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6:46 pm EDT 72°F (22°C) in Ottawa, IL
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On this day, we celebrate the independence of the United States. It was 229 years ago today that some of the greatest men in American history courageously declared themselves free of the tyranny being imposed upon them by King George III of England. Chief among the reasons for people coming to America, both then and also in the more recent (early twentieth century) past, has been the First Amendment to the Constitution and its guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of peaceable assembly, and freedom from government-imposed religious coercion of any kind. Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing to combat the tyranny of King George III, but unfortunately, I don't think they could foresee the tyrannical actions of a certain King George the 43rd some two-plus centuries later.
Many of us on the progressive side of the political spectrum have long known that being lied into a quagmire in Iraq, having had our basic dignity and legal rights denied us because of the hatred and naked bigotry of a tiny minority, and watching the so-called "American Dream" of economic self-improvement through hard work go up in smoke so that credit card companies and oil companies can get rich, are bad enough. With the resignation last week of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor after a distinguished 24-year career marked by fair, thorough, and impartial jurisprudence, King George the 43rd now has the chance he and the Wacko Satanic Anti-American Righties have been drooling over: he gets to nominate O'Connor's replacement. If you think the aforementioned abuses of power have been bad, "b-b-b-b-baby you just ain't seen nothin' yet"; it's likely to get far worse. (Apologies to Bachman-Turner Overdrive.)
It has already been amply demonstrated that Bush and the Wacko Satanic Anti-American Righties think absolutely nothing of shredding the Constitution in order to insert like-minded sub-human life forms into positions of power. For those of you with exceedingly short memories, my May 25 entry here details the lengths to which Republicans were willing to go to accomplish this — even getting exactly what they wanted with Priscilla Owen, William Pryor, and Janice Rogers Brown still wasn't good enough for them. I would bet $100 (which, considering my current savings after buying my car, would be pretty high stakes for me) that the "nuclear option" the Democrats thought they had averted on May 23 is going to come back and be shoved through — I predicted as much back then, but even I didn't think only six weeks would pass in the interim.
The Wacko Satanic Anti-American Righties have set their sights on destroying many of the very rights we enjoy today in America. All it will take for them to ram their agenda down our throats is one more retirement by a progressive (probably John Paul Stevens) during a period of Wacko Satanic Righty control of the White House (they're hoping within the remaining 3½ years of the 43rd Reich). When that happens, I can kiss my right to have sex with any consenting adult of my choosing, free from government intrusion, goodbye — I'm sure Lawrence v. Texas is first on their hit list. Meanwhile, women will be told that the government is now in control of their reproductive organs; Roe v. Wade has been the wackos' primary rallying cry for 30 years.
It won't take long from there to get to the point where a fascist interpretation of the Bible — you know, the interpretation in which it's fine and dandy to kill them thar faggots in spite of the Commandment "thou shalt not kill"; the one under which an emotionally vulnerable 15-year-old girl should be stoned to death for "fornication" because some boy conned her into having sex (but her unborn baby must be protected at all cost); the one in which failure to drop to one's knees and recite a dozen Our Fathers on demand is punishable by death; the one that will cause Israel to be nuked back into the sand because "Christian" control of that nation will lead to the "Second Coming" — takes over the Constitution's place of honor in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.. Courtroom monuments of the Ten Commandments, which were just recently held unconstitutional, will be not only allowed, but probably required as the "basis for the entire American system of law." (Note: A young man named Carsen, who writes the "Where the Dolphins Play" blog that I read, proved this "the Ten Commandments are the basis of our law" argument to be bullshit in this recent entry.)
It was for these reasons, among others, that at the beginning of last Wednesday night's International Freedom Festival fireworks show in downtown Detroit (which I caught on News/Talk 760 WJR, Detroit's "Great Voice of the Great Lakes"), this natural-born American citizen felt more patriotic pride during O Canada than during the Star-Spangled Banner. I realize that not everything about Canada is all peaches and cream — their experiment with national health care has been nothing short of a disaster, and despite my love of the French language, I could do without forced bilingualism — but at least the so-called "American Dream" is still alive and well in Canada. Without regard to gender, skin color, religious faith, sexual orientation, national origin, or ethnicity, Canada affords ALL of its residents equal freedoms and rights. Despite their American-conservative-sounding lies to the contrary, "fundamentalist 'Christian'" Canadians are neither any more nor any less favored under the law than gay Canadians, and that's more than can be said about the United States at this point.
This graphic that I created a couple nights ago is, I think, a good symbol for what I hope to become in the future. If immigration lawyers weren't so damned expensive, and if I were financially secure enough to withstand a possible long period of legal inability to work in another country, I would probably have made the move north last November 3. Real life, unfortunately, is never so simple as that, so at this point, it remains nothing more than a gleam in my eye. I will always be American by birth (i.e., some things won't change; I'll probably still write "defense" instead of "defence" and "favorite" instead of "favourite") — even if I visit a U.S. consulate to renounce my citizenship after becoming naturalized elsewhere — but if I can catch the right breaks, perhaps I can become Canadian by choice, and this is what that graphic symbolizes to me.
I'm off to Iowa City, IA, the home of the University of Iowa and its Hawkeyes, for a delivery at 5:00 am CDT tomorrow morning. After that, God only knows how long I'll be sleeping.