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Blinded, Yet Again, By Patriotism

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Message Cody Lyon


Priorities appear to be out of order in the Senate, at least when it comes to finding common ground on tangible resolutions that impact the nation’s future military involvement in Iraq. The misappropriation of priorities was on full display this past Thursday when the Senate voted 72-35 to pass a resolution condemning the liberal anti-war group Move for its full page advertisement questioning the credibility of General David H. Petraeus in “The New York Times”.

Americans will hopefully ask why the Senate wastes time passing resolutions over advertisements in newspapers when there is a truckload of un-answered questions regarding the circumstances that led to this disastrous mess of a war sitting in the Senate’s parking lot, waiting to be unloaded and asked.

But, this Senate is quickly proving to be a timid bunch, well intentioned we’re sure, but if reported voter sentiment is correct, pretty ineffective on matters dealing with Iraq. To be sure, one need only take into account a failed measure to bring troops home within nine months or a failed measure that would have provided equal amounts of time at home to the time spent deployed on the ground in Iraq as evidence that a forging of brave new policy is still only a sentiment expressed by citizens, pundits, bloggers and editorial writers.

Once again Americans are left to ask where, when and if we will see demands for answers about how the burning questions over how this war is and has been being prosecuted, answers that go beyond the spoon feeding the Senate has received and accepted as truth from this White House and its military representatives?

What appears to be happening, is a misdirection of attention and a lack of focus on reality,instead, we get the hauling out of an old political number that the ethically challenged Bush administration loves to play on its piano of platitudes, a questioning of patriotism, an immature game of political hard ball that members of the Senate apparently enjoy, and rather than call a time out, and begin the difficult task of making changes in policy and planning, they play right along, blinded by a stream of shallow and simplistic certitude they apparently believe shows them to at least appear patriotic.

It looks like President Bush still has the ability to make members of the Senate jump with fear by bringing further attention to and demanding in not so subtle language, that democrats condemn a controversial advertisement, a resolute official condemnation of nothing more than one political activist group’s paid punditry in a newspaper. The result of the President's tactics and the spirit of weakness in the Senate is a useless and spooky resolution that in the end condemns one of the most sacred fundaments of our system, free speech.

Closer again to reality are more questions that ask whether or not the Senate understands that by passing such a petty and silly resolution, it stands to provide with greater political elevation and status, even in the eyes of those who oppose its message? And an even more disturbing question, does the Senate not recognize that its latest move fuels the perceived power of this White House and its continued abuse of the concept of patriotism? Does the majority of the Senate still not understand that this White House is home to an administration that when push comes to shove, will shamelessly capitalize on the sad and nasty political divisiveness that is the reality of America today?

What better place to look for political disasters than the halls of Congress, a place where truth and principal often lose to Republican and Democratic political grandstanding thanks to the knocking knees of political terror, brought on in part by a quip from the President, who’d said Democrats must be afraid of offending, which is why they (Democrats) failed to condemn the ad. What better place to look than these hallowed halls than to see a miscarriage of patriotism when this government body can’t even agree to give our fighting men and women as much time at home as they spend deployed, fighting in a war that has cost us over 4 thousand brave souls, countless injured and emotionally scarred and God only knows how many dead and displaced Iraqis’ in an increasingly un stable region where we are now the appointed guardians.

Has the Senate yet again, failed to realize the truth and chosen to hide behind its blindness to the definition of what it means to be patriotic?

Civil Rights leader Malcom X once said, “you’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality; wrong is wrong no matter who say’s it.

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Cody Lyon is an Alabama native who is a freelance writer in New York City.
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