Monday, October 17, 2011

GOP's Anti-Patriotism

Sullivan Ballou was a major in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers during the Civil War. He wrote this letter to his wife in Smithfield, 14 July 1861 from Washington, D.C.:

Dear Sarah, The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days, perhaps tomorrow. And lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more.

I have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how American civilization now leans on the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing, perfectly willing, to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this government and to pay that debt.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless. It seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence can break. And yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly, with all these chains, to the battlefield.

Sullivan’s letter continues for many paragraphs as he expresses his undying love for his “dear Sarah," his hopes to see “our boys grown up to honorable manhood around us,” and how when his last breath escapes him, "it will whisper your name."

So how do our politicians today uphold this honorable, courageous recognition of the vital role our government plays in the lives of all of us. The recognition that civilization leans on the triumph of the government. The reverence for the great debt we owe to those who went before us? The burning inspiration that together our country can do great things, for and with each other?

Under this noble lens, it's hard to watch the current crop of GOP candidates elbow each other aside in their eagerness to curry favor with the anti-government, pro-corporate me-first Tea Party.

Presidential wanna-be Michelle Bachmann at a Tea Party rally called the current administration a "gangster government,” to great applause, and even claimed in a recent debate that citizens should pay no taxes at all.

The current GOP-majority House blocks job-creating measures intended to lift us out of the financial morass they are largely responsible for under the Bush/Cheney administration. Their constant drum beat is for tax breaks for corporations…. corporations they and the Supreme Court have labeled as “people” with the right to spend unlimited sums of money to buy elections. As GOP presidential candidate
Mitt Romney said this year at the Iowa State Fair, “Corporations are people, my friend.”

GOP presidential candidate
Rick Perry calls the upcoming election a religious crusade to put God in charge of government. God is the cloak scroundels use to mask their raw lusting for the power of the presidency, however unqualified and self-serving. Bible-thumping rheotric designed to obscure their lack of patriotism.

Where are the GOP presidential candidates who will uphold Sullivan Ballou’s honorable, unselfish recognition of the vital role government plays in the lives of all of us?... and the great debt we owe to those who fought and died for this government? Their sacrifice wasn't for corporations.

Sullivan Ballou was mortally wounded at the first Battle of Bull Run a week after he wrote this letter. He was a true patriot… by definition a person who loves, supports, and defends his country and its interests with devotion. It says nothing about slash and burn devisive ideology against his government.

Grand Old Party, where are your Sullivan Ballous?

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