It is the 4th of July as I write this, so Happy 4th to my fellow Americans. And especially to the families of those that serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the soldiers fighting there and to the families of those that died there.
Sometimes we eat barbecue and shoot off fireworks and go to the beach on this holiday. In between all of that, some folks think about what it means to be an American. I am an American. In my heart and not just on my passport. I love my country. I still get choked up when I hear the well-sung version of the National Anthem. I want Americans to do well in the Olympics. I want
tourists to come here and appreciate all there is to love about the USA. I go to Washington and I stand in the reclining Lincoln's shadow and think about where the country might have been if we did not have such great men to lead us. I realize that God truly has blessed America.
As a liberal Democrat, I actually have some things in common with my more conservative neighbors. I want taxes to be cut but for who is the question. Government waste concerns me more than high taxes. I think we need to spend our treasury in smarter ways than we need to cut taxes. Americans are taxed at a rate notably less than other western societies.
I am in favor of a strong military, but that military should forever be under strict and informed civilian control. America, by its definition, would die if the military were given too much power. Some extremists would have you believe that it's the other way around.
I believe we should have a strong border and that immigrants should not be
allowed to come to this country, undocumented, and take jobs, benefits and
government relief. But so long as what was once called "the Protestant work ethic"
remains in a coma in this country, the vacuum formed there will remain. When
I was young, as young as 15, summer time meant fun and friends, but it also
meant work. I had every type of job you could imagine in the summer time, from
road repair to bussing tables to lifeguarding. (Okay, the lifeguarding
wasn't so rough.)
Today, people don't want their kids to work if they don't have to. And many
adult Americans don't seem to want to do the smaller, dirtier jobs. Americans
complain about immigrants in this country, legal and otherwise, but without
them we would have serious problems. The immigration issue is, above all else,
a pathetic, conservative think-tank attempt to take people's minds off the
debacle of Iraq in order to fend off the threat to the GOP Congressional
majority in the 06 election.
I believe in no principle more than one man, one vote. Yet in my heart I
know that Bush/Cheney stole both the 2000 and the 2004 elections with the help of
the Supreme Court in one and Diebold in the other.
And finally, I believe in protecting our security at home, but I recognize
that this is, and should be, hard work. To balance "homeland security" with
civil liberties and inalienable rights is among the most significant challenges
that great leaders in our country must face. As Franklin said, if we don't
balance security with liberty, we will have neither.
I offer a patriotic fantasy for all of my fellow Americans today, on this 4th
of July. It's a fantasy, so bear with me. I am in a large apartment
complex. I turn a corner, and there are a couple of Muslim men wearing headsets,
whispering tersely into the microphone. Suddenly, one man erupts and says,
"Where is the car? Where is the car? You fool!" They sprint off down the hall.
At that instant, Osama Bin Laden comes out of a door. He is oblivious. I
make my move. Bin Laden reacts, but too late. We tumble into his upper floor
suite. I have him in my grasp and, conveniently, I spy a box cutter on the
table. (Hey...it's a fantasy.) Osama struggles, swearing at me in his native
tongue, until I jam the box cutter into his neck. I do it again. Fading, Bin
Laden says (this time in English for my benefit) "Good luck with '30 Rock'. I am
a big Tina Fey fan."
I gather up the body of the world's most notorious terrorist and hurl it over
the balcony. Then, in the final stroke of luck, Bin Laden lands on Dick
God bless America.