I am not willing to go far as to say freedom is the last refuge of the scoundrel. But Tea Party patriots often make me feel as if my own patriotism can never possibly match the depths of their own brand of flag-waving and highly demonstrative calls for pledges of allegiance. I am not and have never been a flag-waving patriot constantly in need of some kind of pre-game national anthem ringing in my ears. And, in all honesty, I have never liked parades ushered in by all of our veterans, an iconic display that continues to narrow the frame of patriotism to war and a physical defense of our country.

My love of this country, however, comes from a different source—its artists, its writers, its musicians, its thinkers. When our country was attacked on September 11, 2001, my soul sank. Here was a country of Walt Whitman, August Wilson, Benjamin Franklin, and Aaron Copland that had been knocked on its ass by a group of religious fanatics who had no clue of the range and depth of America’s soul. Continue reading


Tea-Party Patriots (Part I)

Patriotic fervor takes many roads these days. Now there is a new highway entrance for the disgruntled and the angry in America. They are the new-and-allegedly-improved original tea-party patriots of America’s legendary Boston Tea Party.

If there is a bonding message among the Tea Party followers, it is simply that they are not being heard by their politicians.

And their messages are seamless streams of rage that have become the sound-bites of this new generation of discontented: “it’s up to the people to take back the government”; “we rule the government”; “people are fed up with the government that won’t listen to them anymore”; “government crap”; “I just want my government back”; “people should keep as much of their own taxes as possible”; “government should stay out of the car and banking business”; “pull the plug on Wall Street”; “screaming at my tv”; “I had to do something out of frustration”; “they don’t have a clue.” Continue reading