In the summer of ‘84, I took my first trip out of the USA; really. I was coming out of a terrible relationship and I saved up to go to a Club Med resort for one week. I believe it was in Martinique, and unlike 95% of the other vacationers, I went alone. Well, after two days at the place the oppressive heat and humidity, with no AC in our room, and the bugs just got the best of me. I didn’t care how much it cost me; I was going home… and fast! I called for a taxi, booked a flight and was back at JFK within a few hours. I took another cab and was at my apartment in no time. I remember running up the stairs to my 2nd floor attic apartment, opening the door and falling to the carpet… kissing it! I thought that I could never make any negative comments about my country again.
I do love America. I have been to and stayed in many cities in most of our 50 states and I do enjoy meeting so many different types of Americans. I love the varied foods and beverages that our melting pot nation offers. The different accents and slang expressions that so many of my fellow citizens have fascinates me. It seems everyone wishes to come to America from almost any country in the world. There must be something inherently good about my country… so … what happened? Or rather, when did I awake from this illusion about America? Yes, I am ashamed to be an American at this time. Maybe it started when I researched and studied what really transpired as I was growing up in the1950, with those A Bomb drills of hiding under our desks at school and the famous McCarthy red baiting witch hunts. Perhaps it was when I first became an activist during the Vietnam War. When we invaded Iraq in March of ’03, I cried while viewing the Shock and Awe bombing campaign on the boob tube, and those countless commentators wearing flag lapels…
They held an 85th birthday party a short while ago for Pete Seeger, the folk singer/progressive activist. It was televised on one of the cable channels, and many of the 50s and 60s lefties and artists were there. They honored Pete for all he had done to fight Fascism, McCarthyism and then Nixonism, which many of us believe was all one and the same. During the ceremonies, many on stage were boasting about how far our nation had come by electing our first Afro American President. My fellow activist Ed Dunphy told me last night that he wanted to throw a shoe at the television set when he saw and heard that. “This guy, Obama, is a stooge for the powerful, the same as all the other presidents. He has continued most of the Bush/Cheney right wing policies that all those lefties at the Seeger celebration protested for 8 years! You know, the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, Gitmo remaining open, hiring mercenary thugs like Blackwater, increasing our military spending to record numbers, no public option for Medicare for All; assassinating US citizens abroad with no trial or hearing, and of course the extension of extraordinary rendition AKA torture. “I added the fact that the so called Progressive Caucus in Congress follows Obama and his Democratic Party leaders front and center. Even when a guy like Kucinich rails against all of the above, we still know who he intends to support in the 2012 election- of course after he gets knocked out of the primaries by Obama.
So here is the shame of it all. Most American voters still believe that ‘My vote counts ‘, and it does… for either the Republicans or the Democrats. So what!? Where is the outrage when all those basic services we took for granted for decades now are being cut? You see, the Two Party & Tea Party Con Job is well thought out. We have the Republicans, being pushed by the Tea Bag Morons, railing about how we need to cut the entitlements (meaning helping the poor and the retired). Then we have the Democrats, staunch defenders of the oppressed, railing about how the answer to all our problems is to raise the taxes on those earning in excess of a couple of hundred grand a year. Meanwhile, the corporate wolves at the Military Industrial Complex and at the banking community laugh all the way to their well armed and secured gated communities or estates. Why? Well, check the facts ‘smoke and mirrored out ‘by the rhetoric. The Two Party & Tea Party Con Men and Women all refuse to cut the obscene and immoral military spending- which means they refuse to end the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan, or to close the 800+ bases worldwide. When they run for re-election (or election) in 2012 they will use slogans like Keeping Americans Safe or Never Give in to Terror. The only terror is when all of us suckers cannot afford the medical or dental treatments we need, or when the punks, petty thieves and crooks run rampant in our communities for lack of proper policing. Or when the fire trucks cannot get to you in time, or the library closes earlier and earlier, the class rooms have more and more kids per teacher… need I go on?
You see, it is a shameful fact that most Americans simply refuse to speak up or speak out at these injustices… unless of course it hits home to their families. Even then, with many of us the ‘sucker punches ‘are absorbed and we crawl on. Think of what could be accomplished if more and more of us got out in public to let our neighbors and our elected officials take notice. Remember those B movies of the 30s, 40s and 50s, where the public masses and marches upon the mayor’s office or the factory or whatever source of power and control, and they demand change? In one such film the union was corrupt and in bed with the crooked factory owner living uptown. They even referred to him as ‘Mr. Big ‘. Well, when the public had enough of the extortion and beatings etc, they marched to the factory owned by ‘Mr. Big ‘. He sat in his penthouse apartment watching the live news coverage. He shakes his head and tells his lackey to “Get me Johnson (union leader) on the phone, now! “ When Johnson gets on the line, Mr. Big says to him “I can’t have this publicity. Settle the damn thing and give them most of what they want… so this can just GO AWAY! “
It all can begin to just GO AWAY if more of us would stop pussyfooting around, waiting for the next election, and get involved in peaceful protest.
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is a small businessman, activist leader and free lance columnist. Philip is an advocate for the 25% Solution to cut military spending to save our state and city budget shortfalls. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at the fine dandelion salad website. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Default Through Immorality by Philip A. Farruggio (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Compromising Morality… America’s Shame! by Philip A. Farruggio (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- This Damn American Shame! by Philip A. Farruggio (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Serving the “Three War Party System” by Philip A. Farruggio (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)