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Libertas1776's Journal - Archives
Posted by Libertas1776 in GLBT
Sun May 29th 2011, 10:57 AM
Remember those key words..."We have always been." We are NOT afflicted with some illness or chemical imbalance as some phoney scientists would say. We do NOT choose who we are attracted to and what we are, are NOT "lifestyle" choices.

We are Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual. We have existed since time immemorial. We roamed the plains of Africa at the birth of man and still reside in little villages all across that great continent. We walked in the shadow Roman columns and temples and still do their ruins. We tilled the ancient lands in the Yellow River valley and still toil to bear nature's fruit.

We are poets, authors, painters, sculptors, and musicians. We are politicians, judges, and lawyers. We are construction workers, fisherman, and coal miners. We are wealthy and drive flashy cars to work in glass towers. We are working class toilers and laborers breaking our backs to support our families and push our stalled piece of shit car home from work. We are men of the cloth and we are atheists and agnostics. We are policemen, firemen, and EMTs.


And...we are Grunts and Jarheads and Sailors and Airmen and so much more....



Seeing how memorial day is just around the corner, i thought i would add this as well...

We froze with Washington at Valley Forge. Our blood stained corpses festered under the cruel sun at Gettysburg. Somewhere under a field in Flanders, our remains our growing poppies. We pulled our fellow shipmates out of the Pacific drink as Japanese Zeros roared over our sinking carrier, and gave a passionate kiss to the French maiden passing flowers to the liberators, only to stare a few seconds longer at the smiling lad just beyond our reach (about 30 years beyond). We cleaned the gaping wounds of the injured, plugged the hemorrhaging of thousands of men, and softly held the hands of thousands more, quelling their fear as they slipped away. And when the gore became too much, we embraced our fellow sisters close and gave each other strength in umpteen ways. We continue to serve proudly, despite the lingering shadow of which we must "not ask nor tell." We continue to serve and as such our remains our scattered with our straight brothers throughout the parched lands of Afghanistan and Iraq. We have and will continue to return home through Delaware in flag draped reminders of sacrifice...


http://progressivenation.us/2010/10/06/whi... /

Honestly, this post did not begin as military centric but it somehow evolved into that given the proximity to Memorial Day. But the greater point I believe is this: We are all sexes, races, creeds, and colors. We are not a separate people. We did not come from a singular nation. We are all nations. Our blood is red. We love, we laugh, and we cry. We are....HUMAN. Our only difference is who we are hardwired to be attracted to.

There will continue to be those who balk and drag their feet, if not outright slam on the breaks of our progress as a nation, from the very top down to an average citizen. And while the pundits and the politicians play peacemaker and power player with our civil rights, we will continue to make that ultimate sacrifice for the country and the people that we love.


This is for all our serving men and women, gay, bisexual, and straight.

Happy Memorial Day.
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Posted by Libertas1776 in Political Videos
Sun Mar 27th 2011, 12:08 PM
Granted, I know this is not exactly recent politics per se, but seeing how our "friend" Newt has been rearing his ugly head again, exploratory committee BS and all his digs at the Dems and POTUS and all that, i figured i would showcase a little time trip to more than 15 years ago. Actually, with all that sea of crusty old white people, i had to check to make sure the date was '95 and not 2011


Humor is a little subdued, not much to write home about, and i much rather prefer the Farley Newt sketches on the show itself. But what can ya expect, its a publicity gig. Nonetheless, Chris will always be my favorite.

On a more poignant note: all i can think is that all the wrong people in this video are not with us anymore. The others....*shivers. The REAL point of posting this: Shit, Does Boner age?? Newt, Boner, Delay...just goes to show you what dinosaurs the Repubs truly are and yet they keep coming back for more. They'll keep using different brand names "Contract with America," "The Tea Party," but the message is always the same. Keep those "haves" on top...supported by the backs of the "have nots"...and killing Big Bird!
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Posted by Libertas1776 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Nov 29th 2009, 10:58 PM
Behold! A glimpse at the hell the Swiss just avoided by banning the construction of any new minarets in the country
Look at it, standing there in its infernal, Turkish made, plastic glory, defying everything that is Swiss-iness.


What the Swiss people have done, via the "tried and true" democratic practice of putting a minority group's civil liberties up to popular vote, is say no to the "black sheep" that continues to invade and threaten the hegemony of the Swiss culturescape i.e. immigrants, and more specifically Muslims.

(Swiss People's Party 2007 poster "Creating Security")

In other OPs on this subject, I have seen some DUer's proclaim it to be a good thing. That they are simply trying to maintain and keep intact the architectural landscape of Switzerland, for the sake of tourism, historical preservation, identity, etc and so forth. Some have stated it is a rejection of religious architecture and it is a good thing. Really, then by that logic all of the quaint, picturesque church steeples adorning the Swiss countryside should be toppled to the ground because they were putting religion in people's faces. Others have said that "Well, the countries from which these Muslims originate from do not permit the construction of Christian steeples, Jewish synagogues, etc. so why should they yield to their demands for minarets?" Well, aside from the fact that most Muslims living in Switzerland originate from places like Kosovo and Turkey, both tremendously far cries from the theocracies of Saudi Arabia and Iran, this is still supposed to be a democratic country that enshrines human rights and religious freedom into its laws and traditions.

You don't gauge how to treat immigrants and minorities by how some societies that share their faith treat yours. You throw such preconceptions out the window and you afford these people the same rights and privileges that every Swiss born is guaranteed. That is what makes these societies better than any theocracy of any religion. And that is why people of all creeds and races flock to such places.


I don't know, maybe that is just the American in me talking. The American who was raised to believe that all are created equal and all have a right to religious freedom. I myself am an irreligious agnostic, but that doesn't make me intolerant of other people's beliefs, so long as they are tolerant of mine. I would hope for cooperation and friendship amongst differing parties, such as the one between Muslims and Jews in this Northern Virginia community http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2009/... If more people could live their lives in such a fashion, this world would be a much better place. Sadly, there are plenty of my countrymen who would would not agree with my sentiments and who would happily jump on board the Swiss People's Party band wagon. That's the way it is, all over the world, but not always.

Well, now you may be saying "these minarets are interfering with my beliefs and my right to be free of religion." Well, I disagree. The real moral of this story is not a rejection of minarets, but rather an embracing of intolerance, xenophobia. The real outrage is that people fell for scary commercials and large posters with foreboding messages.
The referendum outcome in Switzerland was the result of, as stated before, bigotry and xenophobia, but also fear...especially fear, plain and simple. How do you get people on your side? You scare the shit out of them and you make posters like these...



Yep, a dark and ominous poster with a dark looking woman wrapped up in a dark burqua and of course, the dark, ominous minarets jutting out of a Swiss flag, like half a dozen threatening missiles. On top of that, you rile up the feminists and scare them with the bogeyman of sharia law and patriarchal tyranny, that these minarets (of which out of the 150 or so mosques and prayer rooms in Switzerland the incredibly high count of 4...count 'em FOUR...already exist and get this, they were planning on constructing 2 more of these minarets! And none of which emanate the call to prayer. My god, hide your children and lock the doors ) are just a stepping stone to theocratic rule, once again, despite the fact that...
"close to 90 percent of Muslims in Switzerland are from Kosovo and Turkey, and most do not adhere to the codes of dress and conduct associated with conservative Muslim countries." http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/eu...

Never mind any of those pesky "facts" and "rationalities," let fear and irrationality; xenophobia and bigotry prevail.
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Posted by Libertas1776 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Nov 21st 2009, 06:00 PM
To whoever donated in my name for the DU drive, all I can say is...well...I really cannot say anything. I am truly at a loss for words. I'll try and muster whatever words I can in the hopes of expressing, with the utmost sincerity, about how I feel. I think the best way I can do that is with these two quotes. Here is the first, a quote from American author and publisher William Feather:
"Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim."
&
Secondly, this Malayan proverb:
"One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind."


Before I get all vaclempt, let me just close and say to whoever you are, where ever you are, I hope you see this...
Thank You, ¡Gracias!, Obrigado!, Merci!, شكرا لك, 谢谢!, דאַנקען איר and Dankon!
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Posted by Libertas1776 in GLBT
Fri Nov 20th 2009, 08:19 PM

I'm a guy that rarely gets emotional, beyond your standard teary eyes. Hell, I really haven't had a full blown cry, I mean the whole waterworks since I was a little kid. But this time, I couldn't keep it down. I had to let it out.

Somehow I got into this discussion with my older brother and my mother about gay marriage. Actually, I think it started about that kid who refuses to stand and say the pledge until gay people can get married. Somehow, someway, over time it devolved into this shouting match mostly between my brother and I. They're accepting of me, and have no qualms with gays getting married, but like most straight people, they are pretty nonchalant about it. I guess I must have said to my mother how most heterosexual couples, for the sake of argument, don't appreciate "marriage" for what its worth. And I'm not talking about all the lovey dovey, white wedding, eternal bond stuff. I simply mean the legality of it and the plethora of rights and privileges it promises...for straight couples at least.

And then my bro chimed in saying how he would just settle down with some girl and didn't feel the need for "marriage" or any type of legal bond. I continued by explaining what marriage really meant, beyond the ceremony. I explained about legal rights, ownership, taxes, real estate, hospitals, and especially kids. And of course, he was being nonchalant about it, not seeing the seriousness of it, and pretty much blowing it off. He continued by explaining how he didn't really care whether or not he had kids. (I hate to get personal about this but I just gotta share it: this coming from a guy who is single and really longing for a girl right now and dreaming about buying a house and most of all...having kids!) All he could do was dismiss me and pretty much mock me...at least that is what it felt like to me.

I tried so hard to explain everything to my mother who...well, the only way I think I can describe her is like Edith Bunker. She means well, but most things just go right over her head. It's really difficult to have a serious conversation with her. Anyway, no matter how much I would explain the benefits of marriage (the right to see your sick partner in his or her hospital bed, the right to jointly adopt, all she could say in return was "I don't understand." It was almost maddening trying to explain to her and to him what it really means to be married in this country. Eventually, I got very emotional and couldn't hold it in. And all they could say "Why are you crying?" As soon as I got emotional, she got emotional, and from there it was a whole mess. I really lost it when she said to my brother, through her crying, that whatever the reason I was like this aka crying and shouting, he should just leave me alone. Whatever the reason?!!! The past 20 minutes that I was explaining everything possible, and the past ten minutes that I was all emotional, you still don't even know what the hell I am talking about? It was as if I had been talking in a foreign language for 20 minutes.

That's what really got to me...the futility of my argument. No matter how much I would explain and explain and explain all she could say in return was I don't understand, as if she had said, I don't know why you are making a big deal about this. All along, my brother would roll his eyes, chuckle, and dismiss me (also, as if to say, "Why are you making such a big deal?") If you have ever been in an argument like this, you'll know what I am talking about. It's like when you are in an argument with someone and there is a third party in the middle. All the while, it seems like the third party is oblivious to the person who is arguing with you and their actions (rolling eyes, chuckling) and only notices you. Believe me, when you're in a heated argument and someone does that to you, it's like someone scratching a chalk board with their finger nails, it just pisses you off beyond believe and causes you to raise your voice even more. And then the third party i.e. my mother says why are you shouting, what's wrong? I know, it sounds so childish and stupid, but that is the way it felt.

The problem with her, like so many heterosexuals, is she is jaded. Married for umpteen years to a pretty crappy spouse. To them, it's like "Why would anybody want to be 'married,' it's just a pain in the ass. Why do you want to be miserable?" Meanwhile, there is an entire underclass in this nation of men and women, Christian, Jewish, atheist, black, brown, white and every other color under the sun who would do anything to marry the one they love, and by marry I mean form not only a bond of love and unity, but also form a bond that leaves them secure in their relationship. It allows them to know that both are equal parents of their children; that both will be able to see each other if either is lying sick or even dying in a hospital bed. Even if you are a heterosexual couple and plan on having kids, a house, etc. you can't just cohabitate together without having some type of legal bond, be it "marriage" as we understand it, a civil union, domestic partnership etc. between each other. Otherwise, prepare for a complicated legal cluster fuck of red tape and restrictions.

Unfortunately, that is the way for gay couples all over America, who are not fortunate enough to live in a handful of states in New England or Iowa. I just wish they would understand. Please, straight people, just because a lot of you may be sick of the idea of "marriage," don't downgrade the importance and legality of it; stop taking it for granted. Stop blowing your money on expensive galas for your bride zillas. A ceremony is just a ribbon cutting for what follows. That is what is important. If I or anyone else like me could simply walk up to a judge and get "married" right there in his chambers, that would be enough for me.

I'm not really mad at them, I just wish they could understand how I feel, and my anger. Aw, well, this may not add up to a hill a beans but I really just anted to get this out.

So, my little...actually, quite long, rant is over.

sigh, Now I need to get some more tissues
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Posted by Libertas1776 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Nov 10th 2009, 03:34 PM
The day that a Neil Simon play is considered passé is the day that Broadway is dead.

This little rant that I am about to posit is a result of the closure of a revival of Neil Simon's classic, "Brighton Beach Memoirs," after only a week of performances and as a result, the complete scuttling of its sequel, "Broadway Bound" which was to play simultaneously with much of the same cast. Why? Because of poor ticket sales, despite the fact that Broadway ticket sales overall are doing quite well. The website of the play http://www.theneilsimonplays.com /



Left, the older Eugene Morris Jerome of "Broadway Bound," Josh Grisetti, Mother Jerome played by Laurie Metcalf, and of course, Neil Simon, as well as the young Eugene of "Brighton Beach memoirs," Noah Robbins. The Jerome Household in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

This article from the NY Daily News sums up a lot the current state of Broadway "Theater."
http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/culture/2...

The Broadway audience, which highbrows condescended to, especially when it was at its height, in the decades after World War II, was certainly centered in New York. It was middle class (with significant exceptions both higher and lower on the social ladder.) It had a higher percentage of Jews than the population at large.

It also went way beyond the Hudson. In the decades after the war Broadway was a significant factor in middle class life all across the country. It was not only New Yorkers who knew Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams (not to mention all the major figures of our musical theater.) Those names counted for something in every major city across the country, in part because their plays toured immediately after they finished their Broadway run, often with the original stars. That was how a little boy in Milwaukee (moi) became entranced with the theater.

The tourists who come to New York now, I'm afraid, are not really an audience. Their idea of entertainment is more likely a rock concert than an evening of theater. Seeing a Broadway show is one of the things they're supposed to do while they're here, like visiting the Statue of Liberty or riding the subway.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/culture/2...


That pretty much sums up the Broadway theater goer of today, "their idea of entertainment is more likely a rock concert," which would probably explain the inexplicable flocking of people to "Rock of Ages"

or would much rather prefer to see big name pretty face actors like Jude Law in "Hamlet"

or Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig in "A Steady Rain."

Or even a nice, safe, kid friendly Disney production of "Mary Poppins" or the "Lion King."


A short description of "Memoirs" from Wikipedia...
Set in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, New York in 1937, the coming-of-age comedy focuses on Eugene Morris Jerome, a Polish-Jewish teenager who experiences puberty, sexual awakening, and a search for identity as he tries to deal with his family, including his older brother Stanley, his parents Kate and Jack, as well as Kate's sister Blanche and her two daughters, Nora and Laurie.


A short description of "Broadway Bound" from Wikipedia...
The play is about Eugene and his older brother, Stanley, dealing with their parents' relationship falling apart as they are working together to becoming aspiring comedy writers for the radio, and, eventually, television.



For those of you that have seen a theatrical performance or big screen adaptation of this play, or by extention any other great Neil Simon play ( The Odd Couple , The Prisoner of Second Ave , Lost in Yonkers , The "Eugene Trilogy" ( Brighton Beach Memoirs , Biloxi Blues , Broadway Bound )just to name a few, as well as Simon's works that were exclusively made for the screen: The Out-of-Towners , The Lonely Guy , The Odd Couple Part II and so on) will understand the inestimable greatness and humor of this great American playwright and screenwriter.

To me, this is truly an indictment of the new Broadway audience and a general dumbing down of the American populace. Like the rest of New York today, its not about substance anymore. It's about glitz, big flashing lights, corporate sponsors, loud music, and big names. As for Neil Simon, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams,...well...their just passé as far as modern theater is concerned. But for me, they, especially Neil Simon, will never be past their prime or outdated. They will survive and linger on in the conscious of the American theater-scape, on community stages and in non-profit theater groups, as long as there are people who appreciate their greatness and ability to capture the people's conscious.

I tip my hat to you, Mr Simon, and will be forever grateful for your contribution to American theatrical culture and comedy.



Rant Concluded.
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Posted by Libertas1776 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Sep 27th 2009, 02:29 PM


In 1944, an ill President Roosevelt(just about a year before his death), the war having taken its toll, addressed Congress in his 11th State of the Union message. At one point, FDR proposed a 2nd Bill of Rights, so to speak, that would cover American's rights where the The Bill of Rights had left off, or covered insufficiently. Of course, he did not intend for a change in the US Constitution, but rather these implementations would be enacted "politically" through legislative change.


Here is perhaps the most poignant message of the speech, as an introduction to his proposed bill of rights "addendum"...

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.


Here are the rights that would compose this new proposition (The one's that I feel most important, I have highlighted)

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bill_o...

I am mentioning this subject because, although it has already been mentioned time and time again here on DU, it will soon have much much more prominence given the fact that long thought to be lost, if not even existent, newsreel footage of FDR proposing this bill or rights has been found. And who found it you may ask? Well...





That's right, Michael Moore, and he includes this footage in his upcoming movie "Capitalism: A Love Story." http://www.7x7.com/blogs/screen-shots/mich...
I, for one, am ecstatic, being a bit of a history buff and an admirer of FDR. When FDR gave his speech to Congress, he was too ill and the address had to be broadcast from the White House to Congress and the Nation. However, he did request for newsreel reporters to film an entire piece of him proposing his 2nd Bill of Rights. So important was this proposition to FDR, he allowed himself to be filmed and recorded for this excerpt of his State of the Union, in spite of his illness.

I can't help but think of all the times this country has been robbed of the opportunity of real change, throughout its history. To name a few: There was Lincoln. Had he not been shot by Booth, things would have probably been a hell of a lot better for both black people and white people, especially in the South. There was also, of course, FDR. Had he not died when he did, he would have the clout of 3 terms and victorious leadership in a world war to push through his 2nd bill of rights, which included universal health care for all Americans. Had Bobby Kennedy not been assassinated, who knows what kind of change this country would have experienced through his presidency.

Instead, these opportunities for change have been railroaded and dumped to the wayside with the rise of corporate interests in the past 60 years. I would hope that this newsreel will be used to its utmost, spread throughout this country, through all kinds of outlets.

Maybe, just maybe, we can re-invigorate the message of change and opportunity, of universal health care, a living wage, an education, and true, fair capitalism, free of corporate abuse and dominance, once proposed by a dying President, and see his last great legislative "hurrah" for the American people fulfilled. It's been 65 years; I think we are well overdue.
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Posted by Libertas1776 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Sep 12th 2009, 10:50 PM
They can only push and push the pendulum and divide and separate the people of this country with their extreme racism, warped, corrupt, regressive, fucking ideologies for so long before the pendulum swings back and knocks them all the fuck down like bowling pins. Despite what the "liberal biased" media would like you to believe, these people are the fringe! They are and always will be. They had their moment under the sun, their fifteen minutes of fame already, in a time and place called the antebellum South.

There is a new America now, a nation of 305 Million people and growing. A diverse America full of white people, black people, brown people, and every other color that you can find under the sun. We are men and women, we are young and hold, we are straight and we are gay. We are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Atheist, Agnostic, Deists, Humanist, and Naturalists. This is the America that clamors for change; hell, this is America, and it is clamoring for change.

The people who you see are not "Americans," but merely residents of America. Many of them would prefer secession to continued membership in such a diverse nation. They are racist, bitter, white Anglo's with a fetish for the dead Confederacy; they are a portion of America that is now in it's death throws. They are not prepared to go gently into that good night, they will kick and scream and holler until the last of their chants and shouts are but a faint whisper, then gone. I say let them.

It is in the midst of this "teabag tempest" that I am reminded of the powerful words given by Charlie Chaplin as he broke the fourth wall at the end of "The Great Dictator," leaving behind his character of Dictator Adenoid Hynkel


And becomes....just Charles Chaplin, the man.


Here is but a few snips from that great speech. Read them and be enlightened.

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls - has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

"The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress:

the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die liberty will never perish...

...Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting - the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality. The soul of man has been given wings - and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow - into the light of hope - into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up."





Read the rest of the speech here:

http://www.clown-ministry.com/index_1.php/... /



Here we have the "Golden Rule" illustration made by the most iconic, well known artist of all things Americana,
Norman Rockwell. It now hangs in the United Nations Headquarters in NYC. It is a representation of
the whole world, but it might as well be a microcosm of the whole United States.



"The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress" These "teabaggers" do not simply represent differences in opinion and ideology; they represent bigotry, regression, hatred, and fear. They look toward the future and they FEAR IT.



Well, I for one welcome it.
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Posted by Libertas1776 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Sep 11th 2009, 01:53 AM






http://www.peacecorps.gov /

From the Peace Corps Act 1961
“To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.”



President Kennedy meeting Corps Volunteers.

I find the very fact that this country has something like the Peace Corps to be utterly incredible. If a foreigner was to learn about this program for the first time, he or she would probably think it originated from some lefty, bleeding heart country (A very good thing IMHO) like Canada, only to become gobsmacked upon learning it is an official program of the Federal Government of the USA. Not only that, it is basically its own independent agency, not some simple sub branch off of another govt organization or agency.

Ironically, a country like Canada has no program comparable to the level of the US Peace Corps and its status as an official government agency, nor does the UK or the rest of the EU. In fact, there have been calls, such as in Canada, to create such an organization.
http://www.thestar.com/GTA/GlobalVoices/ar...

Granted, there are non-profit organizations and private charities like the European Voluntary Service and the Canadian University Service Overseas (which started a few years before the Peace Corps) that do work like the Corps. But the US Peace Corps is an actual tax dollar funded, government run organization, an agency in its own right, dedicated to volunteer work in the developing world. Imagine, there are people in other, much better off countries, that are actually envious of an original US program. We (as Americans) have every right to be envious of the health care systems and social security nets of countries like Canada and the EU states, and yet, at the same time they are envious of a US program, what a novel, seldom heard concept that is, eh?

The Corps is generally a widely supported government program, ingrained into the very culture and psyche of America. Of course, initially, there were some "skeptics" like Dick Nixon who said it would be a haven for draft dodgers. Also, don't think that a bunch of tree hugging, granola eating, lefties (like me) are the only ones signing up. Yes, Virgina, there are Republicans and Conservatives in the Corps. And the age of members run the gambit, from 18 to as high as 86.
More here
http://www.answers.com/topic/peace-corps


Now don't get me wrong, the agency has had its share of controversies like any other federal govt agency. There have been claims of "pro-imperialism" sentiments in the past. Obviously its entire purpose wasn't just for helping people in the third world, but also to get them to like us more than the Second World (i.e The USSR) There have been times in recent history when the Defense Dept was dipping too deeply into Peace Corps waters. In some instances, there have been times when the Corps dropped the ball on the safety and security of its volunteers, costing them dearly.

Regardless, however, the Corps still proves itself, IMHO, to be one of the most successful and worthwhile organizations this country has ever given birth to. In recent years, in the post 9/11 era, and the realization that the American image abroad needed to be greatly rehabilitated,
From http://www.answers.com/topic/peace-corps
According to Joseph Kennedy, "The American reputation has taken a hit in the last couple of years. The need for the Peace Corps couldn't be more urgent. The Peace Corps shows what is best in America, the generosity of spirit."

the organization has really received a great uptick and support in funding. President Obama has pledged to double the size of the Corps, something I really hope he follows through on.


And to those who doubt the seriousness and commitment of the organization and its volunteers, just remember the 274 men and woman who have, as the Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers Memorial Project puts it, "have sacrificed not only their energies and time, but also their lives while pursuing the Peace Corps mission." http://www.fpcv.org /
As a matter of fact, at least 30 people have died in the service this past decade alone.



Swearing in ceremony of Volunteers to Cambodia


My real point to this whole article (which probably comes off as one giant plug for the Peace Corps ) is really about health care. I know, you must be thinking, how the hell did we get here? Well, here it goes. How is it that America, in the past, was able to create such an esteemed, highly popular organization whose basic intent is for the greater good, and is now actually one of the very few things still admired about us by other nations?

Through all the muck and shit that we have committed throughout our 230+ year history, there are still a lot of great things we as a nation have accomplished; great service and sacrifice done for the world. It all really reminds me of that quote by Marlon Brando in Superman where he tells Kal-el that the "Humans (replace with Americans) can be a great people, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way" I honestly believe that to be true, and the Peace Corps is one of those ways in which we can be. I only wish most of our focus would be placed on initiatives like the Corps instead of militaristic endeavors and costly wars, both in human life and money.


Show us the way, Marlon Brando, show us the way

For me, this all begs the question: "If the US Government can provide such an extraordinary service for the greater good and development of citizens of other nations, then why can't it provide an extraordinary service; a Universal Health care service for the greater good and development of the citizens of its own country? We, despite a lot of shitty things, have done a great deal for others. Why can't we do a great deal for ourselves? America is suffering. It needs real, revolutionary change in the way things are done. The interests of the American people must be removed and dissociated with the interest of corporate greed and corruption, and a public funded, universal health care system for all would be a lasting and firm foundation for that real road down to change.

Thank You for your time.


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