Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How we roll

The great president Andrew Sheppard once said:

“America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".”

While I certainly wouldn't call myself a big Bloomberg fan (keep the Bush tax cuts, Bloomie?) I’ve always given him credit for being ideologically pretty even-keeled. The speech he gave yesterday I think demonstrates that pretty well (even though it would have been waaaay better if Michael Douglas had delivered it).

Palin and Beck and the tea partiers can go on railing about some abstract notion of “losing their freedom” or their “liberty being taken away” or how “Obama is destroying the constitution." But here in New York City, we actually know what those words mean.

Freedom of religion either means freedom of religion or it doesn’t. Liberty either means behaving according to one's own free will or it doesn't. Either you’ve got the balls to say “what applies to me applies to you too” or you don’t. "Freedom" and "liberty" and "constitution" can't just be words you say. I'm looking at you, mama grizzly.

Something tells me the people making all the stink about this wouldn't so much as bat an eye if someone built a church near the Murrah building site in Oklahoma City.


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