There was a time, not too long ago, when the word “patriot” brought forth visions of Paul Revere, James Madison and George Washington. Other generations used the same word to describe Audie Murphy and Alvin York. Folks my age grew up and served during the Vietnam war, and our “Patriot” heroes varied widely. Military men and women and crusaders alike fit the bill for us. Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and even people like Abbie Hoffman were people we saw standing tall for real American values.
The term “patriot” today has been hijacked by some pretty extreme right-wing groups. These “American-Exceptionalism” folks love their symbols: the flag, the national anthem, “God Bless America” — but they sometimes forget to love the real heart of America, our ideals. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently said this about such groups:
“Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines. Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist.”
The SPLC also identified more than 1200 such groups in the United States on their “Hatewatch” blog. It seems the meaning of the word has changed somewhat.
Republicans also love “cutting”. They love to cut taxes, they love to cut spending, they love to cut government. They also seem fond of cutting voter participation, healthcare options for women, Social Security, wages…ad nauseam.
Today their patriotic cries of “Support the Troops” ran headlong into their predilection for cutting stuff, and it seems “cutting” is more important. The afternoon edition of USA Today had the following:
“About 5,000 troops are among those affected by cuts to the federal food stamp program, according to the Pentagon.The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps, is reducing benefits to about 47 million Americans.” They explained further, “For the military, the benefit goes primarily to young troops with families.”
Fox News Politics published a report three days ago, and attempted to explain deep cuts:
“Legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House would cut food stamps by an additional $4 billion annually and tighten eligibility requirements. The House bill would also end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely and allow states to put broad new work requirements in place.”
For those on the far right, cutting food stamps, welfare, Social Security, Medicare etc. is simply “putting their lazy asses back to work”. It’s their way to “stop them freeloaders from takin’ money out of MY pocket that I WORKED HARD for.” Well, I’ve got news for TEA baggers, those 5000 young American soldiers and sailors work their ASSES off. They put themselves in harm’s way to honor American ideals, and get paid squat! For Republicans to push so defiantly, for cuts that will actually take food off the table for these brave Americans, is anti-American in the most fundamental way.
And it’s not just those young troops who are being bitch-slapped. The Washington Post ran a story last Friday that showed:
“Many veterans returning from service face challenges in finding work. While the overall unemployment rate for veterans is lower than the national average, the unemployment rate for recent veterans (serving in September 2001 to the present) remains high, at 10.1 percent in September 2013. About one-quarter of recent veterans reported service-connected disabilities in 2011,wh ich can impact their ability to provide for their families: households with a veteran with a disability that prevents them from working are about twice as likely to lack access to adequate food than households without a disabled member.
Veterans who participate in SNAP tend to be young, but their ages range widely: 57 percent of the veterans in our analysis are under age 30, while 9 percent are aged 60 or older.”
The Washington Post story also added this: “According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), “in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] to provide food for their families in 2011, a previous analysis of Census data estimated.”
So the TEA party folks in the House and Senate love the troops and the veteran’s, but have no problem taking food off their tables. They absolutely refuse however to raise taxes on the wealthy or the big corporations, they refuse to kill huge subsidy programs for big farmers, big oil, big corporations because, they LIKE big stuff, big/rich people, big companies, and they have pledged not to ask them to help get us out of our economic hole (that was created by big tax-cuts and unfunded wars), but the “little people” are a different story. After all, most of US little people are lazy, over-educated, bleeding-heart takers who tend to vote Democratic.
Oh, and those 5000 service members and those 900,000 Veterans too. But, God Bless America!