Since my last (and first) post on the Huffington Post, I've been astounded by the variety of responses to my statement that I won't stand for the national anthem or salute the flag of the United States in any way until the United States becomes a country I feel is worth standing for. While I hesitate to dignify these predictable reactions with a response, some of them have been so powerful and so overtly violent that I am compelled to respond to them, if only to let them prove my point.
The most popular fantasy of my detractors is that I be forced to stand for the national anthem, preferably at gunpoint. Mr. William Smith of Conservative Blogger, (a web site that proudly bears the stamp "Blogs for Bush") writes that he "can only hope that when Miss Weinstein decides she 'won't stand for it' that there's an entire platoon of United States Marines standing directly behind her to point out the error of her ways. I betcha she stands then."
Then, you see, I might properly appreciate my freedom. Saluting the American flag with a platoon of Marines at your back -- I do believe that's what passes for democracy at this very moment in Iraq.
Another popular suggestion is that I (along with anyone else who doesn't believe that sending the poorest people in America to other countries to dominate and kill the poorest people there is, in fact, the pathway to freedom and democracy) am selfish or self-absorbed. I beg to differ. Selfish is sending 150,000 sons, daughters, mothers and fathers across the world to kill and die for your own financial profit while telling the remaining 280 million at home that it's actually for their freedom. Self-absorbed is believing that you are above the law, beyond the Constitution, and so important that your will can and should be carried out at the expense of thousands of lives. And what is the word for a system of government in which every last citizen demonstrates loyalty to her country, president and flag, even if the military has to force her to do it? The dictionary definition for that word is "fascism."
The United States Army is not in Iraq protecting our freedom. The United States Army is in Iraq making money for the friends of the Bush Administration. Rather than protecting my freedom, I believe they are endangering it. I am not the traitor who should be marched before the flag at gunpoint to answer for my crimes. George W. Bush is that traitor. He lied to the United Nations, lied to Congress and lied to the American public in order to start a war that would benefit not the American people, nor the Iraqi people, but the Halliburton corporation, a handful of defense contractors and the people who profit from the trade of oil.
The American soldiers in Iraq at this moment aren't spreading democracy, they're sowing the seeds of future terrorism. Every young Iraqi who grows up with an American tank at the end of his street or American soldiers knocking down his door is a potential new terrorist. Saddam Hussein may not have had the means or the plans to attack America, but after years of American occupation, one of those children one day might. The Iraqi who launches a rocket-propelled grenade at a passing American convoy is no threat to my freedom. He's not coming to America to get me to swear a loyalty oath at gunpoint. According to the proud supporters of Bush, America and all that is good, that's the job of the United States Marines.