Friday, April 27, 2007

Time to ask Americans to be patriotic about something besides war

Sure he might have supported the war in 2002, and he might have paid $400 for a haircut, and he might have already lost a primary and a general election, but John Edwards delivered my favorite quote of the night last night at the Democratic debates.

He said that the President has to ask Americans to be patriotic about something besides war.

I think this was in reference to cutting our pollution or emmissions or something, but it doesn't really matter. The point is that Bush has turned patriotism into an issue about Iraq and the troops, when we as a nation are capable of doing so many different things (not to detract from the troops or the war, but just to say there are other ways in which America can do things), and we need to embrace and be patriotic about those other things too. Part of the problem is that our President has been pretty lacking in inspiration or rallying us around any causes except for supporting his policies, of which there are very, very few.

Edwards is right, the next President has to raise patriotism in terms of many different things that we want to accomplish, and we need to be patriotic about our capabilities to pursue different coals and our resolve and commitment to pursue them. Kennedy did it with the space race, we need to do it, I think most urgently, with education. There needs to be a national call to action that considers teachers and principals and guidance counselors, etc, the noblest of all professions. Of course paying them more wouldn't hurt either. The point is that there is no reason why we shouldn't have the best schools, and if we admit that we are capable and that we want them, this goal is within our reach (it's not rocket science or moonwalking after all). Another obvious one is the environment and alternative energy, and another one is America's role as a leader by example, and a country that influences other countries to imitate its policies not because they have been bullied or forced upon them by the US, but by people observing the US doing things that that result in success.

This is very inspirational and I have always found Edwards to be so. I also wouldn't count the guy out just because he had the guts to run in 2004 back when W wasn't doing so badly in the polls and Iraq wasn't such an obvious disaster and other candidates like Biden and Hillary waited on the sidelines for 2008.

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