On this Independence Day holiday weekend, wherever you go you will see our great American flag. The red, white and blue will forever and always remain the most recognizable symbol of our freedoms.
But since 9/11, as the flag flies everywhere, I wonder what it really means to many people.
- If my well-intended but uninformed neighbors think that putting Old Glory out on their lawn on the 4th of July will stave off the threats to our national sovereignty?
- If all those Americans who ran out to buy "United We Stand" decals, bumper stickers and license plates have a clue about the transformation tearing America apart.
- Where the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) gets the cojones —to use a word I know their honchos can understand— to display two American flags flanking its logo on its Internet home page?
- If George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, to name but a few of our most imperial elected officials, think they are fooling anyone with their American flag lapel pins?. They can wear all the pins they can fit onto their blue suits but I'll never buy what they're selling.
After 9/11, on September 21, 2001, I wrote a harsh column in the Lodi News-Sentinel titled "Don't Wave the Flag in My Face; Close the Border." Since my columns didn't start in VDARE.COM until the following week, readers who missed it may read it now.
My column scorned President Bush. In the months leading up to the 9/11 murders, Bush had relentlessly pressed for amnesty and open borders. But suddenly, after the attacks, Bush wrapped himself in the American flag and preached about protecting the nation.
I was also critical of Americans who were suddenly bursting with passion for our country. I took a dim view of the born-again patriots driving around town with flags hanging from their radio antennas.
Re-reading my column eighteen months later, I'm sorry to say there isn't much I would take back.
Bush remains beyond the reach of reason on Mexico –incredibly, Homeland Security Czar Tom Ridge was touting amnesty again last week.
("Tucked away in Tom Ridge's bulging portfolio as the Cabinet secretary charged with securing U.S. territory from future terrorist attacks is the ambitious yet unstated goal of legitimizing illegal immigrants currently in this country." [When Immigration Reform Helps Homeland Security, Marcela Sanchez, washingtonpost.com. July 3, 2003]
And too many Americans are still unaware of the National Question – whether the U.S. can survive as a nation-state, the political expression of a particular people.
Their substitute for political action: wave the flag (and invade far-away countries). But although that makes people feel good, it's not worth much more.
So today, I'm sending my 4th of July good wishes to Americans who are really doing something to save our nation and who know the true meaning of the Stars and Stripes.
- To Peter Brimelow, to my colleagues in the VDARE Editorial Collective, and to all the VDARE contributors: Happy July 4th. You write the unvarnished truth and have the guts to take the hits for it. I learned from each of your columns and consider it a privilege to write for VDARE.COM
- To all the Directors of the national immigration reform movements and their loyal staffers: take the 4th of July off and put your feet up. Believe me, readers, these dedicated Americans—I'm not naming names lest I forget someone - work 75 hours a week fighting to make the United States a better place for you and me. And if they are not physically at work behind their desks, they're thinking, planning, and plotting ways to win this toughest but most important of battles.
- To the members of the grassroots immigration reform groups, congratulations on your tireless—and for the most part voluntary—efforts to restore American greatness. What a challenge you have assumed—to take on federal, state and local government, the mainstream media, the church, the politically correct, and the subversive pro-open borders lobbyists. But I know nothing dissuades you. And I can tell from the time stamped on your e-mails to me that you're at it all hours of the day, seven days a week.
- To the thousands of concerned and caring citizens—the veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq as well as nurses, doctors, dentists, teachers, the employed and unemployed, the young and the old and Americans of all hues and religions who have e-mailed me over the past year, I hope your 4th of July is a most fulfilling one. I am especially grateful to you for providing me with the incentive to sit down each week and share my stories. Your encouragement is an enormous help.
Thank you all for reading and supporting VDARE.COM. May you and your families have a safe and happy Independence Day holiday.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.