Flag Waving: Which One?

There has been so much controversy surrounding the topic of the Confederate Flag, I’m beginning to wonder if the American people have too much time on their hands. Sure, Howard Dean made a little mistake by commenting that he wants “to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks,” but it does not imply he is a racist.
I can’t help but feel sorry for the former Vermont governor. In essence, he was expressing his respect for people’s differences, as well as his desire to include everyone under the democratic tent. It represents little more than one in a series of attempts his fellow democratic candidates for president have made to try to derail the campaign of the current frontrunner.

Instead of wasting time listening to criticisms of democratic candidates a full year before the next presidential election, the American people need to consider the destructive policies of the current administration. George W. Bush has led the nation using a policy of selfishness, employing vagaries and doublespeak in a manner that has led one journal (Slate.com) to ask the question straightaway: is Bush a liar or a moron? Does he mean what he says? Does he understand what his words imply? Can waging war really equivocate “spreading freedom?”

The latest attack on Dean’s credibility has involved the manner in which he avoided combat duty in Vietnam. While opponents have spun the matter into a wild version focusing on Dean’s ski trips in the 1960s, the reality is that upon being drafted and medically examined, he was found to have a potentially serious back ailment that significantly reduced his worth in the eyes of the US Army. He was left behind because his status became that of an ‘emergency combatant,’ held in reserve. The fact that he went skiing despite this is beside the point.

The current Commander-in-Chief never saw combat either. Bush became a member of the National Guard because of his family ties, and was lax in his duties therein. Now his administration is waging wars real and imagined, on the world stage and in the court of public opinion.

Look at the war in Iraq, for example. For clearly fudged reasons, the US instituted ‘regime change’ and occupation, and now finds itself in a complete mess. Were they really interested in protecting civilians? Was it about oil? Fat rebuilding contracts? Whatever happened to Afghanistan?

And, where does it end? I’m not even an American citizen and I ask myself this question all the time. In light of these issues, why should Americans bother asking ‘is Howard Dean a racist?’ The people of the United States have suffered enough from racial profiling and ethnic mistrust in the wake of 9/11. Dean has already explained that his intention was not to praise the Confederate flag, but to appeal to Southerners because “their kids don’t have health insurance either, and their kids need better schools too.”

The bigger concern should be replacing Bush. Billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros has committed upwards of $15 million toward electing anyone but Bush. He considers the matter, literally, one of “life and death.” His sentiments echo a growing feeling that anyone would be better than the current president of the US. Maybe they shouldn’t nit-pick.