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Air America: The Playbook: What a Bunch of Left-Wing Media Types Have to Say about a World Gone Right Excerpt from Air America: The Playbook: What a Bunch of Left-Wing Media Types Have to Say about a World Gone Right

by David Bender, Chuck D, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, Thom Hartmann, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Rachel Maddow, Mike Malloy, Mike Papantonio, Randi Rhodes, Mark Riley, San Seder, Introduction by Al Franken



Love Your Country When It's Right, Right It When It's Wrong
Randi Rhodes

It's been said that getting Democrats to agree on something is like herding cats. Say, that's hard work. But it's worth it!

Imagine a political party with so many ideas that some of them may actually be good ideas. I know you're saying, "But, Randi, a real foreign policy won't fit on a bumper sticker the way 'Bring 'em on' does." But remember, with Bush, all you get is the bumper sticker. We Democrats get to fight ourselves and Osama bin Laden! But wait there's more . . . you also get health care, world class education, renewable fuels, and your civil rights back! You may even get to vote! "Democrats can COUNT" makes a nice bumper sticker.

Coming up with real solutions for America requires knowing the actual damage we've suffered. We don't have that assessment yet because the most secretive administration in American history hasn't come clean about the really sad state of our union. We don't know what damage has really been done to our military, our treasury, our civil liberties, or our economy. Al Gore had to make a movie about global warming after the Bush administration changed NASA's findings on global warming to exclude GLOBAL WARMING! And that's just the tip of the melting iceberg!

Democrats have no subpoena power currently, so there is no way to know what Bush and company have done to us. Democrats can't agree on solutions to problems we don't yet know we have. We do know that once we uncover the actual damage that has been done to our military, our treasury, our environment, our free press, our civil liberties, and the Gulf Coast, there will be a reckoning, and someone will have to break the bad news to us. That job will fall to a Democrat. It will require openness and candor, and some Americans will attack him or her, but it will also mark a brand-new era of openness and prosperity for all Americans.

Liberals have been smeared as America haters. We don't hate America. We hate the lunatics who have taken it over. "Liberal" has been made a dirty word by conservatives precisely because liberal ideas work for ALL Americans. Liberalism unifies the country and creates peace and prosperity. And exactly for these reasons, conservatives have worked hard to make the word liberal an insult. Conservatives are not interested in creating a peace dividend. They are interested in war profiteering.

Conservatives fear open government, equality, a free press. Most especially, they fear and loathe participation in government by the country's own citizens. They like to steal and cheat in private without all the questions. Citizens should be seen and not heard! Secrecy is how they get away with enriching themselves at everyone else's expense. Who profits from war, tax cuts in a time of war, and a divided America? Not you. It's always easier to steal when no one is looking! Ask Halliburton, Bechtel, big oil and gas, OPEC, United Defense, Raytheon, Custer Battles, or whoever got the missing $9 billion in Iraq. Ask Dick Cheney. He'll tell you to go f**k yourself. Ask Rummy. You won't get an answer but your phone might get tapped, and I guarantee you will be smeared by Fox News. I have been called a traitor, an America hater, Osama bin Randi, Randi Hussein, and my personal favorite, Tokyo Rhodes, all because I had the nerve to ask questions and propose solutions that didn't involve defense contractors.

To help avoid questions that might, goodness gracious, lead to answers, conservatives create diversions. Like questioning Americans' patriotism by pointing to a burning flag or screaming when the flag is photographed draped over a real patriot's coffin. Remember, you are never to ask who is in the coffin or why.

And, of course, there are the gays. Gay Americans are the new black Americans. They are deviant and unnatural (as if being born gay or black is not part of nature). But don't forget that just because conservatives are currently concentrating on gayness, black folks are still to be feared! Black folks are better off living in a baseball stadium than they are in their own homes. They are simply animals in a corral, and this is a good result. Just ask the president's mother. Brown people should be assigned to corporations in order to remain in America. They are to work for less than the minimum wage, enrich the corporation, and get in the back of the line.

Everyone is diminished by this administration. And that's the intended goal! In fact, this administration has an entire catalog of tactics to make you feel weak and helpless. Their favorites are questioning your patriotism, homophobia, racism, and of course the best tactic of all . . . selling the TERROR. The only thing they have to sell is FEAR itself.

There has never been a discussion in America about what to do if we are attacked again, just as there was no plan on 9/11, when we were attacked. Nothing has changed. There is no plan for you or your city -- ask New Orleans or Gulfport, Mississippi -- there are just warnings and color codes.

Issuing color-coded terror alerts is not what I call leadership. Unless your intention is to lead America into a state of perpetual fear!

This administration has learned that in America, apparently color has an impact on the state of people's mind. They like yellow and orange and, of course, RED. Ask yourself if you believe that America will ever be blue or green? Green and blue are bad colors. Yes, color is a big thing in Bush World. Black, brown, blue, and green: bad. White, yellow, orange, and red: good.

There are no black or brown Republicans in the Senate or House of "Representatives." States must remain RED, and you must remain yellow.

So now that conservatives have you convinced that your children live in a dangerously yellow or orange world and you are not safe at night, at work, or living next to black, brown, or other people of the rainbow and that living near the beach is certain death, you must be ready to accept that the only thing that can save you is God himself.

Religion is the twenty-first-century Bush Preparedness Plan for the Homeland. Some Americans are living their lives waiting and hoping to die in the Rapture. Some Americans think death is better than life. Thanks to conservative Republicans, we have become a culture of death! We cause it and pray for our own. We used to think people like that were members of Hale Bopp or Jim Jones' Kool-Aid drinkers. But now a good slice of America is ready to die!

If you think death is better than life, George W. Bush is your president. If you think that you can live a life of greed, gluttony, and violence but as long as you "accept" the Lord, you will go to Heaven, he is your president. If you are ready for the Rapture, he is your president. Of course, if this is what you want, you could join al Qaeda instead. They want the same thing you do. However, this is wholly un-American. And that's why you CAN'T be a patriot and support this president. Instead you must realize that Americans who think Bush is going to bring the Rapture and are ready to go are loyalists!

In America our government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. Meaning? They have to ASK US what they can do -- not the other way around! Patriotism means pushing back against a criminal government that uses a climate of fear to spread a culture of death and torture around the globe.

In the twisted right-wing interpretation of our constitutional republic, citizens, constituencies, organized labor, and religions that are more hopeful than charismatic Christianity are mythical "little guys" to be attacked, diminished, and kept living in fear. They are not you or your neighbors. They are disloyal, godless elitists who must be marginalized.

The same exact things were said about the Loyalists v. Patriots in the Revolutionary War. Had we lost, we would have been hanged as traitors to the king. But we didn't lose. We WON, damn it! We are a free people who won the right to love our country when it is right and to right our country when it is wrong. We are free to believe in one God or ten, to own property, to think, and to remove a president and an administration that does not follow the law.

During the fascist regimes of Hitler and Mussolini, good people were made to believe that fascism was superior to democracy. They were loyalists and did nothing when their democracies were taken away one freedom at a time. We like to say it can't happen here, but it certainly can. Think of our democracy as a teenager. Young enough to screw up, but old enough to be responsible for it. The State needs PARENTING.

Just as being a parent is a difficult job, so is being a liberal. So call me a liberal. I wear the label as a badge of honor. I am governed the way I choose to be governed. I am the parent. The government is the teenager!

What we have now is a party that acts as if it's the only adult in the room, and it is asking Americans for something they should never give: Blind obedience (along with a crisp salute). That's exactly backward. But I do think that is why some people find it a "welcoming party." Join them and there's nothing more to do but send in your money! They'll do the rest. Lazy people are often conservative people. They like being led. They themselves do not lead.

Following along with an authoritarian government is a guaranteed way to lose our democracy. In a democracy, every citizen needs to be ready to put up a fight, just like the Patriots of the American Revolution. You have to want it BAD! You have to be informed and ready to volunteer for your country. Showing up for your country means staying informed. Just like showing up for your kids! You have to know their secrets and what they're up to every minute or you're being a lousy parent.

Patriotism also means participating in the life of the country. You can always find a place that needs you. Think about working for a candidate, canvassing neighborhoods, working a phone bank to get out the vote, being a poll watcher or worker during election seasons. In nonelection seasons, identify problems, organize around them, write letters to representatives and senators, and if they don't respond, identify new representation. Become that representative! There is nothing more patriotic than running for office. Run for school board, city council, state or federal legislature. Volunteer for something. Anything that appeals to you. Start a young Democrats club, be a mentor, be a Big Sister or Big Brother, be a voice for something that you care about: clean water, legal aid, literacy, health care for all. Start a peace club and police recruiters at your mall or in your schools. Give money or time to Habitat for Humanity and help rebuild the Gulf Coast. Choose something and do something even if it's just registering to vote and showing up informed on Election Day. Informed people vote Democratic. Ill-informed people vote against their own best interests over and over again because they don't know any better.

Conservative followers force themselves to believe that all of their leaders do the right thing when no one is looking. Liberals don't. Liberals believe in oversight, questioning, using any legal means to get to the facts: subpoenas, hearings, courts if necessary. Every man who knows the truth should be compelled to tell it. Every man who covers up the truth should be willing to trade his liberty for jail. These are the choices in a democracy. It's pretty black and white, but it's as hard as herding cats!

Reprinted from: Air America: The Playbook -- What a Bunch of Left-Wing Media Types Have to Say about a World Gone Right by David Bender, Chuck D, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, Thom Hartmann, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Rachel Maddow, Mike Malloy, Mike Papantonio, Randi Rhodes, Mark Riley, Sam Seder, Introduction by Al Franken 2006 Air America Radio. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling at (800) 848-4735.