‘No sparklers and mini-flags in the petunia pots’

Here’s an amazing opinion column in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune by Susan Lenfestey: Independence Day? Let’s declare a Unity Day:

I don’t know about you, but this year I didn’t much feel like celebrating America’s independence. Seems like cooperation and collaboration might be more to the point after six go-it-alone years of George W. Bush.

The same old “go-it-alone” song and dance. She can’t mean Iraq, because she knows that the Brits have troops there. She must, because she mockingly noted that Tony Blair was going to announce withdrawal plans back in February in a thought-provoking blog post entitled Hi-ho the derry-o.

Regardless of how she defines “alone”, her proposed solution to the excessive independence in America is quite novel:

Instead of a celebration of independence, maybe we need a celebration of unity. Maybe we need a massive weeklong Impeach Cheney and Take Back America rally in front of the White House, fueled by celebrities, and heavily promoted by the media, who owe us one big time.

Maybe we need Bono and Brad and Angelina there, to focus on the crisis in America and not the crisis in Africa, at least for a few months.

Maybe we need Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton there, to call on Scooter to do his time like a man.

Maybe we need the Dixie Chicks and White Stripes there, and George Clooney and Oprah, and any of the so-called “American Idols” and Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan there, and the younger sports stars and TV stars and rap stars and celebs I’ve never heard of, to put down their cell phones and Mohitos and hie their well-heeled fannies to D.C.

Again with the entertainment celebrities? Is there a problem on Earth that lefties don’t think Hollywood stars and platinum album recording artists cannot solve?

Incidentally, she also touches on a subject that I’ve mentioned a few times previously. It’s the way that political figures, mostly Conservatives and/or Republicans, are the practical embodiment of evil while they’re in office, but if replaced by another Conservative/Republican it’s the new person who’s really bad and the old one becomes more of a harmless idiot than the personification of Satan himself.

Who’d have thought that former Attorney General John Ashcroft — he of the drape over the bare breast of lady justice — would look like Marshall Dillon compared to Alberto Gonzales and his political hit squad?

Reagan went from warmonger and threat to civilization to kooky old guy with a bad memory. The same will go for George W. Bush. Today, Hitler. Tomorrow merely a loony frat boy who didn’t want to grow up. Easy come, easy go.

(via Lileks via Instapundit)


  1. a massive weeklong Impeach Cheney and Take Back America rally in front of the White House’ She may want to look up Dick Cheney’s address before holding her ‘massive’ rally in the wrong place.

  2. I for one am still angry at our founding fathers for unilaterally declaring our independence from Britain. WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A WORLD CONSENSUS!

  3. I have been baffled by the ‘cooperation and collaboration’ (leaving aside how ironic the use of the word ‘collaboration’ may be) crowd. As near as I can tell, the theory is that if we cooperated and collaborated with other powers the war in Iraq would of been unnecessary. If only we used diplomacy and negotiations. To that I ask, from 1991-2003 we used diplomacy and consensus and Iraq was still flouting the world opinion (arguably winning as China, Russia and France were all set to scrap the trade sanctions.) Of course the left will spring back that we did not negotiate long enough and there were no WMD’S. ‘Besides Bush lied’ about the WMD’s – even through every other intelligence agency said they were there, Clinton said they were, the UN inspectors said they were there.. but what the hell Bush lied.( of course there is not one single shred of proof of Bush lying about WMD’s – ie. That the administration KNEW there were no WMD’s but said that they were there anyway.) We have been using diplomacy for how many decades with North Korea? What is it about magic diplomacy that can solve all the worlds ills if we but reach out to our allies? Can the ‘cooperation and collaboration’ point to a major world event that ‘cooperation and collaboration’ actually worked? IMO Diplomacy only works in three occasions – 1) When all parties have a mutual desire to achieve some version of the ultimate goal. For example: The WTO – was created because all the participants wanted some form of ground rules for world trade. 2)When one side is willing to significantly sacrifice its goals in order achieve a particular outcome. For example: Libya gave up its nuclear weapon program because it wanted better trade relations, and it realized that its nuclear program would not provide it with enough of gain, to overcome the negatives. 3) When neither side really cares about the particular outcome. For example: The Kyoto accord. A feel good agreements that really did not cause any real pain, but gave the people involved a healthy glow. My final point with the ‘cooperation and collaboration’ crowd. Lets say for the sake of argument that we did do everything they wanted, but had to go to war anyway. What would or can our allies do? Take the Bosnia / Kosovo events. In both cases we had our ‘allies’ on board. In fact, we let our allies take point – since 1) it was on their doorstep 2) we did not have any real interests involved. They proved to singularly inept and incapable of handling the events. It was not until we took the lead, and backed it up, did the killing stop. … So other then holding our coats, and bitching up a storm, I fail to see how achieving ‘cooperation and collaboration’ is going to make everything better? Side Note: While I believe that we do not NEED our allies, its sure a lot easier with them around. The only problem is, that the allies that are worth a damn – UK, Poland, Canada, Australia for some reason do not count with the ‘cooperation and collaboration’ crowd. PS: The occupation of German, Japan and South Korea – still going after 50+ years. So when do we bring our troops home?

  4. Instead of a celebration of independence, maybe we need a celebration of unity. Maybe we need a massive weeklong Impeach Cheney and Take Back America rally in front of the White House, fueled by celebrities, and heavily promoted by the media, who owe us one big time. The lady is missing the point. Independence Day is all about unity. Our habit is to see our small town’s fireworks from Riverside Park. Several thousand people in the park itself, more up and down the river, in the hospital parking lot … and not one damned word about politics or the issues of the day. They play America the Beautiful. Everyone stands, most of us sing, they shoot off the fireworks and we go home. We’re all Americans and on that we call can agree. That is unity. What Susan is talking about is partisan politics.

  5. Maybe we should change the name to Codependance day in honor of bedwetting liberals everywhere.

  6. Unity day? Sounds like ‘Unification day’ from the Firefly TV series…and the Browncoat (Rebel/Individualist) in me has about the same reaction to it, ‘…I do not hold to that idea.’ Pardon me, but Independence day is here to celebrate our INDEPENDENCE for not only our nation, but for ourselves from a government that saw each of us as merely as slaves to the King’s whim. I won’t comment on how our current govenrment officials seem to be going down the same road that the former governing body did…and how that led to a revolution last time…I think yall get the point

  7. James, What the writer fails to realize is that diplomacy is not diplomacy without coercive power. Which, surely, does not have to mean martial force- there are all sorts of possible ways one state might gain negotiating advantage over another- economic, for example. But diplomatic engagement with an adversarial state ought always consider the martial. Without any kind of leverage over an adversary, there is no diplomacy. There is only talk. In my mind, there is a big difference between the two words, and for that matter, is why there are two different words in the first place.

  8. coolhand77 : I find the Firefly world an interesting political allegory for the USA, actually. I wonder if it’s intentional. On the one hand you have the ‘browncoats’ – independent, much like the cowboy of the Wild West – and they are fighting against what is supposedly a USA/China Alliance. Why are they fighting? Because the Alliance think that they will be better off being absorbed into their mega-conglomerate and ‘civilised’, while the Independents just aren’t interested and want to do their own thing. In my opinion, the true spirit of the USA are the Independents – they are honourable and want to work together to form a better society, but at the same time value individual and collective liberty. The Alliance on the other hand, are so convinced of their superiority that they think it’s foolish to resist becoming part of them. This is echoed at the beginning of Serenity in the dream sequence. However, I think there are a lot of ‘Alliance’ types around too. Now comes the interesting aspect. Was invading Iraq an act of the Alliance, or of the Independents? Many people are convinced it’s some kind of imperialist excursion, all about raiding their resources, or taking control of their people or something. Personally I see it more as the action of a bunch of Browncoats. It’s about removing the yolk of oppression and exploitation, not replacing it. This isn’t a zero-sum game: we will all win if Iraq can become stable and free. But I think this illustrates why people have become so divided over the issue. I must say, I find entertainment which brings up issues and makes you think about them so vastly superior to entertainment which tries to push a point across. There is a real dilemma here – it isn’t at all clear just how independent we should be, and how much power the government should have, to find a good balance between liberty, prosperity and security. Nor is it clear how bad events have to get in some far away country before we’re willing to intervene. I think there has to be SOME limit before someone else’s problem becomes our problem. Just try telling that to the UN though. Are they still twiddling their thumbs over Darfur and Sudan? Anyway, I tend to favour independence and liberty even at the expense of some security. But having said that, partly that’s because I think the best defence is a good offence. That is, we’re much better off capturing terrorists in their training camps and bomb factories than we are building a fort and hoping that they won’t breach the walls. Geeklethal : was it Churchill who said ‘Diplomacy is the art of saying “nice doggy” until you find a large enough rock’?

  9. The allagory was intentional, but it was based more on the post USA Civil War (or War of Northern Agression as we in the south like to call it). Joss Whedon came up with the idea after reading a book on the subject and wrote a ‘Space Western’ based on the ‘Reconstruction’ era. Kinda like ‘Outlaw Jose Wales’ meets ‘Star Wars’ in a way. INdependents wanted to stay independent (CSA broke away from the USA) the Alliance didn’t like it and fought to get them back, even razing some planets in a show of force (Sherman burning the south), and eventually overwhelmed the Independents with superior numbers and technology.