|Patriotism and Populism
The United States is in trouble. We’re in danger of becoming a fascist dictatorship where big government and big business combine to rule, and where the people are considered just a source of labor. The marriage of government and the investor class has succeeded in exporting our jobs, importing illegal laborers to provide a pool of cheap labor, and driving down wages for all American workers, destroying the middle class. Their foreign and military policies have led us into unnecessary wars of aggression to gain raw materials and enhance profits of the global robber barons. Their trade policies have resulted in capital flight, job loss, trade deficits, and the ownership of much of our infrastructure by foreign interests.
We’ve gotten into this fix because our presidents, of both parties, have been servants of the global investors, and because our representatives in Congress, again of both parties, have abdicated their Constitutional responsibilities and subjected themselves to an imperial presidency.
A “patriot” is defined as one who loves, supports, and defends his country. The Latin and Greek roots refer to “father.” If, for a moment, we ignore the sexist nature of the ancient civilizations giving birth to the word, it is clear that to be a “patriot” is to have a parental love for the people of one’s tribe or nation. One cannot have a “patriotic love” for the corporations in one’s country or for its military-industrial complex, only for its people. Clearly then, those in our government who have served their corporate masters to the detriment of the people are not patriots, and have no claim to the word. The vast majority of Americans love our country in ways that equate to service to the people. We are the patriots. You can’t be a patriot without being a populist. Populism is patriotic.
Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution make it clear that the whole purpose of government is to serve and protect the people.. Ours is a government designed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We, the Patriots, have a right and a duty to demand and to secure such a government. If those in power will not fulfill their Constitutional duty to serve the people, then we must remove them and replace them with those who will.
We, the People of the United States of America, deserve better than we have been getting. We must demand a government which (1) follows the Constitution, (2) honors the truth, and (3) serves the people. We Patriots can bring about such a government by electing Patriots to Congress and recruiting Patriots already in government to our cause. It is always tempting to start yet another political party, but our system makes such a course futile. Until we have instant runoff voting (IRV), proportional representation, real campaign finance reform, re-regulation of the media, and debates involving all political parties, no third party can win the presidency or more than a handful of seats in Congress.
Accordingly, “The Patriots” is not a political party, but a nonpartisan organization of patriotic Americans seeking to return our country to Constitutional government based on truth and in service of the people. We started in 1982 as the non-profit Institute for Space and Security Studies, a 501c(3) organization. In 2007 we officially changed our name to “The Patriots.” Our immediate mission is to educate the American people on the issues. In the future, we may form a “Patriot PAC” to support candidates for public office and to promote specific legislation. We also intend to form a Patriot Caucus including members of Congress from all political parties. However, for now we are concentrating on public education, and on encouraging loyal citizens in every Congressional district to run for Congress against bought-and-paid-for incumbents of whatever party.
Conservative or Liberal?
The first question usually raised is, “Is this organization conservative or liberal?” The answer to that question is, “Yes.” We have both conservative and liberal members, and both conservative and liberal ideas. But mostly, we are just patriotic Americans embodying the best of both conservatism and liberalism in the service of the American people.
You see, neither the Progressive Populists nor the Conservative Populists are strong enough to take back the country for the people. Only if we put our differences aside and work together can we succeed. We the People have been artificially divided for far too long. We have been divided into left and right, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican. The billionaire masters who own both political parties keep us divided and fighting each other, rather than coming together to oppose them. They use hot-button social issues to divide us and to give us the illusion that we have a choice between two very different parties.
They tell the parties, “You be for abortion, and you be against it. You be for gun control, and you be against it. You be for gay rights, and you be against it. You be for school prayer, and you be against it.” What all those issues have in common is that the billionaires couldn’t care less how it comes out. Those issues do not affect their bottom line. But when it comes to issues that DO matter to them, like going to war to secure a gas pipeline or signing a trade deal to drive down wages and drive up profits, they make sure that the Democrats and Republicans are identical. We progressives have to remember that it was President Bill Clinton who carried out the rape of Yugoslavia and gave us NAFTA. It was Al Gore, the darling of environmentalists, who was the hatchet man for the Clinton administration, ramming NAFTA down the throats of a reluctant Congress.
That’s why in 2000 I ran for President as an independent, securing the nominations of the Peace and Freedom Party, and also the Reform Party until Pat Buchanan had a judge throw out our National Convention in Las Vegas on a technicality, giving Buchanan the nomination and the twelve and a half million dollars in federal funding that came with it. I then threw my support to Ralph Nader. I just didn’t see a dime’s worth of difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush. (We must remember that Gore proposed a bigger defense budget than Bush, and Bush ran against “nation-building” and foreign entanglements. Who could have known that Bush would turn out to be the worst president in our history. If I had it to do over, I would support Gore, with all his faults.)
One thing I learned from that 2000 campaign was that conservatives are not the enemy. At one campaign event in rural Georgia, everyone there was a Conservative Republican. By the end of the evening, I had them agreeing with most of my positions, including support for a Single-Payer National Health Program. True conservatives, like liberals, love their country but fear their government, and with good reason. Both of us have been ignored, manipulated, alienated, marginalized, and mistreated by what I call the “radical center,” which is the corporate-dominated status quo.
Real conservatives, like the late Senator Bob Taft of Ohio, stood for three things: (1) fiscal responsibility, (2) avoidance of foreign military entanglements, and (3) protection of the Constitutional rights of individual Americans. As a radical liberal and a Socialist, I find nothing wrong with any of those three core beliefs of Conservatism. Ironically, George W. Bush turned out to be the LEAST conservative president in our history, doing more to destroy all three of these than all previous presidents combined. Is inheriting a surplus and running up the biggest deficits in our history “fiscal responsibility”? Are the corporate wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq “avoidance of foreign military entanglements”? Are the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act “protection of the Constitutional rights of individual Americans”? Hardly! So if he wasn’t “conservative,” was George W. Bush a “liberal”? Of course not. He was a tool of fascists who called themselves “neoconservatives.”
You see, there is nothing mutually exclusive about true liberalism and true conservatism. One can be both. Or, of course, like George W. Bush, one can be neither. Liberals are often caricatured as being immoral, Godless, welfare queens who follow the rule “If it feels good, do it.” Are there a few like that? Sure. But most of us are highly moral, spiritual, hard-working folks who believe that society should be organized like that of the early Christians, and whose rule is the Sermon on the Mount. Similarly, Conservatives are caricatured as greedy, selfish, heartless, and self-righteous racists whose rule is “I’ve got mine, you go get yours.” Are there a few like that? Of course. But the vast majority of conservatives are warm, generous, loving folks who want to preserve the values and heritage of their ancestors, and who don’t have a racist bone in their body.
There is nothing “conservative” about racism. When the Republicans ended slavery after the Civil War, all the racists became Democrats. Then when the Democrats passed the Civil Rights legislation and integrated schools, all the racists became Republicans. Racism has nothing to do with political philosophy. It’s an unfortunate result of slavery and its aftermath, and will disappear eventually except in those few individuals who desperately need someone to feel superior to.
What Can We Agree On?
I would like now to propose specific political positions which I believe could appeal to both conservatives and liberals. Few will agree with all of the following positions, but all Patriots ascribe to the basic devotion to Constitution, truth, and service to the people. That is what is important. The specific policy positions below are mine alone. I see them as a good basis for further discussion. They are all anathema to those currently in power.
We Patriots are “conservative” inasmuch as we are devoted to the Constitution, to individual rights, and to fiscal responsibility. We recognize the value of limited government. Yet we also recognize that government must be strong enough to protect us from the power of multinational corporations and their cartels.
As conservatives and as liberals, we oppose NAFTA, the WTO, and the SPP/NAU as being contrary to our sovereignty, antidemocratic, and against the interests of the American people. We support the 2nd Amendment right of the people to bear arms in order to deter and, if necessary, resist tyranny, while supporting reasonable gun control to reduce the level of violence in society. Working out the balance between these two will be one of the jobs to be tackled once we have taken back our country. The conservatives among us tend to oppose illegal immigration and “amnesty” as means by which the corporate elite exploit immigrants and depress the wages of all working Americans. We liberals believe that immigration policy must be compassionate, respecting the dignity of undocumented workers, supporting the unity of their families, and providing a path toward citizenship for those who work, pay taxes, learn English, and obey the law once here. We recognize that the ultimate solution to the immigration problem is to raise living standards in Mexico and the developing world and to protect Mexican family farmers from the devastating effects of NAFTA. All of us oppose the intrusion of government in our religious and private lives. We oppose our nation becoming entangled in foreign military ventures not essential to our national security.
As conservatives and liberals, we define “national security” narrowly, meaning the protection of our nation, our borders, and our people – and excluding the financial “interests” of multinational corporations and global investors. This is not isolationism, for we support international law and the creation of international institutions which serve the needs of humankind by promoting cooperation on global issues such as disease, pollution, and warfare which do not respect national boundaries. We want the United States to be a responsible, respected member of the family of nations. But we will not seek imperial expansion through aggressive wars to make client states. Nor will we surrender our sovereignty to “trade organizations” like the WTO seeking to turn us into a third world country.
Some of the conservatives among us oppose the United Nations as part of the “New World Order.” Most of us, however, recognize that the UN is not part of the problem. The New World Order we oppose is composed of corporate entities like the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank (WB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The UN’s main problem is its undemocratic nature, since it does not represent people, only governments. Its other problem is its weakness, lacking proper enforcement mechanisms for keeping the peace. This latter problem can be seen as a strength, since we wouldn’t want a strong UN that was undemocratic. Still, the UN has been a useful forum for discussing, and in many cases solving, international problems. It should, if possible, be improved, not discarded. My guess is that the UN will not become more democratic until the governments of the world (including our own) become more democratic and more populist (responsive to the people).
As conservatives and liberals, we support our military, including our veterans who have served and survived. We insist that our government fully fund the VA and fulfill its responsibility to care for our veterans and their families. We also are determined that our government honor promises made to veterans and our retired military members. To make thousands of disabled veterans in corporate wars and then refuse to take care of them is unacceptable, unconscionable, and un-American. We believe that history has shown that combat veterans govern better than draft dodgers and chicken hawks. Those who have experienced the horrors of combat are less likely to send our sons and daughters off to fight wars for the oil companies. We also believe that the only Constitutional mission for our military is to protect our borders and our people, not the global financial interests of multinational corporations. Eliminating the latter as a military mission will allow us to greatly enhance our national security and at the same time reduce the defense budget by 80%. That is a step toward real fiscal responsibility.
As conservatives and liberals, we will not tolerate “borrow and spend” government, which saddles our grandchildren with trillions in debt and gives China the ability to bankrupt us at will. We acknowledge that economic crises require deficit spending, but once the crisis has passed, we demand a return to balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility.
As conservatives and liberals, Patriots oppose a closed, manipulative, and secretive government, and demand the truth from our elected officials. We will not tolerate “Gulf of Tonkin” incidents as excuses for war. We reject the deceptions which involved us in the first Gulf War under George H. W. Bush and in the rape of Yugoslavia under Clinton. We abhor the lies about WMD, “yellow cake,” and “mushroom clouds over New York” which got us into the 2nd Iraq War and its interminable and disastrous occupation. We do not believe the lies about 9/11 which led to the invasion of Afghanistan and the phony “War on Terror.” We applaud President Obama for recognizing the wrongness of the attack on Iraq, but we plead with him to rethink his characterization of Afghanistan as a “war of necessity” that needs escalating.
As conservatives and liberals, we call for a “Sunshine Law” which will make conspiratorial meetings like that between Dick Cheney and Ken Lay on energy policy impossible (or at least illegal). We reject as totally inadequate the Kean-Hamilton-Zelikow 9/11 Commission Report which admittedly contains perjured testimony, refrains from assigning responsibility and accountability for our defense’s failures, and fails to even address dozens of unanswered questions and obvious flaws in the Bush Administration’s official story. We therefore demand a new and truly independent investigation of 9/11. We demand an investigation of the cover-up which followed 9/11 involving the confiscation and destruction of evidence, lying to investigators, and obstruction of justice. Finally, we demand an investigation of the exploitation of the 9/11 tragedy to launch unnecessary wars against Afghanistan and Iraq under false pretenses. One of the enormous benefits of the 9/11 Truth movement is that it blankets the entire political spectrum and has united conservatives and liberals in a joint effort.
As conservatives and liberals, we reject the misnamed Patriot Act, warrantless wiretaps, the loss of “habeas corpus,” The Military Commissions Act, Presidential Directive 51, and all other attacks on our God-given freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. We will not tolerate infringement of our first amendment rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and redress of grievances. We agree with Teddy Roosevelt and others who insist that dissent is often the height of patriotism, and we will not stand for dissenters being interned as “enemy combatants.”
As conservatives and liberals, we Patriots insist that our government fulfill its Constitutional responsibility to provide for the general welfare. We agree that this must, for example, mean providing health care, including prescription drugs, for all Americans. The only fiscally responsible way to do that is to eliminate the overhead, profit, red tape, obstructionism, and interference between doctor and patient of the insurance companies by removing them from health care altogether with a Single-Payer National Health system.
As conservatives and liberals, we take seriously our responsibility to conserve the environment, our natural resources, and the beauty of our land, so that we may pass these on to our grandchildren and their grandchildren for generations to come. We acknowledge our role as stewards of God’s creation, and will not tolerate a government which puts creation at risk or allows corporate interests to do so. As fiscal conservatives, we insist that polluters clean up their own messes instead of forcing the taxpayers to bail them out. Destructive activities such as strip mining, clear-cut logging, and the burning of fossil fuels should be taxed sufficiently to provide the funds needed for repair and amelioration. There is no industrial free lunch, and there should be no corporate welfare.
As Constitutional conservatives, we demand that the democratic underpinnings of our Republic be respected. Free elections under the “one person, one vote” principle and in which every person has an opportunity to vote and to have their vote counted are essential. We therefore declare any method of voting which does not produce a paper ballot which can be counted, recounted, and audited as necessary to be unconstitutional. We also call for non-partisan apportionment of Congressional districts, making election day a federal holiday, preference voting, and proportional representation.
We Patriots are also “populist” inasmuch as we declare that government should serve the people – not the big money interests and giant multinationals. We declare that corporations and other fictitious entities are not people and should have none of the rights and privileges thereof under the U.S. Constitution. This means, for example, that corporations have no Constitutional right to buy up politicians through campaign contributions and other favors, nor to buy elections through unlimited “issue ads.”
As conservatives and populists, we declare that the conservative principle of limited government is not so much about government’s size as it is about what government can do. Most of all, it is about whom government should serve. It should serve the people. The present partnership (or marriage) between giant corporations and big government is precisely what Mussolini defined as fascism. We must once and for all dispel the myth that conservative political philosophy favors the rich and big business. It does not. That is fascism. True conservatism honors individual rights and puts people first. We demand a return to such a true conservatism.
As conservatives, we insist on laws being enforced. Employers who entice illegal aliens across the border and exploit them in order to avoid having to pay American workers a decent wage should be fined and jailed. Once the jobs dry up, the undocumented workers will go home. We won’t have to deport them. The best thing we can do for Mexican workers is to repeal NAFTA until such time as the Mexican government gives their workers the same benefits and protections we demand for ours, and raises the standard of living of their people. Then we can have fair trade with them, not corporate globalization which reduces our standard of living to that of the Third World.
As Constitutional populists, we Patriots are open to those of all political parties. We welcome Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Reformers, and independents. We embrace conservatives and liberals who share our values. But we understand that “If it feels good, do it” libertine so-called liberals will probably reject them. Similarly, “I’ve got mine, you go get yours” big-money so-called conservatives won’t like our values either. Personally, I am a Bobby Kennedy Democrat, but I reject Democratic leaders who sell out to big money and corporate interests. I have a loyalty to my party, but have a higher loyalty to my country and its people.
The kind of liberal we embrace is that described by President John F. Kennedy as “someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties – someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad. If that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal,’ then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal’!” As conservatives, we Patriots are concerned about morality. But as liberals, we insist that government concern itself more with morality in the boardroom and the war room than in the bedroom.
As conservatives, we do not sanction a welfare state. Yet at the same time, as liberals we want every member of society to share the benefits of productivity, and we expect workers to receive a fair share of the wealth they create. And we see no conflict between these views. Patriots can be conservative without being selfish and cold-hearted. True family values mean valuing families. As Conservatives, we insist that women not be forced to work outside the home to support themselves and their children. Being a mother is hard work. Doing it well is a benefit to society. Compensating mothers for their contribution to society is not welfare. It is justice. It is beneficial to families and therefore to society. As liberals, however, we recognize that in some families the wife will be the breadwinner and her mate a house-husband. It should be their right to make that choice.
The bottom line is that we cannot be put into a box with an ideological label. We address each issue on the basis of what is best for our nation and the American people. The differences on policy issues between our conservative and liberal members are few. On most issues, we all recognize that the populist position is clear and obvious.
Until now, the globalist big-money elites have divided American Patriots by artificially using hot-button social issues which the federal government has no business getting involved with in the first place. But no longer. It’s time for us to come together to take back our country. Patriots of the left and of the right share a great deal Both love their country but fear their government. Both abhor the domination of America by the World Trade Organization and its multinational masters. Both want to preserve our Constitutional freedoms. Both cherish families. Both want government to serve the people. Sure, the left and right use different language to describe the same thing, and often differ on the means for achieving their common objectives. But there will be time enough to work out those details once we Patriots of all stripes take back our country for our values, our objectives, our Constitution, our heritage, and our fundamental beliefs.
There is a Bible verse which says, “There is no longer male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free …” I would like to adapt that idea to our purpose. “There is no longer Republican nor Democrat, conservative nor liberal, left nor right. There are only we Patriots speaking truth to power and taking back our country for the people.” Let’s get on with it. Patriots, arise and join together. There is work to be done!
“Follow the Constitution, Honor the Truth, Serve the People”