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On Patriotism

Us-flag I was one of the thousands of people who made it into the Grant Park celebration on Election Night. It was amazing, of course. One of the best days of my life, flat-out.

One of the most touching moments for me, a moment when I thought the top of my head might float away as butterflies flew out of my brain, was during one of the commercial breaks after Obama was named the winner and before he came out to talk to us.

There were music interludes ("(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" was a highlight), and mike checks ("check, check, final sound check for the next President of the United States"). There was the Benediction and the National Anthem. I felt so happy, and so did everyone else.

But then the announcer came on and said, "Ladies and gentleman, please join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance." And we all just stood there, facing giant flags on the stage, hands over our hearts, and spoke in flat unison:

I pledge allegiance,
to the flag,
of the United States of America.
And to the republic,
for which it stands,
one nation,
under God,
with liberty and justice for all.

And eight years of frustration were over. Of George Bush and his asshole friends owning patriotism. Of losing elections. Of listening to piece of shit commentators talk about tangential figures while trying to sink our man.

And this was our President, and we won this election, and now he was in charge of the executive branch of the nation's government. And we were patriotic Americans who loved our country.

This week that all came back to me. An Al-Qaida double-agenta blogger who wrote often for Web sites where people get really excited about killing Americans – killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan. This was a forward operations base full of high-level people. It was a major tactical victory for enemies of this nation. Whatever you think about the CIA or the war in Afghanistan, it's pretty non-controversial to say that it's better if Americans aren't killed by terrorist assholes.

So at times like this I wonder if I should stop everything I'm doing and turn my time & efforts to activities that will directly lead to the death of people who want to kill us. It really makes me wonder about my priorities and appreciate the people who are paid to look out for us. They make mistakes, and have a pretty long history of dastardly, wacky shit, but I appreciate them today, right now, in this moment.

So while I ponder my future possible anti-terrorism activities, I want to give my fondest wishes to the workers of the Central Intelligence Agency and their boss, President Barack Obama. I hope that they recover from their mistakes, find everyone who helped plan this attack, and kill all of them. I think that would be awesome.



Nicely said.

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Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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