“I Want My Country Back”, what they really mean

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By now many of you have seen the many YouTube videos of right wingers and libertarians “protesting” Democratic members of Congress as they attempt to hold town hall meetings or public forums during the August recess to discuss healthcare reform, among other things.

Be sure of a few things, but most importantly be sure that these are not meant to do anything other than raise hell, create a disruption, shut down discourse and steamroll anyone and everyone in the way.

Certainly it is well within the right of every American to voice their opinions, protest, and, yes, even raise hell…especially with their elected officials.  But that isn't really what this is about.

This is about harnessing the frustration and anger of middle class Americans and working folks.  The very same folks who were victimized and injured by the policies of the disgraced, former President Bush.

So why are they so mad? Is it really about health care? Does cap and trade really light their britches on fire?

Somewhat, perhaps, but not really.

I try and refrain from lenghty, Unabomber diatribes, but this is a special case.Lloyd Doggett, Tim Bishop and others have had their meetings highjacked with screaming, taunts, signs, and chants.  Among those outbursts is the now-common refrain, “I want my country back”.

Being from Jasper, Texas, I'm particularly sensitive to folks calling out racism with no real basis in fact, but I feel firmly comfortable in saying that this is far more about race than it is any particular issue or collection of issues.

For 20 of the last 29 years a republican has held the White House.  For a meaningful and substantial portion of that time repulicans held both chambers and the White House simultaneously.  All of the chickens that are coming home to roost now were hatched long, long ago in an administration far, far away.

Our nation's first president of color, Barack Obama, has held office for slighty more than 6 months.  During that time his administration and the Congress has advanced many issues that, in fact, return our nation's focus back to the family, back to the collective future of our nation and away from corporate interests, special interests and industries that harm middle class families.

Watch the videos, look at the crowds. It ain't exactly the great American melting pot.  You see angry, white, middle age, middle class folks who feel like they are losing “their country”.  They don't want to talk about it. They don't want to understand. They want to scream. They want to exercise their anger. They just need the right person to blame all of the problems on.

They don't like having a person of color in the White House. They don't like having the first Hispanic nominated for the SCOTUS.  They don't like immigration, illegal or otherwise.  This isn't even close to being about healthcare or cap and trade. This is all about the anger in the white community finding a focal point and hammering on it.

They won't say it is about race, because it would be wrong to say so. But look at the simple, empirically verifiable facts.  The ONLY person to stand up for middle class families against the tax code, big oil, big coal, HMOs and insurance companies in the last 29 years has been demonized and vilified by the very people who are the direct beneficiaries.

I didn't see this crowd out raising hell and shutting down town hall meetings when the so-called Patriot Act raped Lady Liberty and set a match to the Bill of Rights.  I also didn't see this crowd out chanting “I want my country back” when Bush and Cheney tapped their phones illegally.

So don't piss on my leg and tell me it is raining.  Other than certain acts of God (earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc), we are dealing with the exact same issues that our country has struggled with for the prior 29 years.  The only difference is that someone is paying more than lip service to the issues.

For a very large majority of this crowd, it has nothing to do with the issues and everything to do with the ethnicity of the Commander in Chief. You want honesty from your government? Start by being honest with yourself about your own motivations.

Admit that your Irish, German, English, Italian forefathers were “good” immigration and that Hispanics are “bad” immigration.  Admit that you were wrong to stand aside while Bush/Cheney/Halliburton, Inc. took us, our debt, our economy and our freedoms for a ride.  Admit that you let this happen through your complacency and complicity with a corrupt administration. Admit that this imagined beef about Obama's birth certificate has nothing to do with citizenship and everything to do with, “This can't really be happening” (McCain was born in the Canal Zone in Panama, idiot, where was your protest then). Admit that Al-Qaeda, not the US, knocked down the WTC.

You want “your” country back??? You are getting it back with every bill that passes in DC.  You may not deserve it and you may not have done one thing to get it back, but you are getting it back, every day.

If you mean ANYTHING else, whatsoever, by “I want my country back”…just come out and say it.


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  1. You are very correct
    The demographics of North and West Harris county are changing, but when I ran for TX-10 in 2006, it was apparent to me that there were many residents who only wanted the USA to go back to the way it was before we became multi-ethnic.  As I made the rounds of community fairs, rural County fairs, Veteran's Day ceremonies, and almost any other gathering; it was evident that, among a majority of voters, the Democratic party was completely associated with what many viewed as the decline of America.  There was no room for discussion of issues.  It was all about party labels and it was socially unacceptable for many to even consider voting for a Democrat.  The ensuing three years have seen a changing trend in this area, because most of the growth in Harris County has been to the North and West, and many of these new residents have come from immigration or other, more liberal parts of the USA.  But this has only intensified the hatred of the traditionalists for the changes they see, and blame on the Democrats.  I was in a small business recently and the proprietor, sensing a kindred soul because I was old and white said to me: “Did you know that Obama is going to tax aspirin?”.  I replied: “Where did you hear that nonsense?”  He said: “It's white and works.”  I told him that was a truly stupid thing to say, put down my purchase and walked out of the store.  The only way we are going to change the outcome of votes in this area is by registering and increasing turnout among the new voters, because the old guard votes, and votes a straight Republican ticket.  I looked at the 2008 election results in TX-10 and the vote for McCain was only a little larger than the vote for the Republican incumbent for TX-10.  This was not true for for the Democratic side.  

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