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Ten Reasons I cannot cheer for my country this 4th of July

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. As a patriot, I greatly enjoy celebrating my country's birthday. My ancestors came to this nation to escape religious persecution, fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, and have been loyal, happy citizens for centuries. This has always been a great source of pride. Unfortunately, for the first time, I am greatly disappointed in my country and I worry for its future.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Perhaps I have been na´ve as a product of youth, or perhaps I haven't been paying attention. Whatever the excuse, I sure am awake now. My nation has accrued a laundry list of sins for which it remains unrepentant. How can I celebrate my country when it does evil as a matter of policy and calls it good?

Here is what's ruining my holiday:

1.    Our government has been accused of funneling weapons and supporting the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico. This cartel and our weapons are responsible for the mass murder of thousands of human beings. Their drugs are destroying lives in America. Meanwhile, we refuse to intercept these shipments, or to control our borders in any meaningful way.

2.    Our government is about to impose onerous healthcare requirements on employers and taxpayers, compelling everyone to pay towards practices which they find morally objectionable. There is no real way to opt out. Instead, there is punishment.

3.    Our government is spying on citizens, allies, and much of the world by using a broad dragnet ostensibly to stop terrorists. The program answers to a secret court and if not for the heroism (misguided or no) of a single individual, we would remain ignorant of all this. Our government hunts this man, instead of taking steps to inform the public of the program, how it operates, and refuses to open discussion on whether or not such a program is consistent with the U.S. Constitution or the will of the people.

4.    Our government is arming rebels in the Free Syrian Army, whose ranks are filled with anti-Christian, anti-western, anti-Israeli jihadists. In other words, we are putting weapons in the hands of people who hate us and are fundamentally opposed to us. We are possibly arming and training the next generation of anti-western terrorists.

5.    A president and congress whose only goal is winning the next election govern us. By playing to win the next election, our government crafts legislation that generates enough votes to win the next election, regardless of Constitutional considerations. They pass new rules and regulations that garner massive campaign donations in the coming cycle. They craft no legislation that is wise because wisdom is no longer a criteria for leadership. It's all about charisma, rhetoric, and money. The job has become all about making a career for oneself rather than serving the public good.

6.    We live in a country where wages have remained stagnant for over a decade, CEO pay is at its highest level in recent history, and businesses make record profits while paying the lowest taxes ever. Many corporations actually have a negative tax rate alongside their record profits. At the same time, no jobs are created, no pay is raised. Benefits are slashed and the poor and elderly are being asked to accept less than they were promised to help subsidize bailouts and tax cuts for the wealthy who contribute the most to political campaigns. Our schools suffer for want of funding and our infrastructure continues to crumble.

7.    Our media is controlled by moneyed interests, and it filters the truth though right and left perspectives, while neither side has any genuine interest in solving problems.

8.    Our college graduates are leaving school saddled tens of thousands of dollars of debt and entering a market without jobs, pay, or benefits.

9.    Our parents and grandparents have reversed mortgaged their homes and their family legacies back to the banks, which are now richer than ever.

10.    Our prison system is a university for criminals who we release early onto the streets, unrepentant and unrehabilitated.

And while all this happens, Paula Deen is exposed as a racist or Kim Kardashian has a baby and the country loses its mind.

My country isn't what I learned it was supposed to be. My country is all about money, power, and corruption. My country is drunk on reality TV, credit cards, and vice on a scale never before seen since the days of ancient Rome. Yes, we have an amazing standard of living. At the same time, our middle class is endangered, our budgets no longer balance, and we continue to fall further behind in every measure.

So how can I cheer when the fireworks go off this 4th of July?

We need new patriots. New heroes. Have you the courage to join me? Or am I the only soul that feels heartbroken and ashamed of his country this holiday?
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AUTHOR'S NOTE: A caveat: The above video was supposed to be edited for language. It does not autoplay for this reason. Discretion is advised. Despite any language, the sentiments are exact.

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