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With Liberty & Justice for All: My dude ranch experience in Montana

America really is one freaking large country. Just driving across Montana has completely worn me out. Plus they’ve got lots of cowboys and Indians in Montana. And buffalo too. I met an Indian in Glacier National Park the other day and asked him what he preferred to be called. “Probably Native American would be best,” he replied.

“How about ‘First American’ instead?”

“Works for me.”

Then I went off to this dude ranch near Kalispell and the dude in charge there made me recite the Pledge of Allegiance before I was allowed to eat my dinner. Sure, why not. Actually, I just LOVE America’s wonderful Pledge of Allegiance — especially the part that says, “With liberty and justice for all”. Liberty and justice for everyone! Yay. Liberty and justice for all First Americans — and liberty and justice for everyone else who has come here ever since. Liberty and justice for all of us.

“Liberty and Justice for all”. Now is that such a hard concept to grasp?

And if you’re still having trouble grasping the concept, check out this article on the subject from Forbes Magazine:

It also seems to me that the more people here in America claim to be flag-waving patriots and the more that they try to shove the Pledge of Allegiance down our throats — the more likely these very same people, in direct inverse ratio to their proclaimed patriotism, will deliberately ignore the part of the Pledge that says, “With liberty and justice for all”. But guess what, guys. You can’t have it both ways.

And then I crossed the border over into Canada. Apparently some newspaper in Canada recently took a big survey regarding who Canadians themselves would pick as the most wonderful Canadian of all. And guess who Canadians picked hands-down by a huge margin? Tommy Douglas. “Tommy who?” you might ask. Do Americans even know who Tommy Douglas even is? Heck, do Americans even know who Canada’s current prime minister even is?

I myself thought for sure that Canadians would pick Wayne Gretzky to be Number One — but apparently not.

Anyway, Tommy Douglas was the man who was single-handedly responsible for creating Canada’s national single-payer healthcare system. See? Travel broadens.

And travel broadens literally too, of course, because Canada’s Thanksgiving is celebrated a whole month earlier than America’s Thanksgiving due to the fact that Canada’s growing season is shorter than ours and their harvests come in earlier than ours — and, as a result, I get to celebrate TWO Thanksgivings this year. And eat two pumpkin pies.

My next stop is Banff National Park.

PS: As I was sitting in a honky-tonk dive bar on Montana/Alberta border that was trying desperately to pass itself off as a duty-free shop, and eating a Magnum bar and listening to Willie Nelson, a thought suddenly occurred to me.

“What if, during the Reagan administration, our Ronnie had actually decided to be a true patriot instead of the sell-out he was, and he had stood up to Big Business and said, ‘For every job that gets outsourced to some third-world country for cheap labor, America should impose a tariff on the resultant returning products equal to the difference in the amount of wages paid to their guys instead of to our guys?'”

That would have been a brilliant thing for Reagan to do — or for Nixon, both Bushes or Clinton to do. Or even All Gore for that matter (if his election hadn’t been stolen by corporatists, the unholy one percent). And not only that, but imposing these tariffs would have been totally and completely patriotic.

But it’s still not too late. Obama could still do it. “Liberty and Justice for All,” Obama! Liberty and justice for the people who voted for you. Yeah right.

PPS: Every time the INS and the state of Arizona hassles an undocumented American, it also violates our Pledge of Allegiance. Isn’t it illegal to violate the Pledge? Is the Pledge of Allegiance actually a law? Can undocumented Americans actually take the INS and Arizona to court for violating the Pledge?

And when Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance back in 1954, exactly what was their intent? That Americans should obey God’s “Thou shalt not Kill” clause? Or how about obeying the part that says “Thou shalt not Steal”? And did Congress intend that, like Jesus, we should throw moneychangers out of the temple?

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Jane Stillwater

Jane Stillwater

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