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Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood…

Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels,… (edition 2010)

by Bill Kauffman

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Title:Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America's Political Map
Authors:Bill Kauffman
Info:Chelsea Green Publishing (2010), Edition: 1st Printing June, 2010, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:From Occupy Wall Street

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Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusade to Redraw America's Political Map by Bill Kauffman



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There is only one of him, but he goes.
He returns to the small country he calls home,
his own nation small enough to walk across.
He goes shadowy into the local woods,
and brightly into the local meadows and croplands.
He goes to the care of neighbors,
he goes into the care of neighbors.
He goes to the potluck supper, a dish
from each house for the hunger of every house.
He goes into the quiet of early mornings
of days when he is not going anywhere.
-- Wendell Berry, from "The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch, Secedes from the Union"
I believe that our country is too large for its own good. Great countries ... are a menace to themselves and everyone else. People are not meant to live in such vast, impersonal political communities. -- George F. Kennan, Democracy and the Student Left
I was born, like other men, in a spot of earth which I loved because I had played boy's games there, and fallen in love, and talked with my friends through nights that were nights of the gods. And I feel the riddle. These little gardens where we told our loves. These streets where we brought our dead. Why should they be commonplace? Why should they be absurd? Why should it be grotesque to say that a pilar-box is poetic when for a year I could not see a red pillar-box against the yellow evening in a certain street without being wracked with something of which God keeps the secret, but which is stronger than sorrow or joy? Why should any one be able to raise a laugh by saying "the Cause of Notting Hill?" -- Notting Hill where thousands of immortal spirits blaze with alternate hope and fear. -- G.K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill
To the States, or any one of them, or any city of the States,
Resist much, obey little.
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth every afterward resumes
its liberty.
-- Walt Whitman, "To the States"
To Carlos Narvaez (1959-1997) In the prayerful hope that you knew how much you were loved. Rest peacefully, old buddy.
First words
The American Empire is dead.
Hawaiian statehood is even more inexplicable than Alaskan. At least Alaska is on the same continent as the Lower 48. The Hawaiian islands are almost five thousand miles from my Genesee County. In what way, other than in the profound but, in practice, attenuated sense that "we are all brothers under the skin," are a Hawaiian (of whatever ethnic background) and I countrymen? Why, pray tell, should I have even a whisper of a say in how he lives his life or his government is organized? And vice versa.
Maybe national greatness, planted as it is in soil bloodied by war and paved over by concrete for gargantuan monuments to the almighty state, isn't all it's cracked up to be. Maybe Ernest Callenbach's dream, potted as it may be, is the stuff that humane societies are made of.
Governor Palin -- soon to become a household name when the rootless John McCain selected her as his running mate in the 2008 presidential race -- is heralded as the best-looking politician in America by those who do not know my wife Lucine, supervisor of the Town of Elba, New York.
Young Munoz Marin wanted "Porto Rico to be Porto Rico, not a lame replica of Ohio or Arizona." It is just as likely today that Ohio will become a lame replica of Puerto Rico, for the children of Akron and Ponce snooze through the same federally mandated history lessons and follow the same Fox spoor on TV and learn everything about Lindsay Lohan but nothing about Sherwood Anderson or Pedro Albizu Campos.
Sooner or later, whether in Vermont or Texas or Hawaii or Alaska, a similar vote will be called, but this time it will be for real. Three hundred million people cannot be ruled from a single city. The center, or rather central authority, cannot hold. Something's gotta rive. Smug liberals and chickenhawk conservatives will mock and threaten, bluster and bluff, but scorn stings only if you let it, and remember: The dipshits sneering and jeering at those citizens who actually believe in self-government are the voice of the empire. You gonna take orders from _them_?
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