In shocking turnaround, columnist joins GOPSteve Hammer

I didn't think it would happen, but here it is. The election results have turned me into a Republican. I'm afraid that single-party rule will erode America and cause a few of those stars to drop off the American flag.

Sure, my entire life has been spent supporting the Democrats and their efforts to achieve social justice. But since John Kerry lost two weeks ago, I've changed my tune.

I've stopped reading all newspapers and get my news instead from breaking-news e-mails and word-of-mouth. There's no need to watch the news these days; it's not like anything important is happening anywhere in the world. Besides, it's too stressful.

And from what I've heard, the Republicans have a plan to fix everything that's wrong in Washington and the rest of the world. Since they control all three branches of government, surely they won't attempt to blame former President Clinton if anything goes wrong now.

I like the idea of single-party rule, because it goes straight to the heart of the platform of my new party. Opposition is irrelevant; the Democrats got 48 percent of the vote but get 0 percent of the power. That seems fair to me.

Another of the reasons I've abandoned the Democrats and taken up with the Republicans is that President Bush is a man of his word. During the campaign, he pledged again and again to make America a safer place.

Within days after being elected, the first thing he did was fire Attorney General John Ashcroft. That was a move that made both the American people and the Constitution of the United States much, much safer.

But the main reason I now identify with the Republicans is money. I like money. The more I have in my hand, the more I like it. I want money. And there will never be a time for making money like now. The growth industries of the future are in religion, armaments and survival gear. I want in on some of that loot.

OK. This is the point in the column where I admit that all of the preceding comments were intended as satire. I'm not really becoming a Republican. It was what we in the media call a "teaser," something designed to draw you into the story and make you read this far.

Now that I've achieved that, I wish to make some serious points. As I wrote last week, I am proud to have been born an American. I love America with all my heart. I salute the American flag, even when it is used as a symbol of oppression or occupation.

When I was feeling down in the dumps after the election, I had to take some actions to cheer myself up. I spent hours and hours cleaning my notoriously messy apartment. I consulted the words of wise men in other difficult situations.

And I listened, as I always do, to the legendary James Brown. When JB played concerts in 1968, riots usually broke out, especially when he played the song "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)."

In Dallas during the summer of 1968, JB introduced the song this way. "You know, one way of solving a lot of problems that we have got in this country is lettin' a person FEEL that they're important. Feel that they're somebody. And a man can't get hisself together until he know who he is and be proud of WHAT and who he is and where he come from ... Now if a man is not PROUD of who he is and where he come from, HE IS NOT A MAN ...

Pride is an important component of any sustainable productive lifestyle. So one of the things I did to restore my wounded pride after the election was to purchase an Indiana flag and hang it on my wall, opposite my American flag.

I am proud of who I am and where I came from. I am a man. And Indiana is where I came from and where I have chosen to stay.

The Indiana flag is beautiful. It is blue, with a golden torch surrounded by 18 stars and the word "Indiana." There'd be no mistaking this flag for any other state's flag with that word added.

I am so proud of my state and love it so much. But then I got to wondering how the people in the states John Kerry carried feel now. They certainly must be proud of their states, right?

And the Republican Party has, since Reconstruction, been a great supporter of the concept of states' rights. States can do whatever the hell they want to do and the federal government shouldn't be able to say otherwise.

Of course, when President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Arkansas to enforce a desegregation order in 1957, states' rights started to be eroded. President Kennedy also used federal troops on a sovereign state to enforce James Meredith's civil rights in 1962.

Let's just say that, should states' rights once again become a hot topic, what will the blue states do? If they feel oppressed and treated unjustly by the single-party rule in Washington, what could they do?

Already there has been talk of secession, of certain states choosing to leave the United States and become independent nation-states. It happened all over Eastern Europe in the 1990s, so much so that globe-makers couldn't keep up.

That's why my column last week was dedicated to the notion of national unity and reconciliation. I'm afraid that single-party rule will erode America and cause a few of those stars to drop off the American flag.

That's why it is important to maintain national unity. How would Indiana's economy fare without New York and California and Illinois? What would happen to our social fabric if it did?

I'm on vacation next week. That's just a little something for all of us to chew over during our Thanksgiving meal a week from tomorrow. God bless America.


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