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Big Ocean – Bigger Woman – True Patriot

Fourth of July is the day for lots of symbolism and patriotic gestures – parades, flag waving, fireworks, and the like – but true love of country involves much deeper things. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/declare.htm

Liberty Bell.

Liberty and freedom require active struggle and sacrifice – and not just armed struggle and the endless series of wars that tend to get emphasized during our celebrations. No, struggle of a much more challenging and rewarding kind – struggle for freedom and justice. It was Fredrick Douglas who famously said:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” http://www.democracycellproject.net/blog/archives/2008/02/power_concedes.html

W. E.B. Du Bois – black american scholar, educator, activist, and patriot.

Freedom requires struggle for truth.

Tom Paine – true teller, radical and patriot.

Struggle for courage to speak the truth – the ultimate in patriotism – illustrated by USMC General Smedley Butler’s most famous quote::

General Smedley D. Butler

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
Struggle for the land.
The history and values of this country can not be separated from the land – the natural world that literally is this country and without which this country would never have been formed and could not exist. Our history and culture literally flow from the land, rivers, wildlife, forests, and oceans that sustain us.
A patriot loves the land. From the Jeffersonian yeoman farmer, to the Boston Harbor, to Thoreau’s Walden Pond, to Huck Finn’s Mighty Mississippi, to Teddy Roosevelt’s National Parks, FDR’s Tennessee Valley and CCC, right on down to today’s “tree huggers” – sacrifice and action in preservation of the natural world is deeply american and highly patriotic.
WIth those thoughts in mind – and reflecting the passion and commitment and in the tradition of the above historic patriots I love – Margo Pellegrino is a modern day true patriot.

Who is Margo Pellegrino?
Margo is an awesome woman and patriot.
Last year, to raise awareness of the crisis of our oceans, Margo paddled a kayak from Miami to Maine, a 2,000 mile 11 week saga. Along the way she inspired and educated thousands. Our oceans are dying from the combined effects of pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing. Pollution on the land all drains to the ocean. See: http://www.miami2maine.com/

This year, Margo is paddling up the Jersey coast, across NJ, and down the Delaware River to Washington DC to again raise awareness of the need to take responsibility and act to protect our increasingly threatened precious ocean resources. Along the way, she is holding events to educate concerned citizens and solicit the support of members of Congress to back the “Oceans 21″ legislation.
Margo paddled though some of the most toxic waters in the world. Hundreds of contaminated sites, industrial discharges, and sewage treatment plants pollute the Raritan River. As a result, DEP has issued fish and shell fish consumption bans and public health warnings due to toxic levels of dioxin, PCB, and mercury.

Raritan Bay –
Crabs and fish from Raritan and Newark Bay have some of the highest toxic dioxin, PCB, and mercury levels in the world. Our waterways are dying.

Crabs and fish from Raritan and Newark Bay have some of the highest toxic levels in the world.

Middlesex County sewage treatment plant discharges millions of gallons of day of wastewater to the Raritan River and Bay – including untreated toxic industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals which enter, bioaccumulate up the food chain, harm the ecosystem, and poison fish and shellfish making them unsafe for human consumption.

Margo is gathering “messages in a bottle” from citizens to send to Congress to pass this critically important legislation, which would create the equivalent of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act for the ocean.
Yesterday, Margo stopped in Princeton along the D&R Canal – she ran late due to excessive vegetation in the water than slower her down. This plant growth is caused by to much nutrient rich polluted runoff to the canal. Over development, failing septic systems, and excessive chemical lawn fertilizers runoff into and are killing our waterways.
To read about Margo’s most recent exploits up the Raritan River and down the Delaware and Raritan Canal, check out today’s excellent Trenton Times story:
A wave of awareness
Paddling to protect our oceans
Support Margo’s efforts – follow her progress on Margo’s blog:

US flag – before the Empire.
  1. eyesofsussex
    July 4th, 2008 at 18:03 | #1

    Typical American business dealings at the barrel of a gun.
    I have some antique cups and saucers that are labeled “Made in Occupied Japan”. Remember Secretary of Commerce Brown was killed in plane crash over Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia during their war? What the hell is a Secretary of Commerce doing in war zone?
    It won’t belong before we start getting goods labeled “Made in Occupied Iraq”.
    We are no better than the Conquistadors who raped the Americas or the European powers who colonized and bled the African continent. We continue as we did when we hijacked the Native American and Hawai’ians.

  2. nohesitation
    July 4th, 2008 at 19:19 | #2

    Thanks eyesofsussex
    But this imperial project is not done in y name or with my support.
    WE all must let our political representatives and their media enablers know that we detest this.

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