When I was a kid we had a class in school called "Civics." I don't think they teach it anymore.
We were taught to revere, even idolize, the founding fathers (rich white guys), and that we had civic responsibilities to attend to, such as town meetings, jury duty, voting, paying taxes and going off to die in meaningless wars in order to make the world safe for the Ford Motor Company (does anyone remember that Robert McNamara came to be SecDef AFTER being Chairman of FoMoCo?)
Anyway, in those days I don't remember anyone ever mentioning values. It was understood that the only good queer was a dead, or at least horribly mangled, queer; that jews and niggrahs were to keep to themselves, in their own neighborhoods, and to show proper respect to the white christian men who ran the nation, that women were sperm recepticles/breeding stock and that God (on old white guy on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) Blessed America.
Those were our "values" in the 1950's and early 60's.
Now our values include acting out on our self-hatred by beating up on ourselves and anyone else whom we even suspect of having the same qualities that we loathe in ourselves. Reverend Haggard hates himself (and queers in general). You'd better believe that Mark Foley hates himself (and he's none too thrilled with the Pages turned Rats -- those little f*cking Lolitas). And I firmly believe that the blind beligerence of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney are based in self-doubt and self-loathing over having run away from their military duties as young men and that they MUST be perceived as "manly men" at all costs now. It's a form of redemption for them.
But they are chickenhawks (not to be confused with "chickenshit", which they also are, but never mind that now). When I was young a chickenhawk was an older gay male who chased after younger gay men. Now chickenhawks are just washed up draft-dodgers (probably with small penises) who feel the need to demonstrate just how macho they can be with other people's lives and money.
What patriotic cause is being served in Iraq? I believe that it's the Bonesman "cause" of a son completing the father's unfinished business. I believe that Dubya has long felt shame, not only for his own shortcomings as a younger man, but also over the failure of his father to "complete" the business of deposing Saddam at the end of the First Gulf War.
And I believe that George W. Bush would happily march this entire country straight into Hell in order to fulfill his personal desires.
Tomorrow I intend to fulfill my civic duty by voting in my local precinct for any and all candidates who abhor George W. Bush and his cronies and his policies as much as I do.
And may God, wherever She is, bless us all.