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Thread: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=8437

    by Mary Ellen Burke
    Posted Aug 5, 2005

    “Every morning, I get up, get out of bed, and get on my knees and thank God for waking up in America,” declared Ben Stein at the Young America’s Foundation Conference in Washington, D.C.

    The actor, comedian, and writer reflected upon America’s increasing prosperity, which is often criticized by the liberal media and Hollywood elites. Stein praised America’s role as the leading engine of free enterprise and free trade for the whole world.

    “Free men and women are able to live up to their full potential,” said Stein, “and we continue to see the astonishing power of letting hardworking men and women use their minds and their backs and their hands to do the work that suits their abilities and not do to whatever the state hands out to them.”

    Once filled with patriotic actors, Hollywood now makes excuses for American principles. Following a recent trend to mesh entertainment with partisan politics, many actors devote their money and efforts to promote liberal organizations like Rock the Vote.

    Stein pointed to movie stars of the past such as James Stewart, Clark Gable, and Charlton Heston-- who all fought in World War II before beginning their acting careers. Yet very few, if any, current American idols are willing to fight in Iraq.

    “How many of today’s incredibly buff, muscular, well-toned, super-healthy muscle men stars do you think volunteer to fight terrorists in any part whatsoever” Stein asked a group of 200 students. He considers American soldiers to be the real stars.

    “The real stars are wearing body armor on top of their battle dress uniforms in 130 degree heat and they do not have stunt doubles to come in for them when the going gets rough and the bullets and the shrapnel start flying,” said Ben. “They are the real stars, fighting terrorism and trying to free a nation.”

    Stein considers America “the light of the world” with a “nation of heroes.” But he claims the media powers distort the past and present reality and college professors place Americans on an equal scale with terrorists. Stein says they are plagued by “moral blindness and historical myopia.”

    “They have tried to make America seem like the villain on its own stage,” said Stein. “They have robbed us of our certainty that we are the good guys.”

    He calls for young Americans to follow the example of Martin Luther King Junior, fighting back with truth and love.

    “Do not let the haters have the floor,” pleaded Stein. “The fact that the haters talk so loud does not make them right.”
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    I always liked Ben Stein.

    Rem

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    America CAN and SHOULD be the things that Stein mentions, but our policies contradict Ben's utopic view of our world and the U.S. presence in it. The truth is, we are NOT the light of the world to many--we are viewed as oppressors, bullies and arrogant. Our foreign policy is primarily self-serving, and our environmental and energy policies reek of short-sightedness and capitulation towards mega-coporations.

    This doesn't mean that our nation doesn't have many, many positives. I thank God that I live here, as well. there isn't a nation I would rather call home. But we have such a fabulous opportunity to truly be a morally righteous and upstanding example to the world, and we are NOT that. Patriotic ramblings sound good and make the heart flutter, but they cannot wish away the reality that for many the U.S. is viewed as anything BUT the nation Ben Stein describes.
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    I realize that World War II was a far different war than the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the circumstances of military service are different. I do respect those from privileged backgrounds who did choose to serve during WWII. The James Stewarts and Clark Gables of WWII have no parallel in today's Hollywood community, and, aside from Pat Tillman, there are few if any current professional athletes who parallel the WWII service of people such as Bob Feller and Warren Spahn, or the Korean War service of Ted Williams (Ted didn't volunteer, but he served admirably). For that matter, few of the children of today's political leaders, Democrat and Republican alike, are in the service, in contrast to the John F. Kennedys and George H.W. Bushes of WWII.
    I note this not to condemn anyone (it would be hypocritical of me to do so), but just to note my admiration of the generation which preceded my own.
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    Stein pointed to movie stars of the past such as James Stewart, Clark Gable, and Charlton Heston-- who all fought in World War II before beginning their acting careers. Yet very few, if any, current American idols are willing to fight in Iraq.
    Both Stewart and Gable were big stars at the time, they didn't pospone their career start, just their careers.

    Marion Morrison says Hi Ben.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    “They have tried to make America seem like the villain on its own stage,” said Stein. “They have robbed us of our certainty that we are the good guys.”
    It's a lot easier to be patriotic when your country is under attack. I didn't hear many complaints when we went into Afghanistan looking for Bin Laden.

    The problem started when Bush set his sights on Iraq. Last time I checked, the "good guys" don't attack nations that don't pose a threat.

    America's own actions are responsible for robbing us of our certainty that we're the good guys.

    Stein is basically chastising Hollywood for daring to question the current administration.

    Maybe he's still bitter about "All the King's Men."
    Last edited by Johnny Footstool; 08-08-2005 at 02:16 PM.
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    Both Stewart and Gable were big stars at the time, they didn't pospone their career start, just their careers.

    Marion Morrison says Hi Ben.
    Stewart and Gable still took a risk with their careers; staying off the screen for several years, as they did, could have harmed their careers. More importantly, they both took real risks with their lives. Neither opted for safe promotional jobs behind the lines. Both Stewart and Gable flew combat missions in the Europrean theater. Stewart remained in the air reserve after the war and I believe eventually attained the rank of general in the reserve.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsBaron
    Stewart and Gable still took a risk with their careers; staying off the screen for several years, as they did, could have harmed their careers. More importantly, they both took real risks with their lives. Neither opted for safe promotional jobs behind the lines. Both Stewart and Gable flew combat missions in the Europrean theater. Stewart remained in the air reserve after the war and I believe eventually attained the rank of general in the reserve.
    Yes I know, but the writer of the article is tossing off her interpertation of Steins speech and this tid bit was wrong, thus making me ponder what else in the article was wrong.

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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    The internal contradiction within Ben Stein's point is interesting, considering what an intelligent individual he is.

    Part of the problem with America today is that the burden of fighting the wars (that everyone is so eager to start) isn't shouldered evenly by everyone. What has resulted is a massive outbreak of "Rah Rah" jingoism that has people confused into believing that slapping a $1 yellow ribben sticker on the back of their car is sufficient in the "Support our Troops" department. There are loud calls for supporting the war on terror, supporting military campaigns in the middle east and afghanistan, yet very little in the way of collective commitment to the effort.

    I didn't see a call for taxes to be raised so that everyone could share in the burden of protecting our country and supplying the troops (who are heroes) with the very best and top-of-the-line equipment to enable them to better perform their duty. I don't see a citizenry engaging in self-sacrafice for the betterment of the national cause, such as fighting terrorism and promoting democracy abroad. In WW2, the generation Stein speaks so highly of, massive amounts of individuals followed the call to serve (albeit in a draft, much different than we have today), but millions of others grew gardens, conserved scrap metal, reduced fuel and electrical consumption, quit their jobs to work in factories and generally did whatever was required in order to help the war cause.

    The problem isn't that America is evil or that America is the same as the terrorists, the problem is that America is speaking out both sides of it's mouth. We profess a desire to spread democracy and freedom around the world, but only to the point where it does not interfere with our continued growth and prosperity or has some tangible benefit to us as a nation. We look the other way in places where we have an economic interest in seeing the status-quo maintained (China), and we outright ignore places that have no econimic or strategic interest in anything whatsoever (Africa). We aren't interested in a real committment to lifting up the world; we are interested in a selective insertion of American values in select places.

    Further, the wealthy and influential members of our society that make these decisions are the ones who never seem to be enlisted on the front lines of combat. There is a reason why the overwhelming number of soldiers being killed in Iraq are from rural areas. Ben Stein is derriding Hollywood celebrities for not going to fight, but just expand "Hollywood Celebrities" to "Affluent Americans" and the statement still works.

    I'm 23, and I ask every one of my friends (usually around the same age as I am) the same question when I hear that they support the war in Iraq: If you believe this is the right thing for our country to do, then why aren't you at a recruitment center and signing up to do your part? Or, conversely, what are you doing buying a new copy of NCAA Football when you could send that money to the troops to aid the war effort?

    Being a nation of heroes doesn't just apply to the fighting men and women overseas. If people are going to protest loudly over those who aren't supporting the effort, then I had better see more than just a flag sticker on the back of their car.

    (Rant over. )
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    It was a good rant.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    When his country called, it looks like Mr. Stein didn't answer the phone either.Ben Stein Bio
    Last edited by Rojo; 08-08-2005 at 08:09 PM.
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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo
    When his country called, it looks like Mr. Stein didn't answer the phone either.Ben Stein Bio
    I did not read where Ben Stein calls for people to serve. I do read where Ben comments on how the Hollywood-types are different in their philosophies today vs. those of WWII. Is he wrong with that comment?

    Did Ben get called? Did Ben get drafted? I don't know. Perhaps Ben could not pass a physical to be enlisted? I don't know. But I will not call him out for not answering when his country called. Not fair, not fair, not fair. Perhaps another read of the above-story will clear that up for those who seemed to miss the point of the story. Poor Ben... doesn't he realize that some people get mad when he has the nerve to compliment his own country and the people who volunteered for service?
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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966
    Poor Ben... doesn't he realize that some people get mad when he has the nerve to compliment his own country and the people who volunteered for service?
    A compliment and a dollar buys you a Double Cheeseburger at Mickey D's, and not much more. While I'm sure soldiers appreciate the sentiment, they'd much rather have more troops on the ground or better equipment to fight insurgents with.

    And, having read quite a bit of what Ben Stein has written and stated, I have no doubt in my mind that he would issue an even longer rant than I did if someone had the audacity to ask him to contribute a little more to the war effort (via higher taxes) than just a canned comment of support for the military.

    His criticism of those who denegrate the war effort or refuse to participate are unfounded, in my opinion, until more people on his side start paying more than lip service to their cause of wanting to fight this battle.
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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    We look the other way in places where we have an economic interest in seeing the status-quo maintained (China), and we outright ignore places that have no econimic or strategic interest in anything whatsoever (Africa). We aren't interested in a real committment to lifting up the world; we are interested in a selective insertion of American values in select places.

    IMO, it shouldn't be America's mission to spread American values everywhere. I certainly don't agree with the US looking the other way at the slave factories in China, but I don't want any Americans dying to "bring democracy" to Africa or whatever.

    We have enough problems at home, and frankly we don't have the resources or money to continue trying to "Fix" the world. We have a massive debt that grows larger by the day, and many other problems. Let's get our own house in order before we go on any more "crusades".

    Caveat, I'm not saying you are proposing this, but I don't like the idea that America has an obligation to protect the entire world.
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    Re: Ben Stein: Thankful for America

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966
    Poor Ben... doesn't he realize that some people get mad when he has the nerve to compliment his own country and the people who volunteered for service?
    Oh spare me. This wasn't about complimenting the troops, it was about bashing celebrities who oppose the war. He's a sickening little man.
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