Saturday, October 25, 2008


"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
Howard Zinn
Almost four years ago, in December of '04, I got the wonderfully subversive idea that I should order two huge "IMPEACH BUSH" magnetic signs for either side of my van. Great! I thought. Go to They've got everything! They don't. There are scores of companies out there which manufacture anti-Bush bumper stickers, but not one of them do the large magnetic kind. So I drove nine miles to the town of Montgomery, NY, and met with a guy named Perry, who makes his living manufacturing custom made, magnetic signs. I had him cook me up a couple.
The first set he made for me said, "IMPEACH BUSH" in black letters on a white background. Within a month, however, they were vandalized in the dark of night. I went back to Perry and I told him, "This time do the lettering in red, white and blue. That'll really piss off the Far Right!" They own those colors, you know.

In the four years since I have had those signs attached to my van, I have gotten thousands of comments on them, mostly favorable. But there have also been people (Let's say, about five hundred) whose reactions have been decidedly negative.

My first encounter with one of these half-witted critics in the culture wars, was within two days of purchasing the signs. I was sitting in my van, doing some paper work in the parking lot of 90 Crystal Run Road in Middletown, NY. All of the sudden, I had the feeling I was being watched. Sure enough, I looked up and there, standing at the driver's door window, was this little geek with a stupid, impudent grin on his clueless face. The guy was in his mid forties with a severely receding hairline, thick, coke bottle glasses, wearing a drab, grey business suit. (Honest, I'm not making this up!) I rolled down the window to see what this jackass found so amusing. The conversation - I swear - went like this:

ME: May I help you?

GEEK: I see your brain stopped working!

ME: Excuse me?

GEEK: I see your brain stopped working!

ME: What are you talking about?

GEEK: Your sign!

ME: My sign?

GEEK: Yeah, Your sign!

ME: What about my sign?

GEEK: George W. Bush is the greatest president in American history!

ME: Beg pardon?

GEEK: George W. Bush is the greatest president in American history!

ME: Really?

GEEK: Really!

ME: You make a statement as asinine as that and you have the nerve to look at me like I'm the fool???

GEEK: I think - therefore I am a Republican.

ME: I think - that you're an idiot.

He walked away from my vehicle, smug and self-satisfied, thinking he was through with me. And so he was. I wasn't through with him, though. Leaning out the open window, I called out to him:

ME: Excuse me, sir?
GEEK: Huh?
ME: Who was president during World War One?
GEEK: What??
ME: Who was president during World War One?

GEEK: How the hell should I know?

Precisely my point. In the ensuing four years, every time I have been subject to a hostile reaction to the "IMPEACH BUSH" signs, I have always countered with the same, History 101 question:

"Excuse me sir! [or ma'am, as the case may be] Who was president during World War One?"

QUESTION: After nearly four years and quite literally hundreds of nasty encounters, how many of these knuckleheads do you think were able to answer that mind-numbingly simple question?


NOTE TO THE GEEK: If you're reading this (that's assuming you can read, of course) the answer is Woodrow Wilson. That's what drives me to absolute distraction. So many of these people who describe themselves as "ultra-Conservative" (read that to mean: extremely right-of-center) have never even bothered to learn a damned thing about the country they profess to love so well. And what's worse is the fact that for the last three decades, they have created an industry accusing people like me, who lean ever so slightly left-of-center, of being unpatriotic; of hating America. It's happening right now in this embarrassingly stupid campaign. Particularly with respect to Sarah Palin.

Watching this mediocre woman prancing around the country has been quite entertaining. Particularly when she proclaims that "red state" America is the real America, implying that those of us who live in cities or in the northeast - the so-called "blue states" - are somehow suspect. It's astonishing, to say the very least. How is it that my views make me any less of an American?

My dad's eldest brother was named Edward J. Degan, Jr. That's a photograph of him on the left, taken when he was proudly serving his country during the Second World War. He was killed on December 15, 1944, in Belgium, at the edge of the Ardennes Forest. It is believed that he was the first soldier to fall in the Battle of the Bulge. Although he died thirteen years, eight months and one day before I was born, by all accounts he was a classic, Franklin D. Roosevelt/meat and potatoes/New Deal Liberal. Had fate allowed him to survive the carnage of that awful war, he would have turned eighty-eight on December 22 of this year. It's a cinch that, had he lived to see Election Day 2008, he would be casting his precious ballot for Barack Obama.
No one, in their right mind, ever accused my Uncle Eddie of being anything less than a true blue, American patriot. And yet, by the standards of Sarah Palin, my uncle, whom I never even had the the joy of meeting - who today lies under six feet of dirt in the Military Cemetery at Saint Avold, France - this Brooklyn native and Silver Star recipient, 1st Lieutenant Edward Joseph Degan, Jr. - a martyr for his country - would not be classified by this idiotic woman as a "real American" simply because of his liberal leanings and the geography of his birth.

I ask you, how utterly stupid is that?

The irony is that I always tell people in "the movement", so to speak, "If you had any idea how conservative I really am, you'd be surprised and maybe even a little appalled!" It's true! Culturally, I'm very conservative. I don't like excessive violence on television; I don't care for off-color, dirty humor; I never liked pornography - and although I am pro-choice, as a Catholic, I hate the very idea of abortion and would try to talk anyone out of having one. My view of a perfect America is very middle class Utopian: Good schools, white picket fences, racially integrated and balanced neighborhoods - the whole bit.
I'll let you in on another little secret: Shh! Keep it under your hat, but one of my favorite pieces of music is John Phillip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. I love it. So help me Mitch Miller!
Here's something else you need to know. Some of you will probably never come back to this site after I make this admission but it must be said: My favorite singer is Bing Crosby. Forgive me.
Many years ago when I was just fifteen, I remember reading an essay that the biographer Albert Goldman wrote about the writer Jack Kerouac and the comedian Lenny Bruce, both of whom were (and still are) held up by the Left in this country as cultural icons - when in fact both men were decidedly conservative in their personal views. Wrote Goldman: "They were radical only in their choice of words." That would accurately describe a lot of us Liberals, I think. What we are seeking is a just and gentle society, where everyone is treated equally and with respect and kindness. If you think about it, that's not a very radical idea at all.

The "Far Left" that the Far Right loves to whine so much about doesn't even exist anymore. You don't believe me? The next time you're in any big city, try finding the local chapter of the American Communist Party. Good luck. Oh, and here's a friendly little reminder for you: The American Nazi Party is very much alive and well, thank you very much. The "Far Left" went the way of the Edsel many years ago. The GOP has gotten so extreme in recent years, yesterday's "Moderates" are perceived as today's "Left Wing". Everything is relative, dear friends.

Recently, I was at an event where a self-described, Evangelical Christian Progressive was asked why he is not a Conservative like most Evangelicals. His answer was, I thought, very instructive:

"I teach the gospel of Jesus Christ for a living. How could I possibly be anything but a Liberal?"

How indeed?

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me,"

Matthew 25:40
Way the heck back in 1980, my college sociology professor, Dr. William Byrne, told his class of guffawing students,

"The next twenty-five years will see this country move so far to the right, by the time the twenty-first century rolls around, you won't even recognize it."

Well! Well! The good Doctor was on to something there, wasn't he? Unfortunately it was several years before the clueless kids in his class (myself included) were able to fully comprehend the ramifications of what he was saying.

The pendulum is about to swing back in the direction of We The People. That's the only positive result that will be said to have come out of the Bush years. As they were in 1932, the American people have become radicalized. So radical, in fact, that they are within ten days of sending the first African American to the White House. That's pretty damned radical, baby! That's progress, too!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

1st Lieutenant Edward Joseph Degan, Jr.
December 22, 1920-December 15, 1944

This "anti-American" liberal is pretty damned proud of his uncle.


The Sermon on the Mount
from the Gospel according to Matthew

In just eighty-seven days, this backwards, unenlightened, criminally incompetent administration will be reduced to ashes. The light may be seen through the forest. Get ready to wake up and face the dawn!

For more recent postings on this disgusting, COMMIE BLOG, please go to the following link:


The man has not an ounce of shame.


At 4:55 PM, Blogger Thor Lo said...

Good thing you didn't out the two who knew the answer. They'd have to form a chapter for egghead republicans.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

Damn it! I had it all written and then --->etherspace<--- got it. I'll be back later or tomorrow after the graveyard shift.

It's about my Father, a Patriot, who ran in Minnesota's 6th District for Congress as a DFL Candidate with a anti-poverty, social agenda (some might say, aka McCain/Palin lemmings, that he was *GASP* a socialist.)

I'll get back to it when I've finished a graveyard shift and looking after my little (age 7) buddy, KikiDee.

In the meantime, you will all enjoy this site:
Welcome to Republicans for Obama
Take a look at all the prominent Republicans who've endorsed Obama: Jim Whitaker, Fairbanks, Alaska Mayor

"If we are as a nation concerned with energy, then our consideration should be a national energy policy that is not predicated on crude oil 50 years into the future. We need to get to it, and I think Barack Obama is very clear in that regard."

TOM, you have endagered your conservative "leanings" by showing yourself in front of an extremely full and extensive LIBRARY.

Everyone knows only COMMUNISTS *read*. You may wish to rethink that photo or you reveal what a true fascist you really are. . .

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Hotrod said...


We have all made enemies by speaking out. I put a loaded manure spreader next to the highway with a 4 x 8 plywood sign that said "The Bush Platform". Many of my less enlightened neighbors took particular offense and will no longer talk to me. However, I have made many new friends that will easily replace my wingnut neighbors.
It is amazing that, contrary to Fox Noise, there is no Left left. There are a few brave souls out there, but the corporate media has successfully ignored them while giving face time to Anne Coulter, et al from the crazy right. That is the reason that slightly left of center people like you and me are easily castigated as "extreme".
I want to tell you that I greatly admire your courage to advertise your beliefs so publicly.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...


It's all cyclical.

But that doesn't mean that people don't die and many more are harmed in the sick cycles.


You are a Patriot indeed! The best kind as "Tommy" Jefferson said. And I am very proud to be in your world.

Dr. Rick Lippin

At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember a few years ago seeing this GM minivan around Goshen, (you MUST be patriotic, even I would'nt buy an American car) with the above-mentioned stickers attached. I said, I gotta congratulate that guy. You put that on in 2004, after the last election fiasco. Such balls, Tom. Patriotism was at fever pitch then. I have a friend in Orange County NY who is not voting for Obama because "He dosen't wear his lapel pin." HELLO? If your running for president (at the least admirable time ever in US history) I tend to believe you ARE a patriot.

Great post Tom, and "Canadians for Obama" which is most of us, are counting the days left too. 86 days left. We'll have to see this Syria event and how it unfolds.


At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Blaine said...

Opps, sorry Tom. I did'nt mean to post anonymous.


At 6:35 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

I do remember you. Weren't you in Goshen recently speaking to the kids at the High School? Or was that another Blaine? I read something about it in the Times Herald Wreckage.

Thanks for the kind words, pal!

All the best,
Tom Degan

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Avram Mirsky said...


I can barely keep my eyes open after a double header weekend of canvassing for Obama, but I had to tell you (mind you, your essay was the usual Degan wonder of words) ...

Tom Jefferson NEVER said "dissent is the highest form patiotism." The quote is actually about 5 years old and it originated with historian Howard Zinn in an interview with to justify his opposition to the War on Terror. Someone erroneously attributed the quote to Jefferson soon after, and now seemingly everyone is doing it. I did it too in an early blog (so you're in good company).

Bedtime. GOTV (get-out-the-vote) starts Nov. 1. I'm gonna have somewhere between 50-100 volunteers operating out of my house, which is a staging area for the campaign's last 4 days.

I call it STC. Save The Country.

God bless,

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

prairie waif,

I can assure you that immediately behind Tom in that photo there is an collection of of books & lps (god help us, tom just likes to read the lp jackets - but I may have sorted out seeds on some of them. You were sure you were tripping when all the other kids were using dark side of the moon and all we had was Bing and the sound track to the 'Man of la mancha'. There also may have been something with our friend Dick Wagner on it).


At 3:00 AM, Blogger larkrise said...

Tom, another great rant. Keep them coming. I am somewhat out of place in my suburban Indianapolis neighborhood. Indiana is traditionally a red state, anyway. Right across the street is a red hot Far-Right Repug. She is a deputy prosecutor for the Marion Co. DA. Not a bad sort, really, but hardcore Right. Three weeks ago she had one of her big shindigs for campaign workers and political hacks. They last until the wee hours. No problem, I am a nightowl. But around 2:30AM my little Tibetan Spaniel began growling. I thought it was due to car doors slamming. It turned out some ass from her party was ripping the stickers off of my bumper. Then, 2 days later my Obama sign disappeared. I had hand made 2 others and wired them to a tree and a post hammered deep in the ground. They couldnt get those quickly. My next-door neighbor, who is African-American, also had his Obama sign stolen. No other signs in the neighborhood for Obama were bothered, just the 2 across form Miz Liz. I complained to another neighbor, who had been at the party. She talked to Liz and found out that a partygoer had indeed ripped off my stickers and put them on Liz's car as a joke. I failed to find it funny. Liz never apologized. I decided another idiot friend of hers must have taken my sign and Frank's, since we were across the street from Liz. Today, I found out from Frank that that was true. He got his sign back from her. I have never had mine returned. I have filed a police complaint and have a case number and a detective assigned. I am waiting to hear from him. It is illegal to take campaign signs. It is illegal to trespass on my property. It is called Criminal Mischief. It can result in a $10,000 fine. I am angry and sad. This has never happened before. During the Sixties, my husband and I were refused service in a restaurant. We were also denied an apt. My husband is Chinese. But,after the Civil Rights Act, other than a few insults here and there, we have never been bothered since then. Stealing my campaign sign may be a prank, but it has infringed on MY rights. The ugliness of this campaign has come to Greenbriar Subdivision. I have always been vocal about my political beliefs, but am respectful of others. I am at the point where I feel: "Don't Tread On Me." I have never had an argument with a neighbor. Now, this neighbor is at the top of my shit list. I am not amused.I respect her(no exagerration) 10 yard signs. She needs to respect my property; and my freedom of speech. That is little enough to ask of a Deputy Prosecutor.

At 4:42 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...


Thanks so much for pointing out my error. Corrections have been made. I love Howard Zinn.


There are indeed several LPs in my collection with our pal Dick Wagner in them. My favorite? Lou Reed's "Rock 'n' Roll Animal" (1974)


Tom Degan

At 4:56 AM, Blogger stoney13 said...


You are a man of a great calm, and peaceful demeanor! I would have told "The Geek" fresh, new about his mother's sexual preferences, and waited for him to stick whatever part of his body he was stupid enough to stick into my van! Then I would have grabbed it, rolled the window up on it, and seen how fast he could run! (Yea, I know, but I'm funny that way!)

Oh Yea! Don't sweat the Bing Cosby thing! Hell I even listen to "Kansas" once in a while! And White Christmas is pretty cool, and the man damn sure could sing!


Here's a neat little trick I used on the Right Wing Fuck-Sticks lurking around in North Carolina. (And believe me! North Carolina is richly blessed with Right Wing Fuck-Sticks!)

If you have a dog or cat, they leave little surprises in litter boxes, or on the lawn early in the morning! Take one of those thin plastic bags newspapers come in, put it over your hand, and pick up one of those surprises! Pull the bag back over your hand, until the surprise is in the bottom of the bag. Take bag with surprise in it, and trim the top of the bag down as short as you dare, then attach it to the very edge of the sign with scotch tape where the fore-mentioned fuck-stick is likely to grab it with!

Fuck-stick grabs sign, bag ruptures, SURPRISE!!

Believe me, I've watched them out of my window trying to steal my campaign signs, and that trick ALWAYS gets them GOOD!

A quick sortie out on the front porch with my SKS carbine over my shoulder immediately afterward, sends them on their way, before they get a chance to wipe their hands off in the grass!

That way the "surprise" anoints the steering wheel of their car, where it's presence will serve to remind them that crime does not pay!

During the Clinton Campaign I had genuine Raccoon feces for the task at hand! Worked BITCHIN!!!!

At 5:03 AM, Blogger stoney13 said...


Here's a sign for you:

Jesus was a Liberal!
Ted Bundy was a Republican!
And you're voting for who?

At 5:27 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Classic Stony Browning!

What I try to impart in twenty or more paragraphs, you say in a simple sentence!

Thanks for another gem!

Tom Degan

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is the sad thing about what people like Sarah Palin create, the mirage that only Republicans are real Americans and the rest of us are set out to destroy this nation.

I had a Republican friend send me a really offensive email about this very subject to which I responded with the long line of relatives in my family who served our country in the military while managing to be Democrats.

Like you, I cannot identify myself as either liberal or conservative. I have viewpoints that measure somehwere between the two and don't swallow one narrow creed. I would question those on the right that do like Mrs. Palin. The world isn't black or white, but a lovely combination of grey's in many variations. A closed mind to differing views weakens our ability to improve the quality of life.


At 6:57 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Patriotism is in the eye of the beholder. Must a Patriot work within the system to be such ?? That would presuppose a system one is able to work in. As we know this has been questionable for quite some time now. Funny but the fellow Obama is accused of " palling " around with is someone I respect. While I don't condone violence I think in some ways Yippie radicals had the right idea. Speak a language the establishment understands. I'm a Patriot too...I hate the assholes that control Amerika, NOT AMERICA the country that is supposed to be " free ". So as it is pointed out in the movie Zeitgeist Addendum anyone who dissents is now labeled a " terrorist ". And all that time I thought we were just college students !! Who knew ??

At 10:19 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...

Ted Stevens got convicted on all seven counts!!!!!!

LIFE IS GOOD!!!!!!!^_^!!!!!

I'm going to go out amongst my Right Wing Fuck Stick neighbors, and be insufferably pleased with myself!

At 10:20 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...

Your welcome, Tom! Thanks for the support!

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

ATF Says Racists Plotted to Kill Obama
Tuesday 28 October 2008
by Carrie Johnson, The Washington Post

This showed up in a Georgia Free Weekly, the week prior to Hillary's famous statement.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

That image of Obama in the cross-hairs of a gunsite, should have sent chills across the nation, however, Hillary was still up to her tricks at the time.

She is doing a good job of remediating herself, but this really should have made more news than it did, have you seen or heard of this before?

And of course, being published in an inherently racist portion of the country (not that every citizen is so inclined, but the history of Slavery and entitlement continue still) should have put extra SS on Obama, Michelle and the girls.

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Grumpy Lion said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Grumpy Lion said...

Ranting, intelligent, and self-aware... good combination.

But I do think that your comment referring to Sarah Palin as 'mediocre' gives her far too much credit and could even mark you as a staunch right winger.

On the other hand I'm probably nastier than you.

Good blog.

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on Tom! I heard you on C-Span this morning and like you I am a C-Span junkie! Ya, totally agree with you. The next time ANYONE goes to the polls, just remember that the Grand Ole Party put this country in the hole! I think Bush and Cheney should spend the rest of their evil days in Federal Prison. How they have not been impeached is beyond my imagination. Why you ask? Your blog doesn't have enough memory. I wouldn't be a selfish Republican if you had a gun to my head. Remember who these Senators are that voted no on this auto loan. Vote them OUT of office. Let these fuckers make ten dollars an hour with no health benefits when they are voted out. Anyone that wants to challenge what I say, bring it on.

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Joy said...

I wasn't sure how to sign on, but I am a 49 year old Left Wing Liberal from Orange County California. Its funny, the right wing say the word liberal like it is a bad word. I say, WTF? Look the word up in the dictionary. I want my picture next to the word liberal in the dictionary.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Thanks for the comments, Joy.

You're right anonymous. How anyone would want to have their name associated with that awful party boggles the mind.


Tom Degan

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Lloyd Stoner said...

Stoner Says .... You are doing a great job with your blog. I will be looking for your next posting. Caught you on C-Span this morning...Good move.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Since the Cold War said...

Liberalism and sparing the rod has caused many problems. I heard you on TV this AM which made me respond. You are a youngster to my 56 years of life. I surely miss the power of true Americanism as the 50's and 60's were a much better time... my blog

At 3:02 AM, Blogger Catharine said...

Take back the part about Bing Crosby, or I'll hate you forever. TAKE IT BACK!

Nah, just kidding... WHITE CHRISTMAS is one of my favorite holiday movies.

Seriously, though... in the four years since you wrote this, I'm guessing the degree to which the country has continued to move to the right, even to it's own detriment, is probably a considerable shock.

I know I'm pretty stunned by it all.


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