Effort To Change Motto
Needs More
Than Simple Rethinking
(Report)

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Here is a most interesting exchange, showing that no matter how hard you try, you're not going to please everybody. I am reminded of the Twelve Steppers who take personally any and every rejection of their movement's claims, not to mention public criticism that the Steppers themselves discuss behind closed doors. After a typical exchange, it not only seems as if ideas have feelings, but that the Stepper you just "offended" is a personification, if not the very incarnation, of the idea you have challenged! Those are the memories that this exchange brought to mind!

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Cordial and to the point, just the research needed to adequately and accurately formulate my Reply took almost an hour of my time. The reason I went to these lengths is that no PAM reader deserves one whit less than the very best I am capable of providing. Why, in the process I even coined a new word, godspam, meaning, "mass, indiscriminately broadcast, unwanted advertisement promoting the idea that a 'God' really does actually exist."

In any event, I had already decided that this exchange would be one of the very next items to be posted in our Letters section; I made this decision before I even put my reply into words. This would be the least I could do, considering that I wholeheartedly disagree with the second half of the proposal: replacing one elitist motto with one that is, on the surface, even more elitist than the slogan we seek to destroy! (Besides, saying "Peace-anything" would be about as far from truthfully describing the United States as one can get!)

This way, at least, three or four thousand will readers know about the campaign and may support it if they think it is worthy of their support. None of our readers would be stupid enough to make decisions based upon my opinion, so what's the big deal?

Ah, but if anybody were to call her idea farfetched, then perhaps I might interest you in some potable land dwn in San Quintin, Mexico, or maybe four highly unconstitutional words added to American currency during the 1950s! Au contraire! Who's to say that this just might be the one move to catch on and do the trick? Oregon's Bottle Bill flew with the voters. I'm much rather see something else as law, but no: this is what we got! Nevertheless, any bottle bill is better than no bottle bill. Thus, if this ever advances to the point of asking for my vote ("What's it gonna be, boy, yes -- or -- no?"), then certainly it would get my vote.

Thus, if any readers have views on the petition itself (comments on my response will be deleted without further ado), then I will consider them. Who knows? I have been changed before! You all know that!

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Date: Monday, September 16, 2002 11:15:11 PM
Subject: Re: Petition to change national motto

The original motto is E Pluribus Unum, was developed by an ad hoc committee headed by Thomas Jefferson and consisting also of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. I've read the story of this ad hoc's work, and it is most inspiring: Jefferson put more work into E Pluribus Unum than everybody put together exerted when toppling it during the McCarthy Era.

If we wanted to see the godspam replaced with anything it would be to return to the work rendered by Jefferson's ad hoc. We wouldn't support replacing the godspam with anything except the original motto.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Seven years of service to people
    with no reason to believe

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Alas! Even if all you do is disagree with an idea, there are some who act as if you have degraded them personally! This is not the first time someone has had to really scrape to find a response to one of my Replies, and gaud forbid that it would be the last!

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Discourteous? Impolite? Unprofessional?

Perhaps this individual has not lived very long; perhaps this individual has yet to really encounter discourteous, impolite, or unprofessional.

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Petition to change national motto
Date: September 16, 2002 11:54 PM

Fuck Off and DIE!

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Seven years of service to people
    with no reason to believe

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Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.