In the wake of the flap the agenda media and the Sorosphere manufactured over Rep. Michele Bachmann’s statements a few weeks ago on Tinglyball with Chris Matthews, I wondered – is it possible to question other peoples’ motivations anymore?
I’m convinced – having not only read the accounts and seen the video of Rep. Bachmann’s appearance, but having talked with Rep. Bachmann about the subject – that Rep. Bachmann meant “people who don’t have the nation’s best interests at heart”, and “people who love America exactly as it isn’t and has never been”, when she said “anti-American”. And when she said the media should be exposing this, she meant “doing its job, and giving people some means of critically examining candidates’ views”, rather than “witchhunting”.
Not that facts or context matter, of course.
Are there “anti-Americans” out there? In the sense that there are people who want America extinguished from the planet? Probably none in public life that matter, Jeremiah Wright and his invocation of the Sixth Commandment notwithstanding.
But can someone’s commitment to “American” ideals – the things that our founding fathers enshrined, things like “one person, one vote” and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, “the rule of law”, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – be criticized?
One of the most popular posts that’s ever appeared on this blog came out four and a half years ago, during a previous spate of demands that nobody question anyone’s motivation (“Don’t you dare question my patriotism!”). Entitled “You Might Not Be An American If…“, it kinda summed up how I feel about Bachmann’s statement and, yes, the targets:
If You Believe: that America has problems – huge problems – then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: …that America’s problems make it an inherently rotten concept, then maybe you should think about whether you’re living in the right place.
If You Believe: …that America’s projection of power around the world is immoral – then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: …that any projection of American power is inherely unjust because it’s America, then maybe you should be living in, say, Sweden? Just an idea.
If You Believe: …that capitalism is wrong because its inequalities are inherely unjust, then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: …that the free market is inherently, irrevocably evil, perhaps China would be a better fit? Just suggesting…
If You Believe: …that invading Iraq was wrong, then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: …that our temporary administration of Iraq is worse than Hussein’s 30 year reighn of horrors, then perhaps
you should rot in hellwe need to have an attitude adjustment.
At four years’ remove, I might add a few:
If You Believe: …that racism still exists, and that people (or even just White People) inflict it on others, then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: …that all of America (or just White America) makes its every decision based purely on racism (unless they vote for Barack Obama), then you might be Anti-American.
If You Believe: …the Constitution is a “living document”, then dissent is hunky-dory.
But If You Believe: …that the Constitution is itself a corrupt, vile document that never did anyone any good, then perhaps you should find a different society to live in, just on basic principle.
Wanna swat at Bachmann’s statement? You gotta bring more game than most of her critics seem to be able to manage.