You Might Be Anti-American!

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 hell we 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.

32 thoughts on “You Might Be Anti-American!

  1. As always, Mitch, thanks for being an intelligent breed of conservative.

    I’m afraid, though, that all too often over the past eight years liberals have heard that dissent is NOT American, even when it’s moderate, thoughtful dissent. We’ve been told that believing America could be better than it is right now is a hateful attack on our country.

    I don’t know how Bachmann actually feels. It may be that I’m simply blowing her comments out of proportion and using them as a vehicle to lash out about all the times other conservatives have said my views are anti-American.

    Ultimately, this was a conversation we needed to have, and it’s going to contribute (I hope) to a de-inflaming of all of our rhetoric. Bachmann just happened to be the unlucky catalyst for the discussion.

  2. Jeff Rosenberg-
    Can you give examples of someone authoritative saying that dissent is unamerican? Or that believing America could be better than it is now is a hateful attack on our country?
    I hear criticisms like yours quite a bit, but actual examples are hard to find.

  3. Jeff,

    If today, I say Barack Obama’s policies are bad for this country, I’m called a racist. Shouted down By FAR more leftists than I’ve ever heard conservatives call any “leftist dissenter” un-American.

    The Left & certain state agencies are currently giving the ‘probe to people like Steven Joseph Wurzelbacher, and Barbra West. And today we learn that Hose Democrats are using the FCC to shut down possible public dissent from military leaders.

    These things that have happened in the last month are vastly more extreme than anything that was merely spoken in the previous 8 years.

  4. Terry,

    I believe that President Bush pretty flatly said at one point “If you’re not for us, you’re against us” – that kind of rhetoric sends a message. Further, many important congressmen and women have save pretty flatly that any dissent during time of war was ‘aiding and abetting the enemy.’ Pretending that wasn’t the message of the right is revsionist at best.

    BTW Mitch – M.Bachmann brought the world down on her own head, it wasn’t ANYONE who made her say what she said other than herself. Matthews wasn’t prompting her, goading her or anything else. She is responsible, and it’s time YOU and she took responsibility for her own mouth. BTW Mitch, something which didn’t get any play in the MSM (comparitavely) is that she also said that that the cause of the economic crisis was “the poor – minorities, blacks and others” – a bigotted, irresponsible statement which both reflects ignorance – in that she blamed the poor, and intolerance. She also, by making that statement, implied that a. most blacks are poor, and b. most poor are blacks and/or other minorities. You are smart enough to know that’s BS – but I assume you’ll just gloss it over – but she said it, not Matthews. Take responsibility – you mouth it, try living it.

  5. penigma:

    Who was President Bush talking to when he said “If you’re not for us, you’re against us”?

    The answer: countries.

    Your point is false, penigma. Stop spreading the stupidity.

  6. There goes that selective memory again PIGenma. Matthews bragged on late night TV that he DID bait her. Bush said “If you’re not WITH us, you’re against us.” You socialists like to change the context of Republican statements. Bush didn’t mean it the way you’re twisting it. Nice try!

  7. I believe that President Bush pretty flatly said at one point “If you’re not for us, you’re against us”
    Peev, we’ve been here before. The quote was clearly in the context of foreign policy, that is, he was addressing the governments of other countries, not Americans.

    “A coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy; a coalition partner must perform,” Bush said. “That means different things for different nations. Some nations don’t want to contribute troops and we understand that. Other nations can contribute intelligence sharing. … But all nations, if they want to fight terror, must do something.”

    Bush said he would not point out any specific countries when he speaks to the UN.

    “Over time it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity,” he said. “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.”

    http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/11/06/ret.bush.coalition/index.html

    Further, many important congressmen and women have save pretty flatly that any dissent during time of war was ‘aiding and abetting the enemy.’ Pretending that wasn’t the message of the right is revsionist at best.

    Name these congressmen. Give a link. You have invented quotes and then claimed that the non-existent quotes came from the right.
    Let me be clear. The quotes don’t exist, peev. You are living in a paranoid fantasy world.

  8. Your point is false, penigma. Stop spreading the stupidity.

    He can’t stop spreading it. He’s hoarding as much as possible for his personal use. Can’t you tell by his comments?

  9. There goes that selective memory again PIGenma. Matthews bragged on late night TV that he DID bait her. Bush said, “If you’re not WITH us you’re against us.” You socialists are good at changing the context of Republican statements. Troy is dead right. Nice try!

  10. penigma said:

    “Matthews wasn’t prompting her, goading her or anything else”

    Wow. Do you just read stuff on Kos or DU and believe it?

    From a transcript:

    MR. MATTHEWS: I mean, if you’re liberal, are you anti-American?

    MR. MATTHEWS: So you believe that Barack Obama may have anti- American views.

    MR. MATTHEWS: Well, you were putting them together. You put three words together — liberal, leftist and anti-American. How do they all fit together, those three terms — liberal, leftist and anti- American?

    MR. MATTHEWS: How many Congress people, members of Congress, do you think are in that anti-American crowd you described? How many Congress people do you serve with? I mean, it’s 435 members of Congress.

    MR. MATTHEWS: How many are anti-American in the Congress right now that you serve with?

    MR. MATTHEWS: Well, he’s a United States senator from Illinois. He’s one of the people you suspect as being anti-American. How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti- American? You’ve already suspected Barack Obama. Is he alone, or are there others? How many do you suspect of your colleagues as being anti-American?

  11. But If You Believe: …that all of America (or just White America) makes its every decision based purely on racism…

    Then you might be the already ex-Marine and soon to be ex-Congressman Jack Murtha.

  12. Peev,

    Troy pretty well gave you what-for. You are either misinformed or disingenuous.

    BTW Mitch – M.Bachmann brought the world down on her own head, it wasn’t ANYONE who made her say what she said other than herself.

    Right.

    But what she meant by Anti-American – yet again, that’s the part I’m talking about.

    I make the case – accurately, as it happens – that the media and left (PTR) are giving the statement a context that Bachmann herself did not.

    Matthews wasn’t prompting her, goading her or anything else. She is responsible, and it’s time YOU and she took responsibility for her own mouth.

    You mean, like for your first paragraph?

    You mean, like for not only claiming Scott Johnson was committing legal malpractice by commenting on Minnesota state education statutes, and then fraudulently ginning up “legal expert” friends to support your claim when real lawyers wrote in to set you straight?

    Oh, OK. To answer your question – I am, and she is. Telling the truth IS responsibility.

    BTW Mitch, something which didn’t get any play in the MSM (comparitavely) is that she also said that that the cause of the economic crisis was “the poor – minorities, blacks and others” – a bigotted, irresponsible statement which both reflects ignorance – in that she blamed the poor, and intolerance.

    MORE RUBBISH, YOU LIAR.

    She said the POLICY of forcing the government to underwrite LOANS to the poor, to minorities, to people previously under”served” by mortgage companies was responsible.

    Which was, by the way, EXACTLY what Andrew Cuomo – Bill Clinton’s HUD secretary – said would happen, in as many words.

    She also, by making that statement, implied that a. most blacks are poor, and b. most poor are blacks and/or other minorities. You are smart enough to know that’s BS – but I assume you’ll just gloss it over – but she said it, not Matthews.

    Again, you gang-rape not only context, but the original statement.

    Take responsibility – you mouth it, try living it.

    Pffft.

    You blather more risible crap than everyone else in this comment section put together (have some of your “neighbors” explain it to you). Sometimes I wonder if you’re not just a fiendishly-unclever satirist, pretending to be a foamy-mouthed rantmonger – but then I realize that, unlike Angryclown, you’re not playing it for laughs, anonymous and unaccountable.

    Responsibility? Pffft. You haven’t the foggiest clue.

  13. I will disagree a little Mitch. I will believe that dissent is patriotic under an Obama Regime.

  14. Wow, Peev earned two “Pffft”s in one comment. That has to be a new record.

    I’m glad sane people can tell the difference between “for us” and “with us”. There is a substantial difference, especially when you put that little word “do” at the beginning.

  15. Peevee is a pathological liar.

    At first, I used to think that he was merely an especially deluded moonbat, but as time has gone by he has racked up a record of outright lies that cannot be dismissed as simple dimwitted blather.

    That is not to say that his blathering isn’t also classicly dimwitted, it’s just not useful as an excuse in his case.

  16. Bigot, racist, homophobic, Islamaphobic,ect.,ect. Words Peev, like most Liberals, use when they can`t debate a point with facts.

  17. Each party has its wingnuts who will say things like “anyone who says Obama’s policies are bad for the country is racist” or “It’s un-American (or un-patriotic) to oppose the war”. They are the minority, but they’re the ones who get the most attention – from the Drudges and Huffingtons, often from the CNNs and Foxes as well (and dare I say political blog comments). They serve to alienate the rest of us from both parties. Or worse, we end up identifying with a political party not because of the validity of its ideas but because we take the attacks personally.

    I both oppose the war and many of Obama’s policies. Yet I find I sometimes react defensively to the “you’re un-patriotic” argument. My emotional reaction to Bachmann’s statement was “Is there some hidden meaning here? Does she think _I_ should be investigated for opposing the war?” When Obama made his “clinging to guns and religion” statement, my emotional reaction was “oops that was a dumb thing to say – I can’t imagine he really meant it that way”. I find that kind of stuff influencing my vote, year in and year out, but I don’t want it to. (Why do I have those emotional reactions? I blame my parents).

    The thing is, it’s not what matters. We should be debating the issues. Was the bailout the right thing to do? How much longer should we be in Iraq and how many troops should be there? Should the government be encouraging school choice? And the wingnuts keep dragging us back into voting for the party that insults us the least, not for the candidate we agree with.

  18. “even when it’s moderate, thoughtful dissent”

    Jeff, as in: “George W. Bush is worse than Adolf Hitler”?

    as in: “Guantanamo Bay is worse than North Korea”?

    Now, I am NOT saying that we should ban flag-burning or fire unpatriotic college professors- just making the observation that some Americans hold their country in extremely low esteem (and wish we’d never even revolted against the British in the 18th century)- and that during an election cycle, it’s fair to point that out.

    And actually, on many college campuses today I would say that patriotism itself is the “highest form of dissent”.

  19. Nobody’s probably reading this thread anymore, but I thought I’d respond to a few comments.

    Terry wrote: “Can you give examples of someone authoritative saying that dissent is unamerican? Or that believing America could be better than it is now is a hateful attack on our country?”

    No, I can’t. I’m speaking about my own personal experience speaking with conservative activists. Basically, the leadership sets the tone, and the partisans bring it too far.

    Incidentally, the liberals are certainly not immune to this. I don’t believe that people who disagree with Obama are racists, although I certainly understand that it’s a standard line of attack from Democrats. I think that sucks. This liberal would prefer to talk issues.

    Matthews absolutely baited Bachmann, but come on — that’s his job! You could clearly see her trying not to take the bait, then for some reason, her resolve just broke down and she freaked out.

  20. Jeff,

    What is it that makes one patriotic? Why is someone proud to be American? What makes America America? What do you point to & say “see, I’m proud to be American?”

  21. What do I “point to”? Man, I don’t even really know how to answer that question. Am I supposed to say I point to flying an American flag, or wearing a flag pin? Is that proof? Am I required to show proof?

    I’ll answer the last part of that question, i.e. the part pertaining to me personally. The answer is different for each person, and I’m not at all comfortable with answering your broader questions, as if there’s a specific, predefined list of actions and behaviors that can qualify one as a proud American.

    First of all, let me reiterate that I think it’s highly strange that I need to have something to point to in order to PROVE my patriotism. I’ve never thought about it before.

    Off the top of my head, if I needed to point to something, it would be my blog and my political activism. I sure as hell don’t do those things for the $.50 per day that I make off of my blog. Why do I do it? Because I believe in contributing to the marketplace of ideas in this country. Because I believe the ideas that myself and other liberals have will help this country continue to grow and prosper.

    How about my volunteer work for Kids Voting Minneapolis? I believe, perhaps more than anything, in the importance of Democracy and voting. We take it for granted in this country, and I’m always shocked that so few of us actually vote. I’ve volunteered for Kids Voting at every election since the program started in 2004, and it’s great to see young kids feel like they are involved in the American tradition of voting.

    I wonder if you’re really getting at “Is it patriotic to oppose one’s leaders?” Absolutely, it is. ….or maybe you’re not asking that; I really have no idea.

  22. “Am I supposed to say I point to flying an American flag, or wearing a flag pin? Is that proof? Am I required to show proof?”

    Jeff, Mr. Shirt asked:

    “Why is someone proud to be American? What makes America America? What do you point to & say ‘see, I’m proud to be American?'”

    He did not ask you to “prove” your patriotism. And since you’re unable to answer even these simple questions (w/o crying “Fascists!!”), we can safely assume that you’re not exactly in love with your country.

    And that’s OK, Jeff- but it’s also OK for us to criticize your views at our leisure- just as you have the Constitutional right to embarrass yourself in public, we in turn have the same right to make fun of you for it.

  23. Jeff Rosenberg said:

    “Is it patriotic to oppose one’s leaders? Absolutely, it is.”

    pa·tri·ot·ic : adj. Feeling, expressing, or inspired by love for one’s country.

    I think, given the definition of the word, that opposing one’s leaders can be patriotic, but “absolutely, it is”? No. A person can oppose leadership for a host of reasons that are not at all patriotic.

    Simply: A patriot loves his or her country. There can be a million things a patriot doesn’t like about their country, but they still love it.

    There are many good reasons to love the U.S.A., and our conversation here is among them.

  24. Jeff Rosenberg-
    You wrote-
    “I’m afraid, though, that all too often over the past eight years liberals have heard that dissent is NOT American, even when it’s moderate, thoughtful dissent. We’ve been told that believing America could be better than it is right now is a hateful attack on our country.”

    And you follow up by noting that this is not the ‘official’ GOP line but that you’ve heard this from conservative activists. I don’t know what you’ve heard but I would disregard it. By the rule of “the leadership sets the tone, and the partisans bring it too far.”, the dem leadership is responsible for everything leftist activists do or say. You can’t reach a reasonable conclusion about a political party that way.

    And Jeff, patriotism is love of country. Love of the real country, not the country it might become. That isn’t blind acceptance of America as it is. Chesterton said it best:
    ‘My country, right or wrong’ is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’
    Too often liberals remind of a parent who heaps abuse on a slovenly child for not living up to the parent’s expectations. Saying “You are a terrible disappointment. Do this and I will love you”. is very different from saying “I love you and I always will. Please show me that my love is a good and right thing.”

  25. If you’re liberal, are you anti-American? Not necessarily, although there are plenty of them out there! I believe most liberal, left-wing illuminatis are anti-American, especially Jeremiah Wright and Ayers! Most of us love our country, but the two mentioned above are out to destroy us!

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