It would appear the minions have their marching orders. This morning on Air America, Stacy Taylor was filling in for Lionel and he said there had been these “stealth calls” at the beginning of most Air America shows, before the host had even set the agenda for the show, where someone would want to talk about Barak Obama’s patriotism (or lack of it).
Yesterday on the Randi Rhodes show, Sam Seder was filling in, and right at the beginning of the show he took a call from an older woman who complained that Americans should be careful about voting for Obama because he was working with Al Qaeda. She cited the traditional reasons — Obama not putting his hand over his heart during the playing of the National Anthem, Obama not wearing a “flag lapel pin,” and most of all, the picture of Obama in traditional Somali tribal garb during a visit to Kenya. The caller referred to this as “Muslim dress.”
The woman was pretty incredulous, and tried to constantly talk over Sam, who reminded her that it is the pledge of allegiance where you’re supposed to put your hand over your heart, not the Star Spangled Banner. He also noted that the origin of wearing the American flag lapel pin was during the Watergate hearings, when people in the Nixon administration, testifying on his behalf, wore such pins, with the end result being that those who were essentially condoning criminal activity were wearing these pins in an attempt to look “honorable” and “patriotic.”
He then pointed out something very eloquently — something that isn’t said nearly enough these days, and something which I will attempt to state perhaps less eloquently here.
Of course we know that the measure of an American’s patriotism or love for this country is not found in how many patriotic bumper stickers he or she puts on the car, or how many American flags they display. That’s the easy thing to do. The tough thing is to stand up and fight when the laws we have set forth for ourselves — as Americans — for freedom, justice, etc. are challenged. It is the belief in these laws and guidelines that make us Americans. It’s not the symbol, it’s the belief.
So why is it that when people are against warrantless wiretapping, they are called enemies of this country? They must want the terrorists to win, right? Why is it when people complain about the repeal of Habeas Corpus, and are outraged by the fact our very own former Chief Justice said that Habeas Corpus is not a right given under the Constitution for even US Citizens, they are siding with the people who hate this country? Why is it when people speak out against the CIA’s secret detention areas or when people speak out against torture methods like waterboarding, they are siding with the terrorists?
How did it come to be this way, and how is it that we, as liberals who love this country, have allowed certain truly unpatriotic organizations and people who have no respect for the laws on which this country was founded, to define us as enemies of the state, as unpatriotic, as siding with the terrorists?
Why aren’t we being more offensive about this?
And instead of Obama and Clinton going along with the mindless questions that Brian Williams and Tim Russert ask them, why don’t they take the time to say how ridiculous it is that we have to even give any airtime to what should be a quick dismissal of questions of patriotism?
RUSSERT: “Senator Obama — I heard Louis Farrakhan supports you. Does that mean you’re a jew-hating bastard?”
OBAMA: “Why yes, Tim. I hate jews, I hate Israel. I thought I had made that very clear.”
You’ll notice that neither one of the MSNBC “hosts” has ever asked John McCain about his courting of John Hagee’s endorsement. Nor will they probably ask him about his comments that he was “very pleased to have the endorsement of pastor John Hagee.” So who is John Hagee? If you haven’t heard of him, he’s the bigoted “Christian” wackjob that just wants to attack Iran to bring about the return of Jesus Christ, and who said Hurricane Katrina was god’s punishment on a sinful New Orleans. Just as an aside, I always wonder why, if god is still in the smiting business, why he doesn’t level some sin haven like Ibiza, or the Netherlands (don’t they have legal drugs and prostitution there)? Seems like there are much more decadent places to destroy, but I digress.
Oh yeah, and not only is John Hagee trying to bring about the end of the world, he’s also apparently pretty upset with Catholicism. Something about how it’s ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’” (for actual video of Hagee talking about the evils of the Catholic Empire, click here)
In fact, Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League has been making the talk show and blogosphere rounds denouncing Hagee for his hateful rhetoric, and McCain for saying he was “pleased” to be endorsed by this guy. The Catholic League also put out a statement condemning McCain for honoring Hagee with the title, “the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement.” [emphasis mine]
So let’s see what’s worse, and which is more worthy of a simple question, say, on Sunday morning, when John McCain takes his weekly seat on Meet The Press — the fact that Louis Farrakhan endorsed Barak Obama, even though Obama did not court the minister and renounced on the air whatever he needed to renounce according to Russert and Williams, or the fact that one John McCain actively courted an anti-Catholic wackball who wants to hurry the rapture along by bombing Iran? And when the guy finally DOES endorse McCain, McCain announced he’s “pleased” with the endorsement! (for video of John McCain saying he was pleased with Hagee’s endorsement, click here)
You’d think Russert would be first in line to ask John a few questions about that, eh? Nope. Instead, we get more hypotheticals that have nothing to do with reality from Mr. Russert: “Senator Clinton — when we leave Iraq and everything goes south, will you go back in?”
CLINTON: “Wait a minute, Tim, that’s a hypotheti–”
RUSSERT: “No, it’s a fact, Mrs. Clinton.”
Oh it’s a FACT? Why don’t we talk about what would happen if little green men came down and invaded Providence, Rhode Island? What would Senator Clinton do then??
When are they going to stop answering such stupid questions, particularly when these mindless hosts seem intent on giving Republicans a free ride when it comes to things like this at the same time they try to nail Democrats to the wall on them?
I think America is waiting for Obama or Clinton to say, “Look — we can sit here an talk about who is more patriotic because they have more pins, or because they have more bumper stickers on their car, or we can get back to re-establishing the laws upon which this country was founded and we can start behaving like Americans again instead of scared, vengeful little people who aren’t asked to do anything except go out and buy shit.”
It’s time we start putting these people in their place and stop catering to them. It’s time we put a stop to all this chatter, all this bullshit, and start restoring this country to its former glory. Let’s make it known to the world that change is coming, that we had a brief identity crisis, and that we’re going to start righting our ship and try to hold ourselves to the standard that our founders believed we could hold ourselves to, in spite of what adversities we may face as a nation.
The late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote in 1972, “The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis … This is a country which stands tallest in troubled times, a country that clings to fundamental principles, cherishes its constitutional heritage, and rejects simple solutions that compromise the values that lie at the roots of our democratic system.”
Bush’s answer to this? “After the chaos and carnage of September 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers.”
We need a leader who is not going to appeal to the basest of human nature, or who will be flippant with our long-held, cherished ideals.
It’s time we started standing tall once again.