It's a funny way that those on the right define 'American.'
Last week, Sarah Palin made the comment that she thinks that some parts of the country are 'more American' than others. The exact quote, made in North Carolina last week is that she praised areas where she was as the, "pro-America areas of this great nation"
That sentiment is not confined to Palin however.
On MSNBC's hardball, Chris Matthews asked Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann about Palin's comments and about Senator Obama in particular. Not only did Bachmann agree and say that Obama may have 'anti-American views,' but she went farther, calling on the media to look at members of Congress to "find out, are they pro-America or anti-America."
Then Republican congressman Robin Hayes of North Carolina last week said that liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God. Hayes originally denied saying that until he was confronted by an audiotape of the speech.
It's even gone to the state level. McCain advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer said that Northern Virginia is 'not the real Virginia.' She said that "I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia....But the rest of the state, 'real Virginia,' if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message "
This view shows the elitism of the right. After years of listening to cranks on the radio scream that anyone who disagrees with their narrow view of America is actually anti-American and trying to destroy, not change, America-- this view has permeated the minds of otherwise rational people. They actually believe (or why would this attitude come out four times within a week) that liberals or anyone else who has a vision for America that doesn't agree with their doctrinaire conservative view is actually anti-American, or at least not sufficiently pro-American.
To some degree this is nothing new. The GOP has regularly been questioning the patriotism of people who don't happen to agree with their schemes since at least the days of McCarthy and Nixon. But the offhanded and casual ways in which these comments have rolled off the tongue recently makes me think that this whole way of thinking (i.e., 'traitor out to destroy the country' replacing 'American with whom I have a disagreement') has reached the point of being taken for granted by people in positions of responsibility on the right, that they sound like Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage without even thinking about it.
Well, I have to tell you something, jerkfusses on the right.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see people in AMERICA be able to go to a doctor without being afraid of going broke if they get sick.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see a country where when people do have to go to the hospital the focus is on getting them well, not on whether they have insurance.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see our military ready to respond immediately to any challenge, not bogged down in a stupid war that we started years ago in a small country thousands of miles away.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see war-- as costly and ugly as it is-- considered only as a last, not as a first, resort to future international problem spots.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see a country where people feel safe from their own government, and don't have to worry that someone is listening in on their phone conversations.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see the land that we live on, the air that we breathe and the water that we drink preserved and kept clean for the next generation of AMERICANS.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I don't want to see any young person who is capable of going to college and earning a degree denied that opportunity because they are too poor to be able to afford it.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want working people in AMERICA to feel secure in their jobs.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see the degreed professionals that we hire to prepare our own kids to go to college, to earn enough to send their own kids to college.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see people staying in their homes, not moving into homeless shelters in record numbers because their homes are being foreclosed on and their credit is too poor to even qualify for a rental contract.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see my country respected-- not just feared but respected and trusted and listened to again in the world.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see us take the lead again in scientific research.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see us develop renewable sources of energy so that we don't need to use all that oil anymore (and therefore, not have to pay for it.)
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see us go back to the budget surplus we enjoyed a few years ago.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see other Americans, in Louisiana and Mississippi, get the help rebuilding their homes that was promised but more than three years later has still never been delivered.
Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see a country in which we quit trying to divide people against each other and start looking at how we can all work together for a better AMERICA.
Patriotism is not blindly following your leaders. It is questioning them and where necessary opposing them.
Memo to the right: there are more than 300 million Americans spread out all over the country. So quit trying to claim that only those who happen to support you are 'real Americans' or are 'pro-America. We are all Americans.