17 October 2008

My apologies for the absence, such a delay, but back again I am with a reminder

I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views. That's what the American people are concerned about. That’s why they want to know what his answers are. Two of [his] three mentors are Father Pfleger and Jeremiah Wright. Now, these are very strange, anti-American mentors. Barack Obama has been associating with anti-Americans, by and large─the people who are radical leftists. That's the real question about Barack Obama.

─ Michele Bachmann (R) ─ Minnesota


And thus, in context:


List of photos (from top to bottom, left to right):

- Katrina, 2005.
- Aftermath, Hiroshima, 1945.
- God bless America, my home sweet home, ca. 1960s.
- McCarthy to Truman, 1950.
- The sweet blossoming of napalm, 1972.
- Hello Baghdad, 2006.
- Ah, sweet land of liberty: Abu Ghraib, 2006.


brother man said...

Alright, I will take the bait.

While I am not offended by this post in the manner you might have intended, I am nevertheless troubled by its message.

It is no secret that our past is riddled with violence, hatred, and hypocrisy. Despite our past, the ideals of freedom and democracy, as well as the governmental framework we established for furthering those ideals, elevated the rights of the individual to an unprecedented level. While the system is by no means perfect, the rights and opportunities now provided to everyone certainly exceed what any peasant during the feudalistic era could have dare imagined.

Unfortunately, the success we have achieved has breathed an air of infallibility into our mindset and caused us to view the rest of the world as inferior. Armed with this new superiority complex, we now reject anyone considered to embody “anti-American" behavior – domestic or abroad.

Many of us realize the fallacy of the American superiority complex and strongly desire to move in a different direction, both with this election and beyond. In my view, your blog is an attempt to do so by undermining the very basis for the complex. This tactic troubles me, however, because I believe it differs little from the negative and cynical tactics perpetuated by those who wave the flag of American superiority.

I believe our role as Americans is to strive in unison for a better America and a better world. We will not succeed in this endeavor by simply trying to destroy the basis for those who believe America is eternally superior. This is where we have failed in the past, and this is at least partly why a divisive split now exists in our country.

I believe that we need to take the lead and help rebuilt the Union without tearing down those who disagree, however difficult that process may be.

Otherwise, we will drown in our differences.

Duck said...

I don't see how this post tears anyone down (except perhaps Rep. Bachmann.) This series of images and words should remind us that our nation is not infallible, and that we have to be ever vigilant to avoid repeating history's mistakes.

Making reference to these evil periods in our history does not preclude the idea that there is also much good in our country. Despite what jingoistic politicians like Bachmann and Palin will say.

To paraphrase Steve Earle, it doesn't bother me when people call me un-American, because I have a pretty good idea that my definition of patriotism and theirs are very very different.

Anonymous said...

Well said, and I’ve been thinking about that too, although I should say I don’t think my blog is an attempt move anyone in a different direction by “undermining or criticizing the basis for the American superiority complex.” I do believe, however, that the American superiority complex should be scrutinized in a number of different contexts and by using a number of different methods, because it is that very complex that has in many ways justified our government’s own use of terrorism abroad and our continued suppression of poor and minority people at home—particularly under certain administrations. The American superiority complex has also given rise to a very one-sided and dangerous definition of what it means to be “pro-American” versus “anti-American,” as reflected most recently in Palin’s comments about some pockets of the United States being more pro-American than others and in Bachmann’s disturbing, McCarthy-like call for hearings, basically, to determine which members of Congress are pro-American and which ones aren’t. The ramifications of these attitudes and developments are terrifying. That said, I understand the basis for your concern and agree wholeheartedly with your call to move past these divisions, but I do not believe that it is in any way accurate to extend the argument that you seem to be making for this particular post on Wright to my entire blog. And maybe that’s not your intention. Nevertheless…

In specific regard to the Wright post, the purpose here was to preempt the inevitable discourse that I believe we will see emerge from conservatives that link Obama to one of the most controversial “anti-Americans” in the United States today. The post was intended to remind readers in an admittedly provocative way that 1) there are very legitimate and profound reasons to be “anti-American” (which of course could also be construed as “pro-American,” or, if you prefer, “patriotic”), particularly if you’re not white, and that 2) context is everything. When one thinks of Wright, for instance, all they think of is the phrase “goddamn America,” which in isolation sounds as bad as the right has made it sound. In a culture where context is continually distorted and/or abbreviated, particularly in a culture as divided as ours, taking things out of context can lead to very bad things. In my opinion, the only way to move forward as a unified nation is to study and remember what has happened in our collective past—and to be inclusive and expansive in our analyses. By no means do I believe that Wright’s rhetoric is the best way to tackle this subject, but I do believe that he has an honest case to make and that the examples he brings up need to be discussed, especially in light of this “pro-American” hogwash.