Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm a Real American -- Oh, Wait. I Guess Not.

Over the past several days, I've been asking myself a very important question: Am I pro-America or anti-America? I mean, apparently, according to Sarah Palin and Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann , this country is full of people who are NOT pro-America. I mean, I guess I'd always thought of myself as being pretty patriotic, but all this talk and accusations thrown at people I would consider as being pretty fond of this country got me to wondering if maybe I could be one of those villainous anti-America Americans.

Well, thank goodness Jon Stewart and the folks at The Daily Show came up with this quiz to help us all figure out just where we stand on this issue of such vital national importance.

Well, according to the math, I just might be pro-America after all. While I live in a larger town (35,000) and the average cup of coffee around here can get pretty pricey, there are no art house theatres here nor are there any streets named after Martin Luther King Jr. But once Jon moved into the second part of the quiz, it became clear that I am anti-America. I believe in the first amendment. I know what broccoli rabe is. Worst of all, I'm voting for Barack Obama.

Can you all ever forgive me? I guess I should be getting to work to pack up my belongings and head somewhere that will welcome an anti-America American like me. Where might that be? Russia? China? France? Canada? New York City?

While the above is meant largely as a joke (I'm not planning to move any time soon), it does bring up something that I think is cause for real concern amongst us all. The GOP seems to be adopting this "with us or against us" mentality that I find shocking. There's a culture war emerging as a result of this election -- pitting Americans against each other in an incredibly disturbing way. There's this idea that living in a small town or in certain parts of the country automatically create higher levels of patriotism -- and that those who live in cities don't care about the country. Why does where you live determine your patriotism? I've seen just as many flags and yellow ribbon bumper magnets in Chicago as I have in the small town where I teach. I've heard just as many people criticizing the government in that same small town as I have in the city.

What's going on here is the attempt to create this pathos of fear to terrorize people into voting for John McCain. While McCain himself has not seemed to engage in this as much as his running mate and his surrogates, the fact is that he's done nothing to shut it down. He's letting robocalls be made in his name, he's defending the "good people" who come to his rallies, and he's not telling his fembot running mate to shut the hell up and stop fearmongering. It's a cheap and dirty way to win an election, and if it works, we should all be ashamed for allowing it to happen.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Well, according to the current fearmongering, I am an anti-American who lives in fake America. And yet, after 9-11 I saw so many people put American flags on their cars here in L.A. that you could have mistaken regular traffic for a presidential motorcade. I agree; this appeal to the "us versus them" mentality is disturbing, and the reverse of what our country needs right now. We'll need all of America working together to solve our problems; what exactly does McCain think he's going to end up with on November 5th if he somehow manages to win with these tactics?