Admitting that the United States is imperfect is not the same as being "anti-American."
States like Minnesota are getting a lot of attention these days as we close in on the final two weeks of the race for the presidency. Political parties and the media alike are looking at the states that could swing the election one way or another. Unfortunately this week one of Minnesota's representatives (and I use that term loosely) Michele Bachmann found a national stage on Chris Matthews' Hardball to fan the flames of Sarah Palin's recent incendiary statements.
Steve Perry, writing for The Minnesota Independent, had this to say about the interview:
"Following Rep. Michele Bachmann's appearance with Chris Matthews [Friday], America is learning what many in Minnesota already knew, which is that putting Bachmann in front of a live microphone is like handing an excitable 15-year-old a bottle of gin and a loaded gun. The only question is when something unspeakable is going to happen."
What seems to be getting the most attention (even prompting a challenge for Bachmann's Congressional seat from within the GOP) is Bachmann's call for the media to investigate members of Congress to see which ones may have "anti-American views."
The problem with statements like this, as well as Sarah Palin's "Our opponent is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists... " is that they allow Americans to never have to learn from the past and change for the better. If something is already perfect then there is no reason to change it.
These statements are in direct contradiction with anything these leaders of the GOP might say about future change. When Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann claim to know that mistakes have been made and, therefore, changes need to be made, well, that is contradictory to the idea of perfection. Either something is perfect or it is imperfect. And (spoiler alert) nothing, including America, is perfect. Therefore, stating that you want to change what is wrong with it should not be seen as being in opposition to loving it.
When we strive for the best possible version of something, we are refusing to sell it short. When we say that the U.S., like everything else, is imperfect, that it needs to be worked on--in order to learn from where we have been and end up in a better place--that in no way should be seen negatively.
And it certainly should not be seen as anti-American. Allowing the country to continue down the same path, deeper and deeper into failure, should, however, be seen that way.
Crossposted at Guernica Magazine
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- David Luke Doody
- David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.
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