Monday, October 20, 2008

Bachmann, Obama, and America

First, a confession: I'm not from Minnesota. As such, I admit I'd never heard of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann until last Friday, when she appeared on MSNBC's political show "Hardball". Two things from that incident particularly stand out: her concern that Obama "may have anti-American views" and her wish that "the American media would take a great look at the views of people in Congress and find out are they pro-America or anti-America".

Now, I'm no mind-reader, but it seems to me that what Bachmann's really saying here is that liberals fall squarely into the anti-American camp, while she and her conservative cohorts stand firmly on the side of baseball, apple pie, and the American flag. But since when has affiliation with the opposite political party made one an enemy of one's country? Bachmann's comments, perhaps more so than anything else this election season, epitomize a major problem in the current political climate: the idea that Americans can be classified as either patriots or traitors on the basis of their political support. Liberals and conservatives may disagree, but therein lies the beauty of democracy, and to discourage these differences by throwing around terms like "pro-America" and "anti-America" does our nation no favors. Such a black-and-white mentality will not strengthen and unite us; no, it will only drive us farther apart, and its use by a woman with a distaste for the anti-American makes the situation oh-so-ironic indeed.

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