Monday, October 27, 2008

Enemies, foreign and domestic..

The last week I called my mom. It went like this.

“Hi mom, it’s me.”

“Oh hi, how are you?”

“I have a question.”

“Okay…” Jeopardy was on, I knew I had to make it quick.

“Do we live in the “Pro-America” part of the country?” Then followed a perplexed sound from my mother and my retelling of Sarah Palin’s comments on October 17th.

Usually, I don’t like to get political on folks. To me, someone’s politics are as personal and idiosyncratic as are his views on religion and romance. My standard for all three has always been that you can believe in whatever you want to believe so long as it’s not forced on me. But when it affects me I have to act.

And so, I do.

I am one of the many personally offended by Sarah Palin’s remarks. Her insinuation, along with a lot of right wing Republican politicians like Michele (witch hunt) Bachmann, is by questioning one’s government or disagreeing with one party’s platform is somehow “un-American” and that the liberal states are somehow conspiring with our enemies. Her comments were regionalist, prejudicial, and certainly not American. I echo Jon Stewart’s remarks to Palin that “You know, New York City was good enough for &@#$ing Osama bin Laden, it better be good enough for you.”

Those of you who know me, know that I am an immigrant and a naturalized American citizen. When I was 11, my parents and I, finally and excitedly and proudly became American citizens. Here is the Oath of Citizenship we took:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Does my taking of that Oath make me more American than a person born in here? Does my choice to becoming a citizen make me more Pro-American than say Sarah Palin who did not choose to be American? It certainly makes me more American than Joe Vogler.

There is a vicious, anti-urban, anti-intellectual, isolationist bent loose in the Republican Party that comments like Palin’s and Bachmann’s feed into. While I would not call myself a John McCain supporter, I have an appreciation for any politician who votes on his conscience not his party line. By essentially recasting himself since 2006 as part of the vicious group in order to get elected president, McCain has given voters a diet of name-calling, innuendo, divisiveness and fear. What young person growing up today could ever be inspired by "pro-America" comments or calling your opponent “socialist”?

Here is what a president should sound like – inspiring and hopeful and confident:

Obama was not my first choice, but compared with McCain he is the best choice if for his temperament alone.