Friday, July 04, 2008

Why are we so insecure about our country?

On this the birthday of our country I have but one question: Why have we become so insecure? Why are we so afraid of possibly negative truths? Why can't we talk about real issues and not just reject them out of hand? Now I know that the media (in its obsession for political gossip) highlights and treats real questions as sound bites. For example, last week when Gen. Wesley Clark raised a perfectly legitimate question about how McSame's experience in Vietnam (heroic as it might have been) prepares him for the presidency it becomes the meat of political gossip. In any sane world it would have been treated as a legitimate question. The pundits could only focus on how the comment would affect the campaign. Not on whether his Vietnam experience prepares him for the presidency or, in fact, combined with his personality makes him the absolute wrong person for the job.

The same is true of Michelle Obama's saying that her husband's winning the primaries was the first time she was proud of her country. As a Black woman, how much was there for her to be proud of. Why can't we treat it as a legitimate heartfelt comment instead of a negative sound bite? Can we learn anything from the questions raised by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or must we treat him only as a loudmouthed racist?

I can't explain our insecurity - but somehow we have to face it.

A Native American activist we used to know would say that when we paved over the land we lost touch with what was real. Or maybe independent journalist Greg Palast has part of the answer:
Bush is so far away from his refugee loser roots that he just doesn’t get what it is to be American. So he steals the one thing that every American is handed off the boat: a chance. When they take away your Social Security and overtime and tell you sleeper cells are sleeping under your staircase, you don't take a chance, you lose your chance, and the land of opportunity becomes a landscape of fear and suspicion, an armed madhouse.
Whatever the reason for our insecurity, we have to deal with it. Under the present circumstances our political candidates can't be honest with us. And as I have said before, without truth and honesty on the part of our leaders democracy is impossible.

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