Before I get started proper, I can't help saying: it's not just Rumsfeld's neo-Orwellian/Vietnam redux bit on Rush Limbaugh, about how Al Qaeda's manipulations of the news biz are what's making things look so grim in the blossoming wonderland that is Iraq--that makes the teeth grind. It's that we have an American government whose principals actually appear on a piece of hate-twisted fact-twisting crap like the Limbaugh show. I know Rush is or was carried on armed services radio. Which only more shows the point. How far we have descended, here from sea to shining sea, for someone as odious as Limbaugh to be considered a legitimate source of public information? I know this is antique news; but I remain freshly staggered by it. I remain freshly staggered about why every legitimate news source doesn't bay and howl about this daily. (No need answer.)
But I want to throw one more hat into the busy ring around Joe Klein's "anti-American liberals/lefties" remarks. I get a little frustrated, frankly, by the tack of those whacking Klein over the head, even such terrific whackers (pardon the simile) as, say, Jane Smiley, who is, well, terrific. But even Jane holds up her own family experience of the American promise, there in the honest Midwest, to show she's as real an American as the next guy. And someone else posting here declared he'd back down from no one in his love of country music, gol dangit. Well and good.
But this is kind of Americana--not America. Know who loves old country music as much or more than anyone? The Scots in Scotland. Who revived the blues (heck, rock and roll)? The English. Who is the curator of the glories and profundities of Hollywood? Les French.
Look, I still speak American with a vaguely "English" accent. So does my twin brother. We came here as kids. But when my brother went over to Japan in the 80's, for the dedication of a library wing there (a university had bought my German-born father's collection of science books) he was asked to get up and sing a song at the ceremonial dinner. He sang a George Jones ballad ("He Stopped Lovin' Her Today," if memory serves me). And sang it very well no doubt, he does a super George Jones imitation.
And so what? As "American" as all that is, why do we need cite such things, as if to show our "pro-American" bona fides? How about I just declare that--like much of the world--I think the Constitution, and its promise and potential, a tremendously precious thing. Say it in Spanish, in heavily-accented English, in the languages of the world. But man oh man, the damage caused to America by this Administration--how much more "anti-American" can you get? Abetted by the execrable lackeys in Congress, and the celebrity-brained worthless enablers in the media.
And what about the citizens who voted for all this? What did George Soros say?: Bush's first election was about him; his second election is about America. Something to ponder.
In Barcelona I know a guy who was a nightlife reporter for one of the papers. He hung out with all the American rockers when they came roaring and snorting through town. He still likes to blast Ted Nugent as he drives, singalonging at full throat in unrecognizable pidgin. Two years ago he said to me, Please, America can do whatever it wants--just build a big fence around it and stay inside. And then please, you do whatever you want.
That's what a lot of the world is thinkin', Joe.