10/22/2007

If You're Looking For The Jokey-Joke, This Ain't Your Post...

Alright. Enough's enough.

I was reading a post at Crooks & Liars about something that conservative bozo Glenn Beck said regarding the fires in Southern California. You can see the full post HERE, but here's part of it:
On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, “I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.”
I thought this seemed dumb, even by wingnut standards, so I followed the link to Media Matters to get the full context. Feel free to read it if you like.

Here's the thing. I am never going to tell someone they hate America. Not even the most vile of hatemongers - O'Reilly, Coulter, or Mr. Beck. Know why? Because it's fucking stupid and lazy and it makes us all dumber for hearing it.

I'm sure I'm one of the people that would be labeled an "America Hater" by most of these types. It's probably because I don't buy into patriotic bullshit. Like my oft-quoted comic guru Bill Hicks would say when asked if he was proud to be an American, "Well, my parents fucked here. I didn't have much to do with it." It's so arbitrary. I could have just as easily been born in Paris or Kabul. But since I'm here, I'm gonna try and make it the kind of country I want it to be - a peaceful place that treats its citizens and the rest of the world fairly and otherwise leaves me the fuck alone. I'd like to think I'd do the same no matter what country I was born in.

So, if you're going to say America is hateable, let's ask ourselves, "What is America?"

At its core, America (or, more accurately, the United States.) is a defined area of land. I find it hard to hate something like that. Sure, there are some real shitholes around the country, but usually that's the fault of people, not the land itself.

If you want to get philosophical, you could try to argue that America is a concept - a state-of-mind. If pressed, I think most people believe the most important component of the concept of America is the idea of freedom and personal liberty. Well, I have news for them. Freedom is not uniquely American. There are countries all over the world that allow their citizens as much, if not more, personal liberty as we do. Isn't it interesting that a country so giddy about freedom locks up more people, per capita, than any other. My point is that if you hate the idea that people are free, you aren't necessarily hating America exclusively.

Some might say America is defined by our democracy. Again, many, many countries have representative government. Ours is not unique, except maybe for the fact that the person who most people vote for doesn't necessarily always win. Hating democratic governance (or whatever bastardized version of it we have) does not equal hating America exclusively.

It is out of love, not hate, that I advocate alternatives to war and violence in all instances. It is out of love that I advocate the same human rights for all people, not just the ones within our borders. It is out of love that I advocate every human's right to food, water, shelter, clothing, health care, and education. It is out of love, not hate, that I support everyone's right to exercise their free will, so long as it doesn't cause another to suffer.

You know what I find hateful? I find it hateful to take advantage of a nation's resources and infrastructure to amass personal wealth, then do everything you can to avoid paying the taxes that support that nation. I find it hateful to ask poor men and women to go and fight other poor men and women for your own personal enrichment and glory. I find it hateful to condemn others based on the perceived rules of some imaginary man in the sky. Even so, I wouldn't say people like this hate America.

They hate other things.
Things like logic.
And compassion.
And equality.
And peace.


21 comments:

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Can you hear my applause for you for this piece? Well done.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Fire away! Good post. I sorely miss Mr. Hicks.

Grant Miller said...

I probably feel about Glenn Beck how you feel about O'Really. I don't watch Fox ever, so I always miss his show. I do watch CNN so I occassionally watch Glenn Beck just so I can feel pissed off for a few minutes.

Glenn Beck - today's worst person in the world.

Spooney said...

Amen, brother! Nice post. I hate all the patriotic bullshit too. Like putting an "I support the troops" ribbon or a flag on your fucking car makes you a better American than me. I love my country (because I happen to be born here), but I'm not always proud to be an American. We've done too many awful things in our history & continue to. So that must make me a hater too.

may-b said...

Heavy. And damn impressive. Well written.

Hot Lemon said...

as per usual, you've taken 2 decades of misc. thoughts that I've had and succinctly put 'em together into something readable.

I'm jealous.

Though I'm stealing the "my parents fucked here..." line.

'Bubbles' said...

I guess I became a 'hater' very early in life. My family used to place bets together after we spent time 'orienting' new ex-patriot families time we spent with them. We all became pretty good at identifying "ugly" vs. "good" americans.

The difference? The "good" Americans demostrated the ability to tolerate vs. judge, the ability to deal with the unknown, ambiguity, differences or change.

The irony that we teach American History that says the US was founded by culturely diverse, poor immigrants, and that we are 'free' - and have become such an intolerant and judgemental population is frustrating!!

Skylers Dad said...

Best post ever! Well done Chris.

Phil said...

Amen, Brother.

cheer34 said...

great post.

Bubs said...

Well said, Chris. Great post.

Clare said...

Nodding, agreeing, applauding.

lulu said...

I've been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be an American . Thanks for this.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Most excellent post, Christ. Loving the Hicks reference.

You know what I love most about Beck's comment is that the people who are losing their homes right now are mostly in San Diego County.

In other words, Republicans.

JL said...

This is very well written and I will be sharing it.
Thanks for putting it out there.

Madam Z said...

Truer words were never spoken...so well. I wish you had your own "talk radio" show.

Coaster Punchman said...

Awesome.

mixednut said...

Wow. Just wow.

Micgar said...

Wow! Excellent and all the other superlatives that I can offer! I'd like to print this post! I think I will!
I agree with Grant-Beck needs a good couple of whacks to the head with a hammer!

Micgar said...

whoaa that came out all wrong...I meant I think Glenn Beck needs a couple whacks to the head with a hammer! Agreeing with GB is like agreeing to have a septic system's contents pumped onto your head!

Writeprocrastinator said...

Well said and of course Mr. Beck forgets that his fellow members of the John Birch Society live in Orange and San Diego Counties.