A unicorn dies every time the other side wins

The mantra of “My country, right or wrong” has, unfortunately, metastasized into something far more insidious: “My party, right or wrong.”

Along those lines, South Carolina blogger Charlie Speicht Speight, writing at The Garnet Spy, breaks out a host of shopworn bromides which he claims highlights just how far our nation has fallen. The unstated assumption is that this has occurred under the watch of President Barack Obama.

Speicht Speight puts forth a series of amorphous questions which may have few quantifiable answers but serve a larger purpose of getting red meat Republicans worked into a lather as the 2012 presidential election looms.

Consider some excerpts from Speicht’s Speight’s piece, titled “Do You Remember America?

Do you recall that magnificent, unapologetic juggernaut of democracy and freedom?

Do you remember the America that made herself into a mighty power that she used to protect the oppressed elsewhere in the world, asking for little in return?

Do you remember how America created, built, manufactured, invented, assembled, hammered, welded, bought, sold, sailed, flew, plowed, sowed, harvested and shared?

Now, let me first say America is a pretty darned good place. If it’s not the greatest country in the world, it’s in the top half-dozen. I say half-dozen because I think it depends on your criteria; but there’s little question it’s a pretty good place overall.

However, it is not now nor has it ever been a Garden of Eden. No place on this Earth is. Because man is fallible, the entities created by man must necessarily be fallible. And with fallibility comes shortcomings, blemishes and failings o’plenty.

Speicht’s Speight’s beginning – “Do you recall that magnificent, unapologetic juggernaut of democracy and freedom?” – is overwrought idealism. The US may be magnificent in many respects, but its meddling in foreign affairs over the past 60-plus years (aiding in the overthrow of democratically elected governments in South and Central America, for example), would tend to dispel any notion of it being a juggernaut of democracy. Jim Crow laws aren’t anything to brag about, either.

The question, “Do you remember the America that made herself into a mighty power that she used to protect the oppressed elsewhere in the world, asking for little in return?” is similarly simplistic. Like any other practitioner of realpolitik, the US asks for plenty in return for protecting the oppressed. How else could it justify the lives and expense it puts on the line, not to mention protect its own interests?

Then there’s this canard: “Do you remember how America created, built, manufactured, invented, assembled, hammered, welded, bought, sold, sailed, flew, plowed, sowed, harvested and shared?” This is a favorite of those who yearn for the days, say, when the US made 90 percent of automobiles manufactured in the world. Those were also the days when the average worker brought home $4,000 a year.

And the fact is, we still do all of the above; we just create, build, manufacture, etc., higher-end products, as opposed to anvils and steam locomotives. Furthermore, unlike 60 years ago, we make trucks and automobiles across a much broader spectrum of the nation.

In addition, Silicon Valley and similar hi-tech hot spots in Texas, Massachusetts and other parts of the country are turning out electronic gadgetry that is the envy of every other nation in the world. And one need only get outside the cities to see plenty of Americans still plowing, sowing and harvesting.

A few other interesting questions raised by Speicht Speight:

  • “Do you remember when America was hated by men of evil because we threatened their intent, and not by countries that question her commitment?”

Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un aren’t exactly lining up for tee times with President Obama at the Congressional Country Club.

  • “Do you remember when America’s Founding Fathers were revered as visionary pioneers of liberty and not reviled as ‘a bunch of old white men?’”

No, not really. Folks have been crabbing about “Old White Men” since at least 1920. Of course, when you enslave blacks, exterminate Indians and fail to give women the franchise, you’re bound to open yourself up to second guessing, no matter how good a country you create.

  • “Do you remember the America that cherished and not challenged religious freedom?”

Umm, are we talking about the same country that once burned witches, chased dissenters from established communities and can still look askance when folks from an unusual faith set up shop nearby?

  • “Do you remember when you could watch the news in America and not have facts washed out by political ideology?”

Would that have been before or after Walter Cronkite is supposed to have altered the American public’s opinion of US involvement in Vietnam with his comments on the CBS Evening News?

  • “Do you remember when it was safe for children to play outdoors until dark and walk to school by themselves – and be safe in those schools?”

The deadliest attack on a US school took place in … 1927.

  • “Do you remember the American soul?”

Ah, the good old “American soul.” The same soul that those who put ideology before all else believes only surfaces in full bloom when their party is in power, then comes under withering and wilting attack as soon as the opposing party takes office?

To Speicht’s Speight’s credit, he does through in some caveats regarding America’s past: “She was never perfect. … We need to remember that she hasn’t always treated all of her citizens equally and that prejudices, corruption, greed and vanity have left their stains on her history.”

But then he hurtles full force back into the land of platitudes with doggerel better suited for the baseball movie Field of Dreams:

Through all the sad and dark times, self-imposed or forced upon her, America has been good. Though, at times she has tolerated her own injustices, she has been sought for justice by peoples around the world. For over two hundred years, America’s destiny has been the providence of liberty and freedom for millions of people around the globe.

And America’s fate – her future – is yours to decide.

Don’t ever forget that.

All in all, a whole lot of fluff with very little substance. Something along the lines of, “Things were great once, and they can be again. If, that is, we do something, like get rid of that guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., followed closely by his minions in Congress.”

Speicht Speight and those like him seem positive that the Grand Old Party is driven solely by public interest, wants only what’s best for all Americans and is made up of selfless paragons who would put Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Marshall to shame if just given free rein.

And two years from now, should Obama be replaced by Mitt Romney in the Oval Office, there will be numerous individuals from the other side of the aisle penning similar pieces, blaming Republicans for all our nation’s woes.

Now that’s the America I remember.

4 thoughts on “A unicorn dies every time the other side wins

  1. It’s very unfortunate that so much of the politics is reduced to silly shenanigans like this, rather than real issues. Any platform that mostly relies on “kick the other guy out” can’t be too productive.

    • Yet, it’s been a successful strategy for a long, long time. Unfortunately. You’d think folks would wake up and realize rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic didn’t make any difference in the end.

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