Love America?

“Conservatives” say they love America. Except, well… let’s enumerate. They hate foreigners, particularly the undocumented kind. They hate minorities, particularly poor minorities. They hate liberals. They hate LGBT people. They hate Muslims. They hate atheists, buddhists, secularists, and people of minority religions (pagans, anyone?).

They don’t seem to love America’s natural spaces, since they want to dig, drill, cut, slice, spindle, and fold anything that a dollar might be squeezed from. They hate land just sitting there being “useless.” If it’s not turning a profit, it’s worthless. They hate wild animals… shooting them even if they don’t have to. For the FUN of it.

They hate the government made up of “We, the People.” They hate government that works, doing everything they can to prevent it from working. They hate laws that say that they can’t exploit their fellow citizens. They hate regulation.

So… one question. When they say they love America, what in the hell are they talking about? They hate Americans, they hate the wild places, they hate the halls of government. They hate laws that protect the land, air, and water. They hate the agencies that make certain we get food that isn’t tainted with e-coli.

They say they love America. Except, by their own actions, it’s really hard to see any evidence of it. They love their idea of America, but it’s an America that’s never really existed.

Liberals love America, even though we recognize its flaws. It’s our home, and it’s still full of potential. Over the course of the past two and a half centuries (more or less) we’ve gone from being an agrarian country dominated by wealthy land-owners to a rollicking democratic republic that allows people of all different backgrounds to share in that particular wealth. Liberals have, all along, fought for the rights of everyone to participate. (Note that I say liberals, not “Democrats.” Because liberals are liberals, even back when there were liberals in the Republican Party as well. Back when even Republicans supported organized labor… before the southern strategy divested the Democratic Party of the racist “conservatives” that didn’t like civil rights).

It’s one thing to say “I love America.” It’s quite another thing to prove it.

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Captain America

I ran across this blog post that wanted to discuss Captain America. It was a defense of him, countering accusations that he’s somehow “cliche.”

Captain America embodies the spirit of Spidey’s catchphrase. “With great power comes great responsibility.” He was a weakling, physically impotent, and the object of much derision and abuse. Receiving the super soldier serum, he became more than a man. He became a symbol of America’s ideals. Our own version of Noblesse Oblige. It is the job of the powerful to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Cap sat out Vietnam. Did you know that? Didn’t approve of the war.

In the movies he’s clearly not thrilled about some of our recent military decisions. They fly in the face of his beliefs. America is supposed to lead by example, not by force. Not to be a bully. He loves his country, but not in a jingoistic, nationalist way. It is not beyond him to criticize it for its missteps and misdeeds.

Though Cap represents home-spun values in some respects, it is this instinct to defend that is the most important aspect of him. I don’t think it makes him 1 dimensional. If he was some kind of nationalist nut, maybe. But a man who has moral conflicts about what has been his life’s work, and the uses he and other soldiers are put to, is not a man of a single dimension.