I caught an essay by right wing writer and attack dog, Jonah Goldberg, in the National Review, and it moved me to write. The article basically attacked the "O" man and his unity message as phony, and drew a line in the sand between patriots and folks who he considers the anti American left.
Now let me say for the record, that I hold Jonah Goldberg in the same regard as I do a Chinese toy inspector. But he is a highly respected writer and thinker on the right, and every now and then it's good to respond to these types of essays.
Goldberg trashes the "O" man for talking about what is to him (Goldberg), a false message of unity. He asks: "What the heck do do these words mean? Unity for what, around what?" He is angry that democrats, and more specifically, Obama, uses the word "unity" instead of patriotism. Goldberg prefers patriotism. He thinks democrats suffer from "anticipatory offense" when confronted about the patriotism issue. He quotes another right wing wacko, Fred Barnes, who calls the democratic reaction to the patriotic challenge, "patriotic paranoia". And he spends a great deal of time and energy ripping one of my favorite quotes: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." He thinks it's "foolish", and he questions its origins and its relevance. This sarcastic quote from John Sullivan is supposed to drive home his point:"Dissent is the highest form of patriots, treason is the highest form of dissent. Therefore treason is the highest for of patriotism." Ha ha ha ha
Clearly to Mr. Goldberg liberals are not patriots. People who want unity and not patriotism do not have America's best interest at heart. The folks on the left are somehow apologist for the darker more evil governments that populate the world. And to drive home this point, he quotes conservative icon and the newly departed William Buckley, who was appalled that folks tried to compare and find a moral equivalency between Russia and the USA. "If one man pushes an old lady into an oncoming bus, and another pushes the old lady out of the way we should not condemn them both as men who push old ladies around." Okay cute, but I want to know who is driving the damn bus that almost ran down the lady old lady in the first place. If our government had something to do with the driver of the bus, who cares if it was our government that pushed the little old lady out of the way?
Goldberg takes great offense to the left always labeling right wingers as fascist. Fascism, he insists, was not about patriotism, but nationalism. "Hitler himself insisted he was no patriot, but a nationalist. The USA was created as a nation dedicated to limited government and individual rights. Fascist nationalism is almost the complete opposite of patriotism." Unity according to Mr. Goldberg means nothing and has no value or worth (Sorry "O" man). "The only value in unity is strength, strength in numbers, and again that is a fascist value." Hmmmm, Obama the fascist? Because he sure has the numbers. Mr. Goldberg describes the "fasces" symbol as a "bundle of sticks" , and he goes on to describe the types of atrocities that can be created under the bundle: The SS, the Mafia, and the lynch mobs of old.
Yes, but all of these groups came together under a specific and dangerous belief system. Blacks are inferior, honor a blood code even if it means committing crimes, exterminate the Jews. Numbers is fine with the right belief system, it's when that belief system becomes corrupted or co opted by those with ill intentions that unity becomes a bad thing. Jonah, I honestly don't think that there is any evil lurking in the "O" man's heart. Now yours, on the other hand, I am not so sure about.
Goldberg has the nerve to say that Socrates, Jesus, and Thomas More were ostracised in the name of unity. No Jonah, they were ostracized because they were different and they dared to challenge the status quo. Something that many of these faux patriots and right wing bloggers and writers, like you never tolerated. Especially while your leaders were in power.
Jonah thinks that the founding fathers dedicated a lot of thought to unity. And that they thought that it should be viewed with scepticism. Thus, he says, the constitution was designed to "thwart the basic forms of unity" He argues for the divisiveness of the checks and balance system of our government. I agree with him there of course. I just wonder where he was, and why he wasn't writing these types of essays when his party controlled all three branches of our government at once. Wasn't much checks or balances going on then now was there Jonah? But I guess they were all patriots , so it was alright.
Goldberg argues: "Rightly ordered unity in a democratic republic is the end result of ceaseless debates and discussions. But today ceaseless debates and discussions is what many liberals object to". I see, but why should liberals even discuss or debate with you? And why should they compromise their beliefs? You won't compromise yours. Isn't this what this entire beef with the "O" man is about? You think he is asking you to compromise your belief system so that he can promote his far left agenda?
"Obama proclaimed in 2007. 'My problem in this race is not rival candidates, it's cynicism'. His insistence that divisiveness is his greatest enemy is belied by the fact that he is unwilling to repudiate Jeremiah Wright. Meanwhile Obama sees nothing wring with demonizing Geraldine Feraro--or even his own grandmother-- for crass political purposes." Ouch! And on it goes throughout the entire essay. Obama's unity message is an "illusion". Obama's rival, he says, is not the other candidates, but patriotism.
Jonah, you just made a hell of an argument for folks like me who don't want to unify with your ass. Liberty is a great goal, but liberty with a belief in what? And if we have to unify under the banner that you and those of your ilk call patriotism, I think I will pass. So as a result, I will pass on the "O" man's unity message too, because it would mean unifying with you. And it's a shame, because were it not for folks like you on the other side, his message would have actually had a shot.