If you thought they were human, you’d almost have to feel sorry for the ridiculous people who populate the right-wing radio and blog echo chamber. Last year, they lost their White House mentor, Karl Rove, who kept them supplied with talking points and message assignments. After spending months (no – years) on the "Stop Hillary Express" and flirting with losers like Giuliani, Thompson (both of them) and (holding their noses) Romney, they ended up with the inconveniently off-message John McCain as the GOP nominee. Rudderless and clueless, they flopped around on the deck of the U.S.S. Nutbag like so many netted fish, looking for a way back to the shrinking pond of their own relevance.
As I predicted several times, they have found some of their annoying, tinny voices again by finding a fresh canvass to paint on. Now that Barack Obama is the frontrunner and likely Democratic (or, as they say so cleverly, "Democrat") nominee, they are falling all over themselves finding different ways to say "liberal", "unaccomplished" and "scarily inspirational". The same radio comedians who, just weeks ago (when she was still winning), were recoiling in awe at how unbeatable Obama would be compared with the damaged Hillary are chuckling in unison at the now-hapless would-be messiah from Illinois (via Kenya and Kansas). When they are not devising hilarious comedy routines surrounding variations on his funny name (Obarama, Obamuslim, Obamalamadingdong, etc. - stop, yer killing me), they are comparing his potential leadership to that of Jimmy Carter and George McGovern, which, I’m guessing, they do not mean as a compliment.
And now, displaying the charm and class you always knew they possessed, they are going after Michelle Obama. While still in Wisconsin last week, Michelle had the nerve to say that she was "proud" or "really proud" of her country for the first time in her adult life because "I think people are hungry for change". This led to all sorts of caterwauling on the right that echoed through the mainstream media for the rest of the week, and even into the Sunday morning talk shows this weekend.
Obama was judged guilty of the sin of un-pride. All over mainstream radio and right-wing blogs, the self-righteous took turns waxing sanctimonious about how proud she should be. Those whose job it is to be proud of the pride that they had were proud to be as proud as they were and outraged by her un-American unpride. They made lists of pridefull things that she should be proud of. "What is that matter with her that she was not proud of [insert favorite jingo moment]."
Many of the things mentioned had nothing to do with being an American. Rescues of babies in wells and miners in caves are accomplished by first-responders all over the world everyday, but, somehow, when it’s done in America, it’s just that much more special. I hate to tell these people who seem to need to hang on to this myth, but the fall of the Berlin Wall had very little to do with the USA, much less with Ronald Reagan. The Eastern Bloc collapsed of its own weight, not because we sat around and berated them for five decades. Some even mentioned prideful Olympic moments. I actually can’t think of any in the past 25 years – you mean like Marion Jones?
As we all know because it was discussed ad nauseam during the week, Michelle became an adult in 1982. Let’s see...1982...second year of Reagan, not a good time for anyone with any sense. After the Reagan fiasco, Bush 41, the let’s-beat-up-Clinton years and – sheesh – Junior Bush. What the hell is she supposed to be proud of? The invasions of Grenada and Panama? Private illegal support of the contra terrorists in Nicaragua? The funding of same through arms sales to Iran? The nightmare of an eight-year Republican witch-hunt of a successful Democratic president, resulting in a partisan impeachment over adultery driven by a couple of sleazy congressmen who soon thereafter had to resign over...adultery? Is she supposed to be proud about the disgusting series of Bush nightmares: Florida 2000, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Rumsfeld, swift-boating, Gonzales, Cheney, Katrina, the bankrupting of the federal government, Iraq (4,000 dead soldiers), Iraq (30,000 maimed and wounded), and more Iraq ($500 billion down the toilet and counting)?
The demanding of national pride is a phony litmus test to the right-wing charlatans who wrap themselves up in the flag because beneath they have no clothes. Those who have ransacked the nation for the sake of their own power and have been wrong about absolutely everything for the past 25 years now want you to bow to the altar of their fake patriotism and profess your allegence to their nonexistent accomplishments. What a bunch of hooey. People should not only be forgiven for recognizing that there has been far more despair than pride in recent years – they should be rewarded for their insight. They shouldn’t be browbeaten into backtracking, which Michelle O. was required to do after her "gaffe".
I remember going to a Brewers game in the spring of 1977. I found myself singing that horrible song (music-wise, dammit), The Star Spangled Banner for the first time since Watergate. Jimmy Carter was elected, and our national nightmare of Richard Nixon and the puppet who pardoned him really was over. Yes, there was change and, yes, there was hope. And, yes, I was proud that the country that I loved had turned that page. No matter which Democrat wins this year, I’ll stand at Opening Day 2009, my heart will swell and I’ll sing again. And I’ll watch the fair-weather patriots sit on their hands, mutter into their beers – and dream of darker days.