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Does liberalism equal anti-Americanism?

By Trevor Bothwell
web posted May 13, 2004

The more I try to convince myself that liberals truly have America's best interests at heart, the harder it becomes. Whether it's the constant chants of "quagmire," the endless whining about Bush's "lies," or all the contradictory bellyaching about stealing Mideast oil amidst rising gasoline prices, there's nothing that brings out liberals' true colors quite like war.

So I'm just going to come right out and say it. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I find myself wondering constantly if liberalism isn't really de facto anti-Americanism. No, really. I'm not just talking run-of-the-mill Bush hatred here. I'm beginning to believe this is a condition of membership before they issue you your club card.

How dare I think such a thing, you ask? Well, before I'm condemned to the gates of hell, let me explain.

Suggestions of this nature always tend to raise the ire of many a liberal, no doubt eliciting accusations of jingoism, "intolerance," and the like. But regardless of its appearance, this isn't a cheap ploy to score shock-value points. Nor do I prefer to have to question the devotion of many Americans to their country. Unfortunately, however, the reasons I feel I must abound.

For starters, the concept that liberals despise America -- or at the very least denounce American exceptionalism -- is obvious to many conservatives. But liberals positively chafe at the idea that they're unpatriotic. In fact, you don't even need to accuse liberals of a lack of patriotism for them to go on the defensive.

Consider John Kerry. During the Democratic primaries, Republicans merely needed to point out Kerry's opposition to defense systems throughout the years for the senator to accuse them of attacking his patriotism, and for him to remind everyone -- again -- that he's a war hero. To listen to liberals, you'd think we were accusing these people of pedophilia. So it kind of makes you wonder, Why all the self-consciousness?

Now, I'm not blatantly accusing Senator Kerry of being anti-American. Lord knows I'd hate to have to put out that brushfire. Besides, we all know how much the French love America.

So let's consider some real examples of America-hatred, shall we?

When football-star-turned-Army-Ranger Pat Tillman was killed last April in Afghanistan, liberals hadn't been that excited since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of killing unborn babies on demand. It's hard to explain the irony surrounding the far-left websites that condemned Tillman for being a "baby killer," but at least they clarified their stance by celebrating the death of this "dumb jock" who "got what he deserved." This, however, wasn't quite as telling as the virtually silent response of the mainstream media to this bile.

On May 12, New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin -- no raging right-winger he -- criticized Air America -- the new liberal "equivalent" of conservative talk-radio -- for being "a cartoonish echo chamber" with little more to offer than "crude sex jokes." He also reported its "rancid venom directed at the President, (Donald) Rumsfeld, Rush Limbaugh, [and] the Catholic Church," and noted disturbing calls for the torture of Rumsfeld and the murder of President Bush.

The week of May 1-7, Time magazine ran a Bruce Beattie cartoon depicting a terrorist (likely Osama bin Laden) driving a tank with its barrel pointed at a submitting American man and his son standing beside a street sign reading Main St. USA. The caption reads, "Imagine, for a moment, the situation reversed:" The terrorist states, "We've invaded to install a government so that you give up democracy. Bonus points for converting to Islam." This implication of moral equivalence is jaw-dropping. Get it? Democracy is no better than fascist tyranny. The U.S. intentionally targets innocents. America is forcing Muslims to convert to Christianity. Please.

Welcome to 21st century "liberalism," folks.

In short, the left would rather appease terrorists instead of confronting them; they'd sooner turn over to the U.N. control of our destiny before empowering the U.S. to determine its own fate; and liberal media outlets like CBS and the Washington Post have demonstrated through their publication of the Abu Ghraib prison photos that they're willing to incite Arab anti-American malice, which they now nonchalantly accept from Islamic terrorists as the principal rationale for the beheading of Nick Berg (as if we hadn't witnessed the barbaric murder and mutilation of our own troops and civilians at home and in Iraq prior to the release of these photos).

The current scandal over the treatment of Abu Ghraib prisoners is only the latest attempt by liberals to undermine the nobility of our cause in Iraq and the war on terror, as if our soldiers who participated in this atrocity somehow represent the rule instead of the exception. Don't get me wrong, the guards involved in this mess should be tried swiftly and harshly, and they undoubtedly will. But the media's simple refusal to simultaneously introduce the soldiers who actually declined to follow those dishonorable orders at Abu Ghraib indicates its preference to exploit this situation as prima facie evidence of the existing state of affairs in American warfighting, and to paint the U.S. in the worst possible light.

In the interest of rationality -- not to mention quelling potential death threats -- I obviously know that there are some sensible liberals out there, but you'd hardly know it listening to the prevailing sentiment on the left. I can even understand why liberals would be upset after being accused of being anti-American. But considering how they act, I can't understand how they can deny it.

Trevor Bothwell is editor of The Right Report and is a Townhall.com book reviewer. He can be contacted at bothwell@therightreport.com.

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