Hogan's Zeros: United, we stand for nothing
By Daniel Clark
"Polarized. Divided. Torn." Those words are "representative of what America has become," according to former wrestler Hulk Hogan, who ripped apart a tee-shirt bearing those words at a recent press conference in
Hogan made the appearance on behalf of an outfit calling itself Freedom Group of America, which is sponsoring an event called the National Towel Wave next Fourth of July. "We want to put our differences of politics and religion aside and come together as Americans," he said, as quoted in a Sept. 4th article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
According to that story, the Freedom Group is going to try to bring together conflicting personalities "such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore, and Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck" to wave towels in a display of national unity. That ambitious aim begs the obvious question of how any loyal American could possibly unite with the likes of Moore and O'Donnell.
Moore has made a career of impugning America, and propagandizing on behalf of our enemies. He once even likened al-Qaeda in Iraq to the Minutemen, adding hopefully that "Their numbers will grow, and they will win." O'Donnell, meanwhile, describes Islamic terrorists as the salt of the earth, and claims that President Bush had the Twin Towers destroyed in a controlled demolition.
Exactly what sort of concessions are Limbaugh and Hasselbeck expected to make in order to reconcile themselves with beliefs like those? Should they agree to say that the president blew up only one of the towers?
Hogan's belief that such people have only recently "become" divided is rooted in the fallacy that America was unified during the period immediately following the 9-11 attacks. This was never true, any more than it was ever true that the president had "squandered" the "international good will" toward America that supposedly existed at the time.
It took no time at all for the liberal fruit bats to start accusing President Bush of cowardice, for not returning immediately to Washington after the Pentagon had been hit. The "anti-war" group International ANSWER was founded just three days later, and held its first demonstration in Washington by the end of the month. On Nov. 10th, Sen. Hillary Clinton was on CNN, blaming the attacks on the Bush tax cuts. By comparison, it was not until Dec. 19th that the fires would be extinguished at Ground Zero.
If Hogan hadn't taken too many chairs to the head during his career, he might have observed that the Fourth of July is already a display of American unity, at least among those Americans who love their country. Unlike the confused feelgooders at the Freedom Group, they celebrate Independence Day by waving the American flag, not a towel, whose meaning is open to interpretation.
The web page for "The National Wave" includes a picture of one of these white towels, which features a globe with North America on one end, and a stars-and-stripes pattern on the other. Depending on how you look at it, you don't have to be a proud American to wave this symbol. You could also be a proud "Citizen of the World." You might even perceive the towel as a miniature flag of truce.
Undermining its own pretense of social importance, the National Wave site likens its towels to the black and gold Terrible Towels that were created by legendary Pittsburgh Steelers' announcer Myron Cope. Even that comparison falls flat, though, because fans who wave the Terrible Towel are already united in that they're all rooting for the Steelers. A more accurate comparison would be if Cope had handed out towels to Browns and Steelers fans alike, and asked them to all wave together. On the off chance that the Browns fans went along with it, the gesture would be pointless.
If loyal Americans and equally dedicated anti-Americans unite in waving the Hulkster's towel, what is it in which they'd be uniting? In that they all like ice cream? A superficial display of that kind is no more consequential than the rearrangement of furniture. Osama himself could get take part in the wave, but the war will go on.
Perhaps Hogan fails to appreciate the difference between the two sides because, like many wrestlers, he has been both a good guy and a bad guy during his career. In his world, the difference between one side and the other can be a matter of a slight change in wardrobe. There's one thing he ought to consider, though, before recruiting the likes of Moore and O'Donnell. Those aren't costumes.
Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.