Friday, June 20, 2008

McCain: "I didn't love America until ..." vs. Michelle Obama being proud of this nation: What's love got to do with it?

Let me get this out of the way now before you watch this Verdict with Dan Abrams video (see below) showing the idiocy of talk show host Lars Larson. While debating Michelle Obama saying "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country" versus John McCain saying "I was not in love with America until I was deprived of her company," Larson further smeared Mrs. Obama and put words in her mouth. (The word "really" in Mrs. Obama's statement emphasized by the blogger)

Larson also made this stupid comment:
Michelle Obama is an amazingly fortunate individual. She's well-educated. She's well-compensated. She's married to a presidential candidate. That's about as high as you get in America.
I'm sure Hillary Clinton would tell him, "No, Lars, being the President of the United States is about as high as you get in this country, not being married to the President."

Larson would probably claim he meant the office of President of the United States of America is about as high as you can get and claim anyone who says he meant otherwise is taking what he said out of context. He'd want us to give him the benefit of doubt regarding his questionably-chosen words, a benefit he doesn't give Michelle Obama.

And what's with this desire to see successful black women forget the history of their own people in this country and pretend everything's been hunky dory, to behave as though we don't have problems in our community still that can be traced to sins against us? Do some whites believe that we lose our memories and disconnect from the suffering of black folk when we taste success as individuals?

They want to label us and put us in box, the angry black women, as though we are only objects for their fleeting thoughts.

As a black woman, I acknowledge that our community has a lot of work it can do for itself. I'm also a patriot who believes there's no other country I'd rather call home, but the patriotism in my heart and the hearts of other African-American women does not exonerate America of its racist acts or erase the nation's history. Our patriotism doesn't mean we ignore the nation's problems or will not be surprised when people who've been raised in a racist society sincerely try to overcome their own upbringing. In fact, our experiences in this country make it inevitable that racial harmony comes to us as a surprise and not as everyday national order.

As a mother who's learned to love children in spite of their bad behavior, as a woman who has loved a man in spite of his flaws, I know enough of love to love this nation even when it falters. And just as a woman who speaks to anyone she loves who behaves badly, I will say to America, "I saw what you did, but I still love you, and I know you can do better."

A patriot need not be blind to love her country, but I'm starting to think some people who wrap themselves in the flag and promote blind patriotism don't love this country the way it should be loved, not really. I think they believe you can only love America if it's perfect in your eyes because they vilify anyone brave enough to speak up about America's imperfections.

Ironically, some of people who feel this way also claim to be Christians. I ask them, "Is this how Jesus loves. Does he love only that which is perfect? And is Jesus proud of us even when we sin?"

Apparently this is how the Lars Larsons of the world expect African American women to be proud of this nation even when it sins, be proud even of America's slavery, be proud of its history that reflects injustice and crimes against humanity, be proud even when recalling that the laws of this nation once upheld the right of men to rape women, in particular black women. I guess African-American women may not apply the trendy phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" to being proud of America's history.

And those who promote blind patriotism certainly don't want black women to acknowledge personal pain. Their mindset reminds me how abusive men want their wives and girlfriends to feel about them.

Perhaps they want us to practice forgive and forget. But do they follow this tenet when it comes to Michelle Obama? Are they knocking themselves out to see what's good about her?

Here's that video:



I'd planned to dissect Larson's commentary, but I realized analyzing what a man like that says makes as much sense as arguing with a drunk. Nevertheless, I drop the following as further food for thought regarding Larson's suggestion that Michelle Obama is privileged.

Yes, John McCain was a POW. Nothing can take away from the depth of his service to this country, but was McCain not also privileged as a white male coming of age in America six decades ago? How did he feel about the country before he went to war? I'm positive he loved America just as I'm positive Michelle Obama was proud to be an American before Barack Obama began receiving so much support. She's an intelligent woman who knows America is better for African-Americans today than it was when it openly loved white males more than its other citizens and blind patriots called that form of unAmerican love righteous.

People who play fair know what Mrs. Obama meant about being "really proud" now. Anyone properly educated on American history knew where she was coming from the moment they heard her statement.

On The Verdict with Dan Abrams, Jonathan Alter, who says he's a friend of the McCains, told Larson he was talking nonsense, as you can see on the MSNBC video, which I discovered at HuffPo. I may have missed it, but I think Alter was silent on Cindy McCain's soft-spoken claim that she didn't understand why Mrs. Obama said what she said.

Abrams showed Laura Bush's support of Michelle Obama in contrast to Mrs. McCain's bewilderment. Wednesday on The View, Mrs. Obama said she sent Mrs. Bush a thank you note.

You may have caught my allusion to Cal Thomas' discussion of Michelle Obama and "angry black women," that angry black women is all you see of black women in the media. Fox News naturally. (Yes, I know, what does Cal Thomas think he knows about black women?) After what I've said here, he'd probably toss me under that label. He'd be wrong. I'm a passionate black woman who wants people like Thomas to become a better educated human, if not him then at least his descendants. I wonder does Cal know any passionate women? I mean really know them?

And some people wonder why some African-Americans still celebrate Juneteeth, which many did yesterday and some will continue to celebrate this weekend. The injustice of oppression is worthy of our contemplation and freedom our reverence. We need to recall where we've been, that it wasn't so long ago that we escaped darkness, and how far we must go before we stand completely in light. Most of all, we must love with eyes open.

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