Saturday, October 18, 2008

Let's define "Anti-American"

It's a bit absurd how low the Republican party is going these days. The latest wave of attacks has thrown the word "Anti-American" out there in describing both Obama and certain parts of the country (San Francisco and the Bay Area, my home, probably being one of those parts).

The divisiveness (and hatred) in these people scares me, especially when you couple it with their apparent ignorance. In their eyes, it seems that doing or saying anything to criticize our country is "Anti-American".

Let's break that down, in ways even the most die-hard Republican would understand. Every Sunday, I sit down and watch the 49ers play. For the majority of this decade, that has been a painful experience. When coaches make dumb decisions, I tend to get angry. I probably call them names, in the heat of the moment. I also discuss with friends why those decisions are dumb, and what I thought should have been done instead. For example, a few weeks ago, the Niners were down by 6 late in 4th against the Pats. The Pats had the ball, 3rd and 20, on our 40 - basically 5-10 yard out of field goal range. On that play, the Niners didn't blitz, only rushed 3 guys, and gave the Pats ample time to pick up 10 yards on a short pass. They kicked a field goal, going up by 9 and essentially putting the game out of reach.

That's a dumb decision. We should have blitzed in hopes of not letting the Pats gain a yard and forced a punt, giving us a chance to win the game. And I said it, and called friends and we all bitched about it together, wishing for Nolan's firing and the like.

Sound familiar? And, more importantly (to the Palin-crazies in the world), do you see the parallel? I love the 49ers. And yet I can criticize them. And call their leaders names. And point out, rationally, what they're doing wrong and how it should be fixed.

Is Jeremiah Wright right (no pun intended) for saying awful things about American? Absolutely not. But have you listened to his speeches? Yes, he says "God Damn America" (much like most Sundays I'm left saying "God Damn 49ers"), but have you been to the South-side of Chicago? I haven't, but if it's anything like West Philly (of which I really only got a taste in my 4 years there) - and apparently it's worse - then, yes, God Damn Us for not doing our job. We need to be providing education and social programs to clean up the streets and keep kids in schools.

And Bill Ayers? I'm mostly playing devil's advocate, but I think he has a defense too. Yes, he bombed our own buildings, which is awful. But, his intent was never to kill (and other than one accident involving a member of his group), and he never did.

So, sure, he caused tons of property damage. But who is more on the wrong - the government that orders us into foreign soil, resulting in the loss of thousands of civilian and military lives, or the person who goes too far in trying to call attention to our poor decision?

Think about it. Who loves a country more - those of us who refuse to believe we can do any wrong, or those of us who stand up and call our country out when we do stupid things?

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