What is American about America?
There’s a story this morning floating the webs about how MSNBC compared a Romney campaign slogan to an old Ku Klux Klan slogan, and then had to apologize and berate their own “appalling” lack of journalistic standards. It really isn’t all that interesting of a flap, but it is the stuff blogs are made of.
For the Romney campaign, this story has to be an absolute winner. The bad guy in this story is MSNBC, the liberal agenda driving left-wing “news” source attempting to bring balance to the world of political coverage by being well to the left of center. Because those other mothers are well, well to the right of center.
Anyway. Romney comes out looking okay, done wrong by MSNBC, who apologizes. Sure.
Which is unfortunate, because the real story here should be the Romney slogan. Which is: Keep America American. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl…then, well, I guess you want to keep America American.
TRC has a problem with this. But its not easy to delineate, because TRC, too, wants to keep America American. But I don’t think Romney wants to keep America American by continuing a rich diversity of culture and language, for example. Continuing American traditions like welcoming immigrants who are seeking a better life that the US has to offer, opening our hearts and doors to religious tolerance. Continuing to fund and explore and move forward towards new and wonderful and different while doing our damnedest to be responsible, even if we fail. Continuing to encourage civic engagement, and passionate yet stable upheaval of political norms, social movements towards justice, re-interpretation of law and the constitution to continue bettering the lives of everyone, being a voice of good in our own country and the world, recognizing equal value despite race or religion or sexual orientation or gender or any such difference. Continuing to imbue just the right level of romanticism into our past and future, while acknowledging that that romanticism has had terrible consequences for people all over the world, and none more so than the people who were here before us. Continuing, in short, to keep what is great about America, our willingness to do good and our acknowledgement that we have done terrible, as a vital part of the US of A. Or maybe he does want all this.
Which is one reason this is difficult to express. Among the greatest American qualities of America is that Mitt Romney can run for president with a terrible, terrible campaign slogan like “Keep America American.” Such a terrible thing is among the best things about America. But it really is awful. Because when a conservative GOP flip-flopping shallow Presidential Candidate says that he wants to Keep America American, it just feels…gross. So, I suppose I strongly agree with Mitt Romney, even though I couldn’t disagree more.
**UPDATE: If you are interested in more than TRC’s ranting on the Keep America American slogan, The Atlantic has a very nice piece that you should read.