MSNBC host celebrates 4th by ‘remembering nation’s many wrongs’
posted at 1:19 pm on July 5, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
I hope everyone had a glorious Fourth that included a cookout, fireworks, and time to reflect on our great nation—imperialist, genocidal, slave-holding corruptocracy that it is.
The views expressed in the phrase following the dash in the previous sentence are not mine. They belong to MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who commemorated America’s birthday in advance, telling viewers of her eponymous show on Sunday that she is “proud of her country” despite—not because of—its history.
But not to fret. In spite of all the bad things we have done and continue to do as a nation (e.g., “benefitting from the residuals of oppression,” casually enduring the harm visited on us “by the realities of inequality”), Perry tells us we can all share in the “hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us.” Wow, what an upbeat lady!
If this pep talk sounds familiar, it is because Perry is channeling (if not out-and-out plagiarizing) another liberal speechifier who threatened in 2008 to “fundamentally transform” a nation that was, in his (and Perry’s) view, in dire need of a fundamental transformation. He, too, has expressed mortification over the troubling “facts” that the “land on which [our founders] formed this Union was stolen; the hands with which they built this nation were enslaved; the women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class.”
Defenders of the MSNBC host and her comments will ask, “So what’s wrong with telling it like it is?” Apart from not being convinced that Perry’s version of U.S. history is a hundred percent “like it is,” I submit that the problem comes down to three things: Timing, message, and the messenger.
First timing. A birthday is an occasion to celebrate. Recriminations and self-inventory, though undeniably useful, should be reserved for another day. The Melissa Harris-Perrys of the world spend most of their waking hours complaining about injustice, a lack of fairness, capitalist greed, and a host of other grievances real and imagined. Why not set aside one day of the year to appreciate the good we do as a nation and international partner and to applaud unconditionally the great gift of being able to say, “I am an American?”
As to message and messenger, the only time liberals are stark realists—or fancy themselves to be so—is when they are cataloging the country’s many faults. The rest of the time they live in a world of dreams and vague generalities. They use euphemisms like invest for spend and run away from the responsibilities of adult life, such as reining in out-of-control spending and facing the grim reality of the need for entitlement reform. If someone is going to read me the riot act for not being the best American I can be, I want that criticism to come from someone who salutes, rather than desecrates, the Stars and Stripes.
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