Tuesday, April 22, 2008

When CIndy McCain says she loves and supports her country, what does she mean?

I saw Cindy McCain on The View, a great program to remind us that this isn't a man's world any more. It's just a world. (I love Whoppie Goldberg!).

But Cindy McCain said there and elsewhere that she loves and supports this country. What does that mean? Does it mean that she doesn't think there are things that need to be improved? Does she think it is perfect and that imperfections don't exist? Or, does she believe that there are problems, but it is "unpatriotic" to address those problems?

I think this country has problems. And I think the real American Patriot is the American who recognizes that this is a great country with problems and we must correct those problems. And the best way to correct those problems is to address them, using the very instrument that makes this the world's greatest Democracy, "Free Speech."

But when we try to say that we are better than someone else because we don't criticize our country, we remain silent in the face of wrongs, and injustice, then what we become is complicit in the problems.

Imagine if the response to those who championed civil rights was, "Hey, I love and support this country and you don't because you are criticizing its policies." If that were the case, African Americans would still be lynched on Patriotic American trees. African Americans would be slaves and African Americans would be denied the right to vote. In fact, women would be denied the right to vote, too, and would be oppressed and denied equal right.

No, I think loving this country is in fact about speaking out against its failings and speaking out in order to correct those failings.

But, when we respond to the discussion about how to improve this country by calling some people unpatriotic, then we are basically embracing the problems, hiding from the problems, and avoid the moral and principled responsibilities.

Ray Hanania