Dude, where’s my country?

I hate to devote two posts to a single Bob Herbert column, but I want to make a point about his very first line: “If the United States were to look into a mirror right now, it wouldn’t recognize itself.” Coming from a leftist like Herbert, this “fall from grace” story is worse than disingenuous. Except perhaps for the harrowing Carter years, the American left doesn’t believe that the U.S. has ever experienced a period of grace. What is Herbert’s line on the World War II internments or our conduct of the Vietnam war (just ask John Kerry)? What did Herbert and his fellow leftists think we looked like in the mirror during the Reagan era, when we “created” the homeless class while engaging in a reckless arms build-up and unilaterally attacked the likes of Libya and Granada? Or, a few years later, when we went to war with Iraq the first time to protect, as the left would have it, our oil interests?
During my days as a Vietnam war protester, it was always clear what distinguished ordinary liberals from leftists. Ordinary liberals thought that the war was a mistake. Leftists considered it a crime, and one that arose naturally from our racist/imperialist tradition. Today, the Michael Moore left applies the traditional leftist view to the war in Iraq, and thus holds the traditional leftist view of America. So it’s pretty cheap when members of this faction invoke the “dude, where’s my country” meme.


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