When a very hawkish Elliot Abrams says that “we need to wait over time and hope the situation abates,” I start to wonder if liberals are allowed to take up the mantle of national defense. A large and growing group of extremists attack our embassies, kill our people: We should be the ones rioting in the streets. Don’t people understand that our whole country was built on being allowed to show this video?
We need to send a message: “You can’t hide from this, what you are doing, all because some jerkoff in our country made a shitty little video making fun of Muhammad. America exists so idiots like that can make crappy videos. That’s why we are who we are. You can’t have a higher council saying this video is OK, this is not. We know this, so we say, as Americans, we let the videos happen in our country. We just don’t watch if we don’t like it. Now, while we do not gratuitously censor, it’s also true that there are guidelines: not on prime time, not in your face, not real hate speech, not porn or cursing, etc. But we won’t hunt you down and kill you if you say Go to Hell Obama! You can say that. You can say of anybody and anything: He’s an idiot! It’s absolutely ok! God is a whore! That’s A-OK in the USA. Christians are weirdoes! Fine. We can do all this here. Even kids. Even women. Dick Cheney is a thief with a stolen heart! All fine. So, there’s no question now these may sound like silly liberties to defend, but in fact they are no different than their more serious brother and sister liberties.”
So what do we say to an appropriately outraged Muslim world? We say: “We hear you.
It must be infuriating, humiliating even, to have to watch this blasphemy. Except guess what? You don’t have to watch it. But that’s different than saying somebody can’t say it. We agree: It’s a lie. Its not funny. But here’s what I now need to tell you, and need to reiterate to the world:
We are not you. We are us. We’re THE US. And our purpose on this planet, and we are not saying you have to be like this, is to be a place where people are free to express themselves. That’s why we exist. We got formed specifically in order to let people do that very thing that you hate. That’s why we came over on the Mayflower. That’s why we fought the civil war. That’s why we fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, even Vietnam. Go look it up.
So we can’t back off on that. We can’t stop videos like this from coming from the US. We could no more easily stop being the US. Which is what would happen if we acceded to your demands. Yes, that video is probably the worst of all possibilities that we have to abide to protect our democracy, but it falls within the general idea. For time and again we have heard across our great land, and may it be forever thus: the rules have to be the same for all, human judgment is fallible, and we must be a gov’t of laws, and not of men. There is no United States of America without this sensibility, and we cannot compromise to satisfy your need to not have that video in the world.
Actually, we don’t like it any more than you do. Indeed, as we have said, it’s offensive, wrong, and dumb. But the loser that made it gets to do that. Because if you stop him, on what grounds? The grounds of bad art? Well, it is pretty bad. Bad acting. Bad lighting. Bad costumes, not funny. Not serious. Just lame. But we can’t censor him for that. America exists to allow for bad art. Haven’t you noticed? That should not come as news.
So I, if the President of this country won’t say it, Uncle Sam will: I am standing for these values in front of the entire world right now, not later, and saying: No. We will not take this down. The cartoons will continue. The video will remain available. You want to bomb us with suicide bombs? Don’t try it. You will lose a war you could already have won. Because we will not stop We can’t hide from this. We can’t pretend we don’t believe in this. We do.
At the same time, we will fight just as hard so that you can live in a world where you do get to have a society where the rule of God is supreme. We respect that. We only want to go to war with you if you insist on going to war with us. We can live in a world where you get your way, and we get ours. If you don’t even want us to get our way, then we’re forced to neutralize that threat, and we will. We always have. From the Battle of Concord to Gettysburg, from Verdun to the beaches of Normandy, from the 49th Parallel of Korea to, yes, Vietnam, we always turn the odds around. By the way, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to rewrite a little bit of world history, for having recently visited Vietnam and seeing capitalism in such full swing, I am not very convinced that in the end we actually lost that war.
I should also mention that we here in the West we have learned a thing or two about human psychology, and your reaction to this blasphemy is very defensive. It’s not gonna work for you. Thank you for letting me try to articulate what our country is.”
So that’s it. We need to speak for our country’s truth, and actually we need to have it done from the bully pulpit of the Presidency. But somehow the sentence: “America is…” must be in there. And I actually think it would benefit Obama if between now and Nov. 6 he were to say: “Look we’re not going to stop this, and we would prefer you don’t try to kill us for it. This is the type of society we want, a free society.”
“This is our vision long term: A USA about civil society, the rule of law, transparency, a level playing field, equal justice for all, might does not make right, with great power comes great responsibility, everybody has a shot that we as a group work to make as same as possible, and we declare these values for all to see. You say of us, society is above God and it is the convoluted nature of your antithetical arrangement that is the cause of the world’s suffering. You say that until God as being above man is built into the structures of society there can be no peace, and to wage war to bring about such a heaven on earth is a holy mission. You say that we have lost our way, that we are blind to the suffering of humanity, that we only care about power, and that we aim to destroy you. You need to think this or your mission makes no sense. But let’s look at the facts. Blind to the suffering of humanity? No way. We’ve given more per capita, per GNP, per GDP, total cash, total credit, total contributions of technology, innovation and invention, however you want to slice it, the USA does a lot. We have also made many mistakes, but we always return to our core mission. We may need to purge a Huey Long on the left or a Richard Nixon on the right, but then we enact Social Security or the Freedom of Information Act. If we relinquish the moral high ground we can still beat you in basketball. But we recognize now that the rest of the planet is just as awesome. And America, you need to come with me to give the world the credit that is due. We are great, OK, but so is the Khmer Rouge and the building of the culture in Cambodia, wait no that that, I mean the Aga Khan, whatever, Angora Watt, whatever it’s called, all of it’s just pomp and circumstance. Hold on, I think I lost my mind. I digress.
We recognize and in fact welcome that the dominance of Europe over the world for the last 2000 years is at a close. For people who strongly identify or feel they benefit from this arrangement, I feel your pain. Yes, this transition is gonna hurt at first. But let’s face it like proud Americans. I want to reach out to you, my Tea Party comrades, and tell you this: If I win, I will hold a meeting at the White House, televised live, where all your issues and grievances are aired. And Occupy, if you can get it together you can come too. And we’ll pick 8 themes and do one a week, two hour TV specials, rotate thru the top 8 networks, have interactive web stuff, show the world how America has a discussion. Nobody’s blowing each other up. Not on my watch.
Thank you. God bless America. God bless the whole blessed world. Good night.”