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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar


Poor Michele Bachmann. Her inflammatory statements on this Hardball episode, in which she blithely labeled “leftist, liberal views” as un-American and called for a media investigation into whether members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America” (has she ever even heard of the McCarthy Era? Probably she thinks it was a high point of our nation’s political history), are coming back to bite her in the ass and may end up getting her booted out of Congress by her own constituency. Now she claims her comments were “misunderstood.” Oh, I don’t think so, Michele. I think your comments were heard loud and clear.
In case you’re one of the 23 people with any interest in politics who haven’t seen this video, the link is above. At one point, after she prattles on at some length about Obama’s connection to Bill Ayers, host Chris Matthews asks her whether she believes Obama may have anti-American views, to which she replies, “Absolutely. I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views.” She goes on to equate liberal, leftist views as being un-American and ends by suggesting the media should investigate Congress to determine which members of Congress hold “un-American” views. The first time I saw this video, I nearly choked on my coffee; I’ve watched it three times now (just to torture myself, I guess) and just can’t stomach watching it again. It makes my blood boil.

What I want to address here is the dangerous tendency of the right to play to their constituency’s fears by labeling points of view as “pro-American” and “un-American.” What they mean by that is: if you agree with the conservative right’s point of view on things, you’re a good American. If you disagree with us, maybe that means you’re un-American and we should keep an eye on you. And I will come right out and say this: The idea that having a viewpoint that opposes the views of the conservative right is “un-American” is, in and of itself, an un-American thing to say, in that it opposes the basic principles on which our country was founded.
In case Ms. Bachmann and her ilk have forgotten that troublesome document we call the Constitution, it guarantees the right of freedom of speech, which means the right to disagree with her, with any member of Congress, with the President of the United States. It guarantees liberals the right to disagree with Conservative viewpoints, and vice versa. Being a liberal, having leftist viewpoints, even advocating for a change in our system from capitalism to social democracy, is NOT anti-American. It may be anti-capitalist, or anti-conservative, but capitalism and conservatism are NOT America. They are political points of view which may or may not be the predominant mindset of the majority of the American people at a particular point in time, or not, and nothing more.
If the majority of people in this country want to evolve our government and our economic system into a socialist or social democratic system, that is not un-American either. Such a thing would, quite simply, mean that a majority of people in our country have chosen to elect to our national legislative system those candidates who represent a more liberal point of view, because they’re tired of what Reagan-era capitalism has done to this country and they want to see things change.
I don’t think liberal candidates should hide their light under a bushel and allow the conservatives to position socialist viewpoints as either “too liberal” or as “un-American.” Liberal democrats should be embracing the term socialism. Own it, and make it powerful. Don’t try to pretend that certain things you believe in are not socialist — they are. A national health care system is, in fact, a socialist idea. The government edging ever closer to fully nationalizing our banking system is also a socialist idea. Increasing government support for programs that support families dealing with children with autism, increasing government funding for scientific research into things like autism (something McCain advocated during the last debate in attempting to shore up Sarah Palin by subtly touting her disabled child), is also a socialist idea.
It’s okay to say it. Liberalism is not a 4-letter word. Neither, for that matter, is socialism. Call people like Bachmann on their bullshit.
Now Bachmann’s desperately trying to backpedal, saying on TV yesterday morning, “I feel his views are concerning, and I’m calling on the media to investigate them. I’m not saying that his views are anti-American. That was a misreading of what I said.” A misreading? No, Michele, it’s pretty much exactly what you said. Just because your handlers flipped out, and your competition is suddenly within four points of you, doesn’t make your backpedaling work any better. I mean, really. If you’re going to go on national TV and be stupid enough to equate liberal and leftist views as un-American and call for a media investigation of Congress to out those pesky anti-American liberals, at least have the balls to own your own BS. Embrace your hatred of views that oppose your own, and make your nuttiness your calling card; hell, maybe it’ll work for you, who knows?
Now, Ms. Bachmann is a citizen, and she’s certainly entitled to hold any ridiculous point of view she wants. As an elected member of Congress, even, she’s entitled to think and say the things she said, however much I may think she’s full of shit as a Christmas goose, as my great-grandmother would have said. And so long as the majority of her constituency agree with her, or at least are willing to forgive her for saying ridiculous things on national TV, she’s even entitled to continue to be a member of Congress, representing those voters.
But Bachmann’s great big “open-mouth-insert-foot” moment on a nationally televised program may end up being her political undoing, as her opposition, a man with the tragically unfortunate name of Elwyn Tinklenberg, saw money flow into his campaign after her appearance — to the tune of about $600,000. Now he’s within four points of beating her, and has money to spend on TV ads. Go Tinklenberg! You’re saddled with a burdensome name that probably made you the target of playground bullies in grade school, but you may yet get to be Congressman Tinklenberg after all. I, and the rest of my leftist, liberal, friends will be rooting for you on election day.

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One Response to “Un-American”

  1. Deathtongue_Groupie says:

    First! – Oh, wait. Forgot I’m not on failblog anymore.
    Good luck with this new endeavor, although please try to avoid another certain film site’s propensity for way too much politics.
    You really should embed or start another post with Katrina Vanden Heuvel’s brilliant retort, which shows exactly what we progressives need to start doing when these right wing bullies pull this BS for now on: punch them in the nose. Hard!


Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon