Many years ago there was a tv game show where a celebrity panel had to try to discern which of the three contestants was the person being described. After each of the contestants gave their answers to a variety of questions, and the panel made their decisions public, the host of the game show would announce, “Will the Real John Doe, please stand up.” The three would look at each other and one would always pretend to begin to stand and then the Real John Doe or Jane Doe would stand up. It was a fun show of light hearted deception.
In recent weeks, the election campaigns have turned mean. Perhaps it is normal for the alleged candidate who is perceived as loosing to turn up the heat in the final weeks of the campaign. I was too young to recall the time when patriotism of Americans were called into question in such a mean spirited way. I am referring to the McCarthy Era when all of America seemed to be looking for a Communist under every rock. Thousands of people across America were blacklisted and lost their ability to earn a living in their chosen profession. In many cases when that nightmare of facist-like history in America was over, many were left spiritually broken unable to return to the passion of their first career.
The present day situation is sounding very similar. We have a congresswoman in Minnesota who wants to call for an investigation of all elected officials in Washington to find out if any are Anti-Americans. She defines Anti-Americans as being Leftist Liberals. Among her top picks are Senators Obama and Biden and Speaker of the House Pelosi. We have a public figure in Virginia distinguishing between the area of Virginia just outside of DC and the rest of Virginia which she calls the Real Virginia. Real Virginia by the way is conservative and Republican. And we have a Vice Presidential candidate declaring that the Real America is found in those Pro-American pockets of small towns. She states, it is these Americans who have fought bravely in our wars and are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
John Stewart of The Daily Show stated that Osama Bin Laden must be very embarrassed to discover that he attacked Fake America when he attacked NYC and Washington, DC because these places are not part of the Real America.
And what are those brave men and women from these large cities fighting in Iraq feeling; now that they have been called False Americans? Do they get to come home since they are not really Americans and therefore have no claim to fighting in our wars?
This talk of who is a Real American versus who is Anti-American, is not an innocent tv game show of light hearted deception. This is blatant diviseness. It is a tactic used to instill fear into the hearts of the citizenry. It is a tactic that Joe McCarthy used to engender the Red Scare. It is a tactic that will undermine the very freedom that Americans, all Americans, cherish. The McCarthy Era was not a proud moment in America’s history. It was a time when the freedoms we take for granted were underseige. If McCarthy had won in his campaign to route out every suspected Communist, and many were never to have been found to be a communist, only alleged; the democracy experiment begun in 1776 would have been over 50 plus years ago.
If we allow our public elected officials to instill fear that there lurks within America two America’s, one real and one false; one good and one evil; one standing firm in the will of God and one opposed to the will of God; then our nation of democracy with all its freedoms will cease to be. We have chosen the motto “E Pluribus Unim” for a reason. Out of many, One.
It is our diversity of thought, our capacity to hear many opinions, that adds to our greatness as a nation. It is because of our diversity that America has become that “beacon on the hill”. Strike any voice from being heard and America’s greatness as a nation is diminished.
In our current economic crisis, in our attempts to dis-entangle ourselves from Iraq, in our attempts to improve the domestic well being of all of America; it is time for us to honor our commitment of E Pluribus Unim. Attempts to instill fear and mistrust in each other is not the answer to our problems.
When the events of 9/11 reached the far corners of the world… World Leaders stated, “We are All Americans now.” Such was the pain felt by the world in those events. It is a message that needs to ring loud and clear within our own citizens as well. “We are All Americans”
Everyone of us should stand to answer the question asked, “Will the Real America, Please stand up?” By doing so does not mean that we are in agreement with the how-tos in fixing the problems that face this country. What it does mean is that we want what is best for her to maintain the democracy that was established so that we are a free people.
When Election day comes, vote not because you are a Republican or a Democrat. Vote because you are an American who has the freedom to vote for the best of America.