There's a major right-wing freakout right now over remarks made by several prominent and vocal African-American media personalities over their thoughts about Independence Day.
The point, as Harris-Perry says in the video at the end of this post, is that Independence Day has a different meaning to African Americans than it does to white Americans. Her point in saying so at all is to remind all of us that no matter how far we've come, there's still a long way to go.
Cue the freakout. Michelle Malkin and other Creatures of the Night shriek that anyone who actually points out the warts on the pages of the Declaration of Independence can't be "real Amuricans." And that's damn true especially if they happen to be African Amuricans. They squeal about values and things, but with only pure love for true America in their hearts.
Bill O'Reilly joined the chorus Thursday night, when he and Gretchen Carlson cherrypicked Melissa Harris-Perry's three-minute ponderance of Independence Day (video embedded below).
Harris-Perry was reflecting on the imperfect, improbability of our nation as a whole. She begins by pointing out the idealism of the founders, the "unlikely narrative of young men so inspired by an age of ideas that they threw off the yoke of colonialism and founded a free nation."
Funny how that part which was just ahead of the section they clipped didn't make it into the segment, huh?
Then yes, she does also point out the contradiction and the founders' imperfection as a contrast. On the one hand idealists, yet on the other, willing to steal the land to found their nation of ideas, enslave labor to build the nation, and consign their mothers to second-class citizen status, a condition that exists to this day and which Harris-Perry notes by her use of the present tense when referring to women.
And then she moves to the contrasts again, pointing out that we all benefit from the spoils (residuals) of oppression and we are each harmed by the realities of inequality, casting those in terms of "imperfect fabric" which we have at times stained and at other times mended and repaired.
She ends by noting that for as much as we own the negatives -- imperialism, genocide and slavery -- we also own the positives, "liberation and the hope and deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of this."
Strangely, BillO's clip didn't include anything past her remarks about inequality and oppression. As if to actually confirm what it was Harris-Perry was saying, he goes on to refer to her as "that woman."
You know. "That woman who works at that network." Her. That woman. No name, no face of humanity on her, and despite the fact that even Gretchen Carlson had to swallow her bile long enough to admit that Harris-Perry had said nothing at all that was incorrect or factually wrong. Nay, nay. The outrage was over THAT WOMAN not having the decency to let just one day go by without pointing to the negatives of our nation, something they view as uniquely "leftist."
Last week, Sean Hannity clutched his worry beads over the possibility that we're just not a great nation anymore, which was nothing more than coded racism for his disgust that an African American president wasn't subverted by the Supreme Court. But then, he didn't do it on the 4th of July, so I guess that was an acceptable thing for a right-winger to say about the country.
Harris-Perry, on the other hand, ends her peroration with the reminder that Americans believe the best is yet to come, somehow giving O'Reilly and Carlson shrieking rights over THAT NETWORK HATING ON OUR NATION.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with either side, it's clear O'Reilly couldn't present his side without actually editing Harris-Perry's words for the audience. God forbid they had heard the whole thing before he pronounced judgement.
Meanwhile, Forbes writer Steve Frezza publishes a column on July 4th calling America "a nation of rent-seeking dependents clamoring for their share of state largesse," a condition we should atone for and not celebrate. Funny, I don't see Billo and Gretchen fussing over that. I agree with Ed Kilgore:
Maybe progressives make a mistake in not calling out people like Frezza whose horror at having to share this country with the likes of me and you makes him by any standard un-patriotic, in the grips of a global ideology that is no more essentially “American” than fascism was essentially “Italian.”
I’m perfectly happy on this and any other day devoted to communal, civic celebrations to put aside differences and tip my hat (or a beer) to neighbors I know don’t agree with me on much of anything that makes up the daily bread of politics. But I’m no longer going to quietly accept lectures on patriotism from people who hate my country because they don’t rule it and my vote is equal to theirs.
That promise begins right here with Billo and his shrieking Banshee band of unpatriotic patriots.