Why the Right Hates America
If They Love America So Much, Why Are They Working Overtime to
As a leftist, I'm getting just a bit weary of hearing how much
I "hate America." Ever since the big you-know what in late 2001, that
little zinger has been the comeback of choice for any objections to US
foreign policy. Don't like our new wars? Gee, you must really hate this
Friends on the right, you wound us. If we didn't love America, why
would we spend so much time and energy on bake sales and discussion
groups and lecture series and petition drives and demonstrations to make
it a better place? I mean, there may be some parts of Dallas we're not
too keen on, and personally, you couldn't pay me enough to live in
Phoenix, but on the whole, sure, love that America. Friendly people,
nice beaches, great forests, er, what's left of them.
Of course, the relationship is just a bit more complicated than that.
We love America kind of like we might love a dear friend or relative
who's drinking too much and putting his health in danger, or messing up
his home life. We're kind of embarrassed and more than a little bit
worried for good old America. But that doesn't mean we don't love her.
Hey, we're family!
You know, it occurs to me that when rightwingers can't come up with a
better argument than "you hate America," they might actually be
projecting. After all, who was it that said that the 9/11 attacks
allowed, quote, "the enemies of America to give us probably what we
deserve"? It wasn't any leftist, that's for sure. It was that jolly old
moral majoritarian, the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. The right can't
stand American culture. Rock & roll swept the planet, helped bring down
the Berlin wall, inspired everyone with its free-spirited, rebellious
American energy. Who fought it every step of the way? The right, that's
who. Same goes for hip-hop, another great American export, subject of
Congressional inquisitions. And don't even get me started on Hollywood.
Billions of people love our movies, but the right acts like the whole
movie industry is the last refuge of Stalinism.
The right hates our heroes, too. They had to be dragged kicking and
screaming into making a holiday to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King,
who helped us try to fulfill the promises of Reconstruction. And some of
them still grumble, as Ronald Reagan did, that he was some kind of
"communist." Still others, like John Ashcroft, express nostalgia for the
Confederacy's fight to maintain slavery as a noble cause.
Come to think of it, the right hates our constitution, too, except
for the Second Amendment, and maybe the Eleventh, now that the Rehnquist
Court has rewritten it to mean "Congress shall pass no law that we don't
like." But the First, the Fourth, the Fifth, and um, the Sixth, and the
Eighth, and pretty much the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments are
right out the window these days. Damn shame, too, if you ask me. Plus
the right is still itching to overturn old decisions like Miranda and
Bakke and Roe, if not Griswald. Some of them aren't too crazy about
Brown v. Board, either, if you know what I mean.
And it's obvious by now that the right wing really, really hates
democracy. If you even bring up the word, they go on about how the
Founding Fathers made a republic, not a democracy. Well, sure, but they
also wrote in the parts about blacks being three-fifths of a person, and
only land-owning males being able to vote. Some of those cool old
amendments moved us closer to actual democracy, at least for a while
there. Now the rightwingers on the Supreme Court have made it clear that
we have no actual right to vote, let alone have the votes counted if
it's inconvenient for their candidate.
And the election of 2000 isn't the only one stolen by the right. In
1968, and again in 1980, the right-wing candidates, as private citizens,
interfered with foreign-policy negotiations of the US government in
order to (successfully) gain electoral advantage. Come to think of it,
they did that again in 2000, advising the Israelis to drag their feet in
the Camp David talks. But I guess they can get away with that, since
they love America more than us pesky leftists.
But if the right loves America so much, why do they keep subsidizing
the corporations that foul our air, despoil our coasts, and clear-cut
our forests? Just how patriotic is the Bush administration's new rule
that allows mining companies to shear off the tops of our purple-mountain'd
majesty and dump them into our streams? Don't you think we could express
our love of country a little better by tightening up those fuel economy
standards, instead of squeezing the Middle East for more fuel for our
Now that reminds me. Why does the right keep making so many enemies
for our country? You know, like overthrowing elected governments in Iran
and Chile and so on, or backing torture-happy juntas in Turkey and
Pakistan, or paying for proxy terrorists in Nicaragua and Angola, or
subsidizing the occupation of East Timor and the West Bank. Didn't the
left keep saying, "Um, excuse us, if we keep supporting violence and
terrorism abroad, it might come back to haunt us"? And we're the
Oh, but that's where we got started here. Any time we criticize US
foreign policy, we're making excuses for the terrorists. I guess it's
inconceivable that the left could love America enough to want us to stop
making new enemies. Well, okay, America. If invading Iraq doesn't work
out as nicely as planned, you might give us a call. We still have a few
ideas, and, gosh, we just love ya to pieces. Write sometime! After all,
who gave you votes for women and blacks, and the weekend, and overtime,
and retirement pay, and family leave? Your old pals on the left. God
Mark Zepezauer is an author and cartoonist based in Tucson,
Arizona. His most recent book is Boomerang! How Our Covert Wars Have
Created Enemies Across The Middle East And Brought Terror To America,
from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at:
Reprinted by permission of the author.