Giuliani made this statement during an event at “21” Wednesday, an event to which he was not initially invited. He stood in front of the microphone, and said:
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
When President Obama correctly pointed out the harm perpetrated during the Crusades as an example of religious extremism, the right-wing went into full attack mode. Ignoring that the president called ISIS a death cult, conservative politicians and pundits railed against the inclusion of Christian extremism. Because to conservatives, only Muslims can be extremists, and only conservatives like Rudy Giuliani love America.
In his book Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Al Franken says liberals do love America; we just love it differently than conservatives:
They don’t get it. We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America the way a four-year-old loves her mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything Mommy does in wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world.
And that’s the difference. Liberals look back at the history of our country, and realize we have done some awful things. Ignoring those awful things doesn’t make them go away, nor does it mean they never happened. We have to acknowledge our failures in order to make certain we never repeat them. Conservatives look back at the history of our country, and, at least in Oklahoma, do everything in their power to make sure children only learn the “good” parts. This is inherently dangerous. In 1905, George Santayana wrote “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Conservatives, for the most part, prefer ignorance to truth, because the truth is hard.
Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama are repeated by conservatives every day. But why? What is it about President Obama that has convinced them he doesn’t love America? Is it his business work with the government of Qatar, the country where Khalid Shaikh Mohammed took refuge in the 1990’s? No, wait, sorry, that was Giuliani. Could it be how, after 9/11, Obama lied about everything from his record on terrorism to the safety of first responders at Ground Zero? Nope, that was Giuliani. Did the New York Firefighters’ Union come out against Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign? No, that’s Giuliani again. Deputy New York fire chief Jim Riches made the following comment about Rudy Giuliani:
We don’t want him running on 9/11 or the bodies of all these dead people or my dead son saying that he did a great job that day.
From The Guardian:
Giuliani is running his campaign on the back of the largely favourable media he received at the time, with his leadership in New York contrasting with President George Bush’s hesitancy. But the firefighters and victims’ families complain that Giuliani failed to heed the warning of an attack on the World Trade Centre almost a decade earlier.
The firefighters also say the crews had poor radios and, as a result, some did not hear calls to evacuate the site.
Families accuse Giuliani of rushing the clear-up of Ground Zero, denying them the chance to exhaust the search for bodies. There is unease, too, that Giuliani is using 9/11 as a political platform.
In the aftermath of 9/11, many conservative politicians and pundits wrapped themselves in the flag, only to ignore the victims, their families, and the first responders. According to Jim Riches, and other firefighters and families, Giuliani was one of those conservatives. The same man who had the gall to stand up and say President Obama doesn’t love America.
Loving America means taking the good with the bad. Admitting that our government put Japanese-Americans in internment camps does not mean you don’t love America; it means you understand America isn’t perfect. President Obama recently designated the plot of land that was the site of the Honouliuli internment camp a national monument, an action that inspired conservative radio host Laura Ingraham to say:
Why would we want to make this a national monument? This should be bulldozed. I’m telling you-this always goes back to we’re a rotten country with a rotten past and get used to it. Get used to it and acknowledge it. Grind it into the faces of the American public. I don’t get this. If we’re going to go down this road, I think we should just really open up the gates for national monuments. Why don’t we…one of the national monuments could be… I don’t know…the Oprah house where they vacation in Hawaii, one of those Oprah Winfrey houses? Make that a national monument while they’re there. Oh, I see what people are saying. it’s in Hawaii, so it gives the president oh more opportunities to go to Hawaii on the taxpayer dime…
We’re not a rotten country. We have done rotten things. Just like that four-year-old, conservatives refuse to understand that accepting the good with the bad does not mean President Obama hates America, any more than the Japanese Cultural Center and the Japanese American Citizens League – both of whom have pushed for this designation – hate America. As Senator Mazie Hirono said, “My hope is that the site will be preserved and presented in such a way that people will get the sense of what it must’ve been like, and to also acknowledge that this dark period of our country’s history should never be repeated, but the stories need to be told.”
The stories need to be told, in order to remember history. Telling the truth about our past is not unpatriotic. Lying about it is. Rudy Giuliani whitewashed his role in the aftermath of September 11 so much, New York firefighters came out against him in 2008. Is that patriotic? Almost every single conservative politician opposed the James Zadroga Bill, prompting Jon Stewart to give us one of the most amazing take downs in Daily Show history.
You want to accuse President Obama of not loving America, and call every liberal in the country unpatriotic? You better get that plank out your own eye before you go looking for the speck in someone else’s. Here’s the video of Jon Stewart’s brilliant commentary.