Connect with us

Politics

People who claim to be ‘real’ Americans are the worst Americans

Published

on

  • Beware the person who claims to know who’s a “real” American and who’s not.
  • Especially Trump and Tucker Carlson — who for some reason think demonstrating patriotism involves honoring traitorous losers and calling a Purple Heart recipient a “coward.”
  • Real Americans are atheists and evangelicals, they’re immigrants and the children of immigrants, they love guns and hate guns. They’re all Americans, that’s the point of America. 
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

America is everything that America encapsulates, no more and no less.

That bothers people who insist that there are such things as a “real America” and a “real American.” 

For such America-elitists, the criteria for “real” rests somewhere along the nexus of strident nationalism, unquestioned support of the military and police, and an aversion to complaints that the United States might stand to improve in a few areas.

There are exceptions to their rule, of course. 

Like when President Donald Trump defended Vladimir Putin to Bill O’Reilly by saying, “You think our country is so innocent?” Or when he and his allies attempted to smear Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a naturalized US citizen born in Ukraine, as disloyal to America because he dared to testify about Trump’s flagrant corruption

And “Make American Great Again” is obviously a critique of the country, but it’s ok, because that’s the good kind of dissent for “real” Americans. (Trump’s also using “Keep America Great” as a 2020 campaign, but not as much as MAGA.)

Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson are perhaps the two most influential purveyors of “real” Americanism. Socialists, protesters, urban dwellers, and coastal elites all fail to reach the bar of “real” American, according to these two paragons of patriotism. 

Declaring such an enormous amount of the population as inauthentic Americans is ridiculous, as is the fact that Carlson and Trump don’t come close to meeting their own standards for patriotism

Honoring traitors and insulting patriots

Having failed miserably at managing a pandemic and presiding over a collapsing economy, Trump’s been using his time and political capital to drum up support for honoring literal traitors (who were also losers, to use Trumpspeak).

As the US military considers a review of its bases named for Confederate generals, Trump tweeted that he “will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

It’s a view opposed by retired Gen. David Petraeus and former Secretary of State Colin Powell (also a retired four-star general), who said Confederate officers “were not great Americans,” and in fact, by the time they went to battle “they were no longer Americans at that point.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley testified before a House Armed Services Committee Thursday that he too supports a review of the base names. He added that the Confederacy  “was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the US Constitution — and those officers turned their backs on their oath.”

Carlson, a wealthy-born coastal elite just like Trump, has been disparaging US Sen. Tammy Duckworth as unpatriotic for having the temerity to suggest a “national dialogue” about monuments built for slave-owning founding fathers, including George Washington. 

“Coward,” “fraud,” “moron” and a “deeply silly and unimpressive person” who hates America is how Carlson described Duckworth —a Purple Heart recipient who lost both legs in the Iraq War. Try not to act surprised, but Carlson, just like Trump, never served in the military. 

Duckworth responded in a New York Times op-ed that people like Carlson and Trump are “cynical bullies who use schoolyard tactics to distract from their own shortcomings.” But Duckworth also recognizes that there are few things more patriotic than defending free speech and robust dissent.

“I would put on my old uniform and go to war all over again to protect the right of Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump to say offensive things on TV and Twitter,” Duckworth wrote. 

“Real” America is all of it, or it’s none of it

There is no ethnic group that can lay claim to being “of this land” besides Native Americans — and you’d be hard-pressed to find a jingoistic patriot willing to bestow the “real American” moniker on an Indigenous person. 

America is not New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago. It’s not the heartland, the Bible Belt, or the coast. It’s all of it. Or it’s none of it.  

Real Americans are atheists and evangelicals, they’re immigrants and the children of immigrants, they love guns and hate guns. They’re all Americans, that’s the point of America. 

What Trump, Carlson and the self-appointed keepers of “real America” always miss is that their 1950s TV sitcom vision of the country wasn’t true even then. It was just one small window into a much more complicated and always evolving democratic experiment. 

America contains myriads, that’s the most “American” thing about it. 

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending