There is an inherent quality in our country’s name that insinuates unity of will for the well-being of the nation and every citizen. The United States of America does not denote a loose confederation of states, and the word America elicits a mental image of an all-inclusive country, people, and government. During the 2008 presidential campaign, there was a dastardly term inserted into the consciousness of Americans and it is spreading like a cancer that is eating away at the very fabric of our country. If it is not stopped in its tracks, America is doomed.
Whether or not Sarah Palin thought up the term “real America,” she is the cancer that ignited the divisive ‘them against us’ mentality the Tea Party and neo-conservative pundits encourage. In states like Texas and Arizona, there are movements afoot to garner support for secession from the United States because they feel the Obama Administration is trampling their rights and imposing a socialist agenda on the sovereign states. In Arizona last month, Senate president Russell Pearce (R), proposed a bill (Senate Bill 1433) that allows Arizona to nullify federal laws they do not agree with; the bill stops short of outright secession. The fact that the bill is unconstitutional is inconsequential when considering the underlying sentiment Pearce revealed during a speech to teabaggers at an Oceanside Tea Party rally. During Pearce’s extremist Tenther tirade, he went so far as to tell the assembled teabaggers that, “You’re not a citizen of the United States.”
Pearce’s bill is in part to defend Arizona’s anti-immigration law, and although the bill cites the Tenth Amendment and some curious references to the 14th Amendment, it is unquestionably in direct violation of Article VI (Supremacy Clause) of the Constitution. The legalities notwithstanding, it is Pearce’s mindset that states, and indeed citizens, are not Americans if they disagree with the laws of the land. They want the benefits of being an American as long as it includes white supremacy in a government controlled by neo-conservative, backward moving policies. Throughout Pearce’s bill, there are references to the Founding Fathers and their intentions as interpreted by Pearce’s states’ sovereignty philosophy. It is a philosophy that propounds the argument that each state has the right to their own laws; Federal mandates, measures, or executive orders are an intrusion on freedom and liberty.
It is curious that during 8 years of Bush-era malfeasance and destructive economic policies, states were not nullifying federal laws or floating the notion of secession from the United States in spite of the fact that Bush supported immigration reform. It was not until Barack Obama was running for president that Republicans started promoting real America as superior to the rest of the country that supported a Black candidate as president. There was little doubt that the real America Palin and company promoted was uniquely white, Christian Conservative, gun-carrying, gay hating, bible-toting Americans longing to return to the segregated 1950’s . In that sense, as America and the rest of the world has moved into the 21st century, Pearce, Palin, and teabaggers are not Americans just as Pearce proclaimed in promoting his unconstitutional bill.
Conservative America is so appalled and insulted that a black man is sitting in the Oval Office that they do not want to be Americans any longer. It was not the Affordable Health Care Act, a socialist agenda, or any other fabricated issue the tea party and Republicans are using to oppose the Obama Administration, it is the president’s race. The anti-American sentiment being promoted by Republicans and teabaggers uses any means necessary to delegitimize the president, and Republican leadership is complicit in the racist agenda. Whether it is the birther movement or Fox News’ pundits promoting the idea that Obama is a Socialist or Marxist, it is certainly racially motivated. President Obama is a Centrist who Republicans criticize regardless the conservative, business-friendly policies he supports or the lower taxes for the wealthy and corporations he acquiesced to. The constant barrage of propaganda from Fox News and conservative pundits that portray Obama as wrong, un-American, or not like us has pushed the notion that America with a black president is not real America.
There will always be opposition to the governing party’s policies and legislative agenda; it is part of being American. However, the divisive nature of either being real Americans or not American is a dangerous proposition that is dividing the country. Russell Pearce tells audiences they are not citizens of the United States and they cheer wildly because America is wrong with an African-American president. It seems that Pearce and his ilk do not understand that America or its government is not one man. In neo-conservative, tea party ideology real America is white, corporatist, and ultra-Christian, and it is supported by far-right extremists and main-stream Republicans.
In Congress, Republicans announced early in Obama’s presidency that they would obstruct every piece of legislation and say no to every proposal from Democrats regardless that some proposals initiated with Republicans. Senator Mitch McConnell has said often that the Republicans’ goal and only purpose is to limit President Obama to one term in office. Congressional Republicans are as un-American as Pearce’s group because they were not elected to limit the president to one term and have not fulfilled their obligation to govern.
American greatness is always revealed when the country works as one toward a common goal that includes shared sacrifice and contribution. For the past two-and-a-half years though, the country has fragmented into disparate groups of either real Americans, or now, in the case of the tenther movement, not Americans.
The truth of the matter is that Republicans, teabaggers, and neo-cons are not Americans, except by birthright. Conservatives are governing from a vendetta against a black man in the Oval Office and in the process are tearing America apart. Republicans and conservatives claim that loyalty to America is the greatest attribute a citizen can attain to but their loyalty is to corporate wealth, the religious right, and white males. The bill in Arizona typifies a growing discontent with America as it progresses into the 21st century, and the discontent, borne of hatred for a Black president, will eventually result in America’s downfall.
It is imperative that Republicans rejoin America and cease their obstructionist tactics if America is to remain an amalgamation of states and peoples as well as a force on the world stage. It is time for Republicans to fulfill their obligation to work for America and not their idealized 20th century delusion. The sentiment in Arizona is the result of constant derision of the Obama Administration by Republicans and conservative pundits and it is bearing the worst kind of fruit for a nation. Our country is the United States of America, but if conservatives continue their divisiveness, there will be real America, and a backward, third-world country stuck in 1950 and ruled by a white corporate preacher; good luck Arizona.