What in the heck is going on? Speaking at a recent event honoring Repulican Presidential candidate Scott Walker, Rudi Giuliani went off the deep end. “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.”
Whoa!!! This isn’t some far right Tea Party wacko like Donald Trump spouting gibberish about Barrack Obama being born in Kenya. This is a traditional Republican who isn’t running for anything spouting horse hockey about President Obama and implying that he is somehow not patriotic, not a real American. Is Rudy that starved for attention or has that crazy disease which has long infected that party’s far right wing now spread to main stream Republicans?
Giuliani’s statement was made at a private fund raiser and it is the kind of red meat that is typically thrown out when trying to excite right wing potential donors into frenzy so that the maximum amount of political contributions can be extracted from their wallets. However, it is also the kind of statement that typically gets walked back by sensible politicians if and when the press gets wind of it. Giuliani had several opportunities to do just that, but he responded by doubling down.
Apparently what caused Rudy to go into a patriotic fervor is the Presidents insistence on referring to our fight with ISIS as a battle with “radical extremists” rather “radical Islamic extremists” Now one wouldn’t think that such subtle phraseology differences could cause such flap, but it is not a distinction without a difference. Not only does it apparently matter to right wing politicians who wrap themselves in an invisible American flag every time they go out in public, but it also matters to a large segment of the world’s population.
There are over a billion Muslims on earth and probably 99.99% of them do not ascribe to the perverted desecration of their religion popularized by ISIS and they understandably don’t want to be associated with a group capable of such horrid atrocities. In addition, some of the most important countries in the large coalition which the President has put together to fight ISIS are populated mostly by Sunni Arabs. These countries are important not necessarily because of their military capabilities, but because the mad men who make up ISIS’s leadership are Sunni. With countries such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia fighting side by side with Iraq, ISIS cannot characterize the fight as a typical Sunni-Shia conflict.
Arab countries in the coalition have made it quite clear that the ISIS leaders are not true Muslims and instead they call them heretics who have bastardized the Muslim religion in the pursuit of power. When the President proclaims, “We are not at war with Islam!”, he simply stating the basic truth. We are not at war with the vast majority of the Muslims in the world who condemn those terrorists for sullying the name of their religion.
One of the strange things about right wing, ultra nationalistic Republicans is that they put our country on such a pedestal that they consider any attempt by one of our leaders take into consideration the sensitivities of other peoples and other countries to be degrading to our national pride. What a strange concept of patriotism they espouse.
Isn’t it in America’s best interest to have many other counties join us in fighting ISIS instead going it alone (as per George W. Bush) and committing hundreds of thousands of our young men and women to risk their lives on foreign battlefields. Isn’t in our best interest to have among our allies counties whose leaders and clerics have the moral authority to condemn the bastardized version of their religion which ISIS uses to recruit gullible young Muslims?
If the answers to those questions are obvious, then when in the hell did it become patriotic to insult those who would fight with us and degrade our enemy’s ability to recruit?
I am sick of tired of right wing zealots wrapping themselves in the red, white and blue and proclaiming that they are the only patriots who love this country. Coming from Rudy Giuliani that attitude is particularly insulting. He claims that he “was brought up to love of this country”. I guess he learned that love of country from his father who was a convicted felon and earned his living as an enforcer for his brother in law who ran an organized crime operation. Since I am not of Rudy’s political persuasion, and since I support the President, I suppose that Giuliani would claim to be the bigger patriot than me. Yet when he was beginning his career as a lawyer and later a politician, I was voluntarily serving my country in the armed forces during the Vietnam War. A judge wrote the draft board to have Rudy’s draft status reclassified and he managed to escape the draft completely.
Right wing Republicans are not only Americans who love our country and while they may be more nationalistic, they are no more patriotic than the rest of us. Respecting others in the world does not make us any less American, but it may enable us to better act in our country’s best interests. And isn’t that what patriotism is all about?