Thursday, April 26, 2012

But we are special

And Mitt Romney wants you to know it:

I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company. Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car.

Paul Waldman asks Romney, and basically every other politician, to just stop it and get over yourself:

Can we just put aside the "only in America" schtick? It's like every presidential candidate has to channel Yakov Smirnoff at some point. Let's be honest about this. America does indeed offer enormous opportunities for all kinds of people, despite our huge and growing inequality. The attraction it has always held for immigrants made this country what it is. For a long time, the kinds of opportunities available here were a rarity among nations, when in so many places class lines were much more rigid. But that's not true anymore. There are lots of places where somebody can come from modest circumstances and achieve wealth and/or power. South African president Jacob Zuma's father was a cop, and his mother was a maid; he grew up without any formal schooling. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's father was an accountant. Evo Morales was a subsistence farmer who turned to growing coca, and now he's the president of Bolivia. Now those are some bootstraps! And you know who else pulled himself up from modest circumstances? Saddam Hussein, that's who.

Why is it necessary to assert that every good thing about America can only be found in America? We should continue to be enormously proud of the fact that we were the first democracy, but sometimes we act as though America is the only place in the world that isn't still ruled by a king. Are we so insecure about ourselves and our nation that we have to be constantly told that we're the most terrific country that ever was or ever will be, and there's nobody else even remotely like us? Is Mitt Romney running for president, or does he want to be some combination of a proud grandfather and a national life coach?

For a democratic republican that is over 200 years old we appear really immature a lot of times. We all need validation sometimes. But to constantly seek it and claim we are the greatest bunch of fuckers ever speaks to some deep seeded insecurities. And speaking of immaturity, when it comes to the rule of law, Glenn Greenwald has yet another example of the Obama administration blatantly flaunting it:

That’s about as vivid an expression of the President’s agenda, and his sense of justice, and the state of the Rule of Law in America, as one can imagine. The same person who directed the DOJ to shield torturers and illegal government eavesdroppers from criminal investigation, and who voted to retroactively immunize the nation’s largest telecom giants when they got caught enabling criminal spying on Americans, and whose DOJ has failed to indict a single Wall Street executive in connection with the 2008 financial crisis or mortgage fraud scandal, suddenly discovers the imperatives of The Rule of Law when it comes to those, in accordance with state law, providing medical marijuana to sick people with a prescription.

I guess the US is the greatest if you happen to be someone like Mitt Romney whose dad bestowed wealth and power upon him at birth. When you have those things and thus are above the law I guess it would be hard not to constantly talk about how great this place is.

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