Politics & Media
Feb 23, 2009, 07:21AM

The glass is half full. I hope.

When "Blame America first" is the mature, more patriotic route.

A bit grateful calm:

One of the most tired accusations is that so-and-so “blames America first,” which in a more sane world would be understood as taking responsibility for one’s own flaws. One would think that a more damning charge would be to say that someone never blames America, and so refuses to take responsibility for anything done in her, our, name, but even this use of the word blame is misguided. In fact, most of the people who “blame America first” go to great lengths to identify the flaws of America only with the parts of the country unlike theirs and only with the people on the other side of cultural and political divides. The more comprehensive the critique, the fewer people there are who want to hear it. When making a cultural critique of private habits, the resistance becomes even more fierce. The more prophetic and less convenient the warning, the less political traction it has because it unites more enemies against it. To call for self-restraint, rather than self-congratulation and self-rewarding, from everyone is necessarily to be a voice in the wilderness.


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