So if you're not with us, you're against us?
I admit it: I don't understand the "If you're not with us, you're against us" argument.
My mom sometimes listens to Howie Chizek, a radio personality on Akron's WNIR (motto: "The talk of Akron"). Howie's pretty conservative, and he angers me a lot because he often comes off as chauvinist, homophobic, and anti-environment. My mom likes a lot of what he says, but she admits that disagrees with him on these points.
The guy drives me nuts. He's prone to racial or national slurs. Today he was discussing the Lance Armstrong debacle, and he concluded that it was all nonsense, made up by ... I think he said a smelly, hairy Frenchman, although he might have said that it was a Frenchman who smelled in his armpit hair. I apologize for not having the correct quote - I was in the car and didn't write it down. Anyway, Howie concluded that this was further evidence of France's anti-American feelings.
First of all, while nothing's certain yet Armstrong and the drugs, this is a serious allegation and one that should be looked into, not laughed away.
And secondly, I've had two friends travel abroad this summer, and both spent time in France. Both said they loved it and weren't made to feel alienated or ostracized. I can't speak for all people, obviously, but I can say firmly that both of these friends had a great time and loved France.
The whole argument that France hates America comes from their disagreements with us over the war in Iraq. And I don't understand what's wrong with disagreement. What's wrong with discussion? How is disagreeing with the government anti-American and helping the terrorists? Yet, all over, people are saying nonsense like this. And that leads to such hatred. For example, Fox's John Gibson said that Paris should have gotten the Olympics rather than London because then Paris would get blown up. He said this a day before the London bombings:
By the way, just wanted to tell you people, we missed -- the International Olympic Committee missed a golden opportunity today. If they had picked France, if they had picked France instead of London to hold the Olympics, it would have been the one time we could look forward to where we didn't worry about terrorism. They'd blow up Paris, and who cares? [link]
We also have Ann Coulter's truly stupid comments on November 30, 2004's 'Hannity & Colmes,' in which she talked about US bombing Canada because Canadians protested during Bush's visit.
COULTER: They better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent.[link]
(I think I should take this moment to sing praises for the wonderful Media Matters. What a great site!)
-I deleted a bit of the entry here because I missed a word and misinterpreted something the President said. I take full responsibility for sloppy reading. To make up for it, read this link for more people with a "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality.-
So now there is this idea (supported by some people) that if you disagree with the President or administration, you weaken the US. And that's just ridiculous. No other way to say it. That's ridiculous. And it's dangerous, too. I know I say that word all the time; this or that is dangerous. But I really think it is. People don't spend enough time thinking about their words.
I'll end with this quote, which I find pertinant to the above thoughts:
"Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." [link]
Hermann Goering said that on April 18, 1946. Interesting, huh?