I'm fascinated by and have done a previous column on lies that Americans cherish and want to believe in even though history says the opposite and even though the lie is so big---it's as plain as the nose on my face.
And still they want to believe it.
For example, in an earlier column, I touched on the mythological belief that Republicans favor small government. Every election the Republicans run on calls for smaller government, and every Republican administration has expanded the size of government enormously for the past 80 years. The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans choose to bankrupt the country with doomsday weapons systems instead of the social programs (Republicans call them give-aways) that Democrats more often tend to favor.
As a general rule, weapons systems and nation-building in foreign countries are much more expensive than social programs, PBS (Public Broadcast Service) and Big Bird of the kind the Republicans want to cut.
Another lie that is so huge, so un-American, so ridiculously false that only sublime ignorance could perpetuate it is-- American unity-- we all agree-- is great.
We've had sayings like "We're United," after 9-11. Or, "We Stand as One."
Ignorant people say this, ignorant of history, as if they believe it's true. What's even more incredible, they say it as if they believe it's desirable. We all agree on a course of action.
When in American history has this (unity) ever happened? Maybe once?
Right after the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II America was pretty unified. That was the one time. Just before World War II, there had been a substantial isolationist "America First" movement led by aviator Charles Lindbergh and millions of others who up until Pearl Harbor disagreed with American involvement in overseas conflict.
And of course that excluded the thousands of Japanese Americans who were illegally locked in prison camps for no other reason than their ethnic heritage.
Other than that, when has America ever been united? Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr fought a duel in which Hamilton was killed over political differences. Andrew Jackson pole-axed a guy over the head with his cane on the front lawn of the White House over a disagreement.
He shot another in a dual over a politically-motivated slander.
Is this unity?
We fought a Civil War in which thousands died?
Is this unity?
In the drum beat of war propaganda launched by the war criminals George Bush and Dick Cheney and supported by a compliant media----you would have thought there was unity for war against Iraq and its false weapons of mass destruction. However, thousands of Americans opposed it and a majority today say it was wrong and a waste of effort, money and lives.
Is this unity?
But more important, even if it was, is unity a good thing? America has always been about disagreement and the right to disagree.
In a dictatorship there are three kinds of people, those who disagree and are in jail, those who are scared shi'less and hide in their homes and don't say peep in protest, and party fanatics who run the system or follow it.
Americans who disagree often hate each other's guts. From the NRA and the non-NRA, to abortion or non-abortion, from conservatives to liberals, from black and white, from Catholic and non, from this and that, or whatever. Sometimes we take out assault guns and shoot each other.
That's the price exacted by freedom---even though today we have less freedom because of the Patriot Act inspired by the war criminals Bush and Cheney.
Americans have never agreed, have never been unified over anything or anyone except for a brief moment in 1941. At worst, unity is more often than not not good at all. When we all think the same thing, nine times out of ten, we really don't, and even if we did, it's wrong.
The Founding Fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and the rest, who were not unified, who were accusing each other of being traitors (Washington was spared more than the rest), designed a hypocritical document, The Constitution, which excluded blacks and women. Nevertheless, they provided a system based on checks and balances so that one branch of government, executive, judicial, wouldn't overwhelm the others and take over.
They wanted civilian control and not military.
Is this unity? You've designed a system to place one body of government against the others to prevent one from obliterating the others. That means disagreement, the right to disagree, veto, cancel out, whatever you want to call it.
Our Constitution is a papered example of disunity. Disagreement is an American right.
When you wistfully recall, after 9-11 that we were once unified, as if it's great, it was not only untrue, it resulted in a war crime.
I have no interest in being unified, because other people do not agree with my opinion and it's their right to not agree. For my part, if you don't like my opinion'.you can go to Hell!
Now that's American.