One Sided Conversation With Lileks
I loves me some James Lileks Bleat. He has this amazing capacity to turn the everyday into the sublime, and a way with zany metaphors that makes me both jealous and delighted. But sometimes he gets up on this right-wing soapbox that equates social consciousness with hatred of America... and in defense of liberal America, I wrote to him today. Here's the article that provoked my response (which was, I hope, polite and good-humored)
And here was my response:
I am avid reader of your columns, and your bleat - and I aspire to your sort
of quotidian eloquence in my own blog
I am troubled, in a friendly sort of way, with your continued insistence
that the socially conscious left somehow hates America. I am an unrepentent
bleeding-heart liberal myself - and yet, I've honorably served my country in
the U.S. Army, love my country very much, and never fail to boggle at the
amazing standard of living we have here. Surrounded by the titanic
accomplishments of the wealthiest, most influential - and I truly believe -
conscientious and moral nation in the history of the world, I feel grateful
to be an American, and proud of my country.
And yet, there is fault to find. This does not wash away all the
astonishingly swell things America has done for the world, and for
Americans. But there is room to improve.
I never doubt that we will - and I never mistake people who are concerned
with those people who are concerned with our less-than-perfect track record
with haters of America. I give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume
that they have a global conscience. Similarly, I don't assume that cranky
right-wing commentators aren't closeted racists out to oppress any minority
or out group they can get their gold-shod heels on.
Why does caring about what America does in the world have to equate to
hatred of America?
That's a rhetorical question. Barbara Ehrenreich doesn't hate America - she
works to point out how working class people in America are treated shabbily
by hypocritical mega-businesses. I'm sure she'd be delighted if people could
get cheap cheddar *and* a fair shake in the workplace. And why not? This is
America... if we work hard, and use our conscience as well as our business
savvy - we can have both.
I know he won't respond (he's said as much in past columns) but I hope that maybe he'll feel a little less cranky and suspicious of the American left. But not *too* much less cranky, because, after all - his Mencken-like curmudgeonly rants are the best!