Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards sees "two Americas."
Edwards, at the Democratic National Convention, said, "Let me talk about why we need to build one America. I saw up close what having two Americas does to our country. From the time I was very young, I saw the ugly face of segregation and discrimination. I saw young African-American kids sent upstairs in movie theaters. I saw 'white only' signs on restaurant doors and luncheon counters. I feel such an enormous responsibility when it comes to issues of race and equality and civil rights."
Illinois Democratic senatorial candidate Barack Obama, however, gave a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention in which he saw but one America: "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states."
But at a recent campaign stop in Kansas, Edwards' "two Americas" suddenly morphed into one. "For all those politicians and pollsters who say, 'Wait a minute, why are you taking one valuable day to come back to Kansas to campaign? Kansas is a red state.' To John Kerry and I (sic), there is no red state, there is no blue state, there is only one United States of America."
"Documentarian" Michael Moore, in fact, recently likened the Iraqi resistance to the American Revolution: "The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not 'insurgents' or 'terrorists' or 'The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win." Comedienne/activist Janeane Garofalo said that 9/11 caused a persecution of Arab-Americans. "A lot of these people that jumped on that slam-the-Dixie-Chicks bandwagon, these are people that just are misogynists, or just are people that hate, or people that are just racists -- you know, Arab is the new black now. I mean it's like let's just hate Arabs, so they write hate mail . . . "
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, himself a former presidential candidate, recently called Dick Cheney a "coward." Why? Cheney dared take issue with Kerry's position -- such as it is -- in the war on terror. "When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney," said Harkin, "who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil. . . . Those of us who served and those of us who went in the military don't like it when someone like a Dick Cheney comes out and he wants to be tough. Yeah, he'll be tough. He'll be tough with somebody else's blood, somebody else's kids. But not when it was his turn to go."
For a window into that worldview, take George W. Bush's recent campaign stop in Santa Monica, Calif., one of the most liberal cities in the country. My producer, Les Siegel, explored the logic of some anti-Bush protesters:
Protester No. 1:
Question: What does your sign say?
Answer: "Bush, You're Fired!" He only has three more months left, and I'm so happy.
Question: Do you want Kerry to win?
Answer: Oh, yeah. Bush is a dictator and he's a fascist, and he's just destroying America, and everything that Americans believe is ruined because of him.
Question: How is he a dictator?
Answer: Because he's going around murdering innocent people, lying to everybody, and it's all for his own profit . . . putting money in his own pocket.
Question What's his biggest lie?
Answer: With the war? Actually him being president, number one. He cheated. His brother Jeb got him into office. And his father, give me a break, come on. He has to go because he's the worst president alive. ("Or dead, too," someone in the background faintly added.)
Protester No. 2:
Question: What does your sign say?
Answer: "Stop the war -- Bring home the troops now."
Question: Why are you protesting?
Answer: I've been around for 70 years, and I've never seen a president as immoral as Bush. I think he's the worst in my memory.
Yes, we have two Americas.
On the one hand, we have Americans -- even those who refuse to support Bush -- who see the president as a decent human being attempting to do the right thing. On the other hand, we have the almost pathological we-hate-Bush chorus whose high-profile members include the Michael Moore-Al Franken-Janeane Garofalo-types. They seem to despise Bush more than Osama bin Laden.