This Is "Unity"?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jul 10, 2008 3:31 PM
It's not just that Barack is telling us to "make sure your child can speak Spanish."

He's also been expressing embarrassment that Americans can't speak French when they go to Europe. 

When it comes to the latter, set aside the obvious elitism in his assumption that regular Americans have lots of either the time or money requried to do the transcontinental travel that he, apparently, is so familiar with.

Listen instead to the audience in the background -- the laughter as Barack critiques Americans' linguistic shortcomings.  It's not self-deprecating, certainly on the candidate's part (he speaks more than one language).  Nor, it seems, on the audience's. 

Instead, the laughter is derisive . . . a frequent default posture of the left, enjoying a contemptuous laugh at the expense of the hicks and the rubes who "embarrass" sophisticates with their monolingualism, their proud pro-Americanism, their religiosity, their lapel flags and the like.

It's remarkable to me that anyone can find anything "unifying" about this kind of discourse.  Encouraging Americans to look down on and laugh at their fellow citizens -- not in a particularly kind way -- is hardly the signifier of unity.