Those Who Hate Liberals Really Hate A Free America
Those Who Hate "Liberals" Really Hate A Free America
by Harvey Wasserman
June 1, 2004
The rightist ''conservative'' media moguls who hate ''liberals'' actually hate a free America. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, Hannity and O'Reilly, the Weekly Standard and Wall Street Journal---they all rant at some unspecified species allegedly left of center.
But right from its birth, America has been the very definition of a liberal nation. Today's Foxist ditto-heads would have hated all America's founders: Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Paine, and even the father of the modern corporate state, Alexander Hamilton. All were liberals, both classic and modern. The documents they wrote---the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights---all were the definition of liberal.
Rush's "conservative" rightists would have hated them then. And though they won't admit it, they hate them now.
As for ending slavery, Ann Coulter would have SCREAMED at Abe Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation would have INFURIATED Hannity. The Gettysburg Address would have ENRAGED O'Reilly.
And don't even MENTION the environmentalism of U.S. Grant or Teddy Roosevelt.
But lets start with Ben Franklin, the true father of our country. This ultimate Enlightenment genius was the western world's most famous citizen. The man who defined electricity was America's leading writer, publisher, diplomat and humorist. "Poor Richard's Almanac" was one of the world's most influential publications. Franklin helped found so many institutions---public libraries, post offices, insurance companies---and made so many inventions---like the lightning rod and Franklin stove---that his vita fills whole books.
He was the only man to sign the Big Three: The Declaration, the Treaty of Paris (which sealed the Revolution's victory) and the Constitution.
Ben Franklin was also the ultimate liberal. He signed the first abolitionist petition to Congress. Supremely tolerant, he loved beautiful women, fine food, and the French. He believed in freedom, diversity, the Enlightenment, and progress. He spoke with amusement of the wild oats he sowed as a youth, and of "the ladies" he courted while seducing France into helping the young America free itself from the British.
Can you hear Rush's blood boil? Can you taste Ann Coulter's venom spewing through the centuries?
Then there's Tom Jefferson: brilliant, learned, master architect, ultimate phrase turner, Lockean liberal. Nobody stoked the leftist rhetoric of revolution and democracy, equality and progress better than Jefferson. He was a slave-owner, which the right would have liked. But he also consorted with one, the spirited Sally Hemmings, with whom he had at least three children. Can you hear Jerry Falwell SCREAM!!!
Then that shrimpy James Madison, spouting off about human liberties, combing the state constitutions to draft that ultimate liberal screed, the Bill of Rights. Hannity would have declared it "obsolete" at birth. If there's one document the conservatives hate most of all, it's Jamie Madison's Ten Commandments of civil rights and liberty.
Even George Washington, the ultimate war hero, stood his ground on a free America. When offered the dictatorship, he refused, saying America should remain a republic. Can you imagine George Bush, who never saw battle, doing the same?
To top it off, the master of Mount Vernon took enormous pains to make sure his slaves were freed and well cared for upon his death. What a bleeding heart!
As for Hamilton, the darling of the early corporations was born a bastard. He was a monarchist, which the National Review would have liked. He set the foundation for the modern American industrial state, from which Murdoch still profits.
But like Bill Clinton, Hamilton was also forced to admit to an extra-marital affair. And---can you believe it---he was an abolitionist! He opposed slavery!! Fox News is howling!!!
Even John Adams, staunch federalist, distruster of the people, supported the Bill of Rights. When Haitian slaves staged the world's second anti-imperial revolution, Adams stood by them. He even made national headlines by having a man of color to dinner! The Wall Street Journal edit page would have gone ballistic!
And that feminist wife of his, that Hillary....er Abigail Adams. Rush would have branded her the ultimate femi- nazi.
Throw in Abe Lincoln, that liberal ACLU-type lawyer, fighting a war to free black people, telling the southerners they can't secede. A damn totalitarian, right O'Reilly?
Then U.S. Grant, who established Yellowstone Park, and Teddy Roosevelt who fought for so many more like it. Wimps! Greenies!! Bleeding hearts!!! Eco-Terrorists!!!!
Put it all together and you have a group of pointy-headed liberal geniuses whose Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation, national parks and much much more remain the liberal bulwark of world freedom---unless the America-haters can destroy them. Unless the new George III can use the sword of terror to stab America's liberal heart.
The word "Christian" does not appear in the Constitution, no matter what Pat Robertson says. Most of the founders were Deists. They believed a divine being set this world in motion and then set the laws of nature free to work their magic.
Most of all the Founding Fathers hated---UNANIMOUSLY---the idea of an official church, or a bunch of self- appointed bigots telling everyone else what to believe. They bitterly opposed theocrats like Falwell and Robertson who forever preach that those who question the corporate state are traitors. In the Foxist world, diversity itself is intolerable.
But it was precisely that diversity the Founding Fathers wrote the Bill of Rights protect. In short, they were LIBERALS. And the nation they so successfully spawned has always been just that--- LIBERAL.
So when we hear extremists like Limbaugh and Coulter, Hannity and O'Reilly howling away, we know it's not just liberals they hate. It's the free, diverse, tolerant nation the Founding Fathers created. The one whose liberal Bill of Rights lets even Foxist America-haters make oxy-morons of themselves all day, everyday.
That's how Ben and Tom and his liberal pals wanted it. May it always be thus.