“I believe in America,” are the first words spoken in The Godfather, by the immigrant undertaker Bonasera to Vito Corleone.
• “Morning in America” won Ronald Reagan the presidency. The smell of coffee brewing, the sound of bacon sizzling and roosters crowing! Reagan embodied sunny optimism and the promise of renewal.
• Democrats mocked Tommy Thompson as a cheerleader. They laughed when TGT predicted a Rose Bowl for the Badgers. Don Morton was coach back then. No political figure has ever loved Wisconsin more. His sourpuss opponent Chuck Chvala, Tommy would say, chewed lemons.
• “Happy Days are Here Again” serenaded FDR’s voters during the Great Depression.
Mandela Barnes could do well to cut a TV ad expressing his love of country and optimism — but he can’t redact his own recent history. If the Werkes seems fixated on the Lesser Mandela it is because Barnes is the cynosure of Woke, Blame-America-First identity politics. He is the 1619 Project’s candidate for U.S. Senate here in Wisconsin. Eager to wear the hair T-shirt of oppression if it promotes lawless borders and defunds law enforcement.
On the first day of 2015, Barnes applauded a Twitter post by the Iranian strongman Khamenei that slammed the U.S. government over slavery: “U.S. government oppression against blacks is a 100s year-old issue,” wrote Khamenei, adding the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
Just last year, Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor scolded America’s founding, saying, “things were bad. Things were terrible. The founding of this nation? Awful!”According to a 2021 Gallup survey, only 34% of progressive activists say they are “proud to be American” compared to 62% of Asians, 70% of blacks, and 76% of Hispanics.’
The losing politics of resentment
“Progressives haven’t lost the argument on patriotism,” writes a progressive at the Tony Blair Institute for Change, “We have failed to make one.” Which is why the Left is losing minorities — hispanic immigrants, especially. We’ve quoted Ruy Teixeira before, he’s the guy trying to revive the Democrat(ic) party of JFK and Harry Truman:
Let’s face it: today’s Democrats have a bit of a problem with patriotism. It’s kind of hard to strike up the band on patriotism when you’ve been endorsing the view that America was born in slavery, marinated in racism and remains a white supremacist society, shot through with multiple, intersecting levels of injustice that make everybody either oppressed or oppressor on a daily basis.
— Ruy Teixeira, “Democrats should embrace patriotism.“
Blaska’s Bottom Line: The Washington Post observed the passing of, at age 90, one of the last children of an American slave. “We could never talk negatively about America in front of my father. He did not have much but he really, really loved America. Isn’t that funny?”