America at our best: John McCain. America at our worst: Michele Bachmann and her four Congressional lap dogs

Americans welcome people who are different. They enrich our culture. They bring new energy to our society. They do us proud as a melting pot of cultures.

Americans shun people who are different. They debase our culture. They take our jobs. They seduce our children. They talk like foreigners.

So it was with Germans and Irish in the early 1800s. So it was with Jews and Chinese in the late 1800s. Italians in the early 1900s. Africans forever. And so it is with Muslims today.

At our best we befriend the stranger and his children, we treat them kindly, we hire them, and we defend them. At our worst we demean them, discriminate against them, exploit them, and attack them.

America at our worst is five House Republicans, led by Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who have accused countless American Muslims who work for the U.S. government of being secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood, the pan-Middle East organization with a past (and perhaps a future) of religious extremism and violence. To put a face on the enemy they accuse Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, of association with the Brotherhood.

America at our best is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who rose on the Senate floor today to give a passionate speech defending Ms. Abedin. After defending her based on his personal knowledge he summed up why this is so important:

“This is about who we are as a nation, and who we aspire to be. What makes America exceptional among the countries of the world is that we are bound together as citizens not by blood or class, not by sect or ethnicity, but by a set of enduring, universal, and equal rights that are the foundation of our constitution, our laws, our citizenry, and our identity. When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.

America at our best would be more of our leaders, especially Republicans, denouncing hatemongers of their party.

————–

Thanks to Morley Winograd and Mike Hais for the reminder of our mixed record on immigration.

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