For anybody who actually reads my blog on a regular basis knows that a few months ago, I tried watching various pundit shows, including Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The O'Reilly Factor, and Hannity & Colmes. My conclusion? The shows were crap, with H&C being perhaps one of the most inane (no, I'm not misspelling "insane" - look it up) things I've ever seen in my life. I also watched Sean Hannity's other show, Hannity's America. I summed up the episode that I watched as follows: "Agh!!! Aghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! The illegal immigrants are coming over the border and they want to take your jobs, destroy the country and rape your pets!!!!!!!!!!! AGHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
It was the most shameless pieces of yellow journalism that I've ever seen in my life. Now, I've only seen that one episode, but it was clear that the point was to make people upset and feel as though they were under attack. Nothing like a good distraction to get people to forget things like the Iraq War, eh? (And please, I'm not suggesting that illegal immigration isn't a problem. If you can't see that, you have no sense of nuance.)
After seeing all of these shows, I decided to stick with my newspaper, my home page's news stories, and the Comedy Central shows. Life is too short to waste it on blowhards like Sean Hannity, who has such a smarmy way of talking that I want to cave his nose in with a mallet. So, I found out about this latest thing on Stephen Colbert's show. Do check it out:
Okay, if you didn't feel like watching it, Colbert was making fun of Hannity's newest thing where he repeatedly refers to America as the "greatest best country God has ever given man on the face of the Earth." Apparently, his show even has a graphic for it.
Colbert jokingly calls Hannity brave for declaring this over and over again. That's the thing about it - what kind of a bold statement is that, anyway? I'd be more impressed if some woman in Iran said it. I mean, do you really think that any of Hannity's viewers are going to call in and protest it? Of course not - this is some of the most shameless pandering I've ever seen in my life.
Now, if you're sitting there saying, "Well, he's just being a patriot" then I have the following to say to you: bullshit. Give me a break. If there's a line between jingoism and patriotism, then Hannity is so far on the jingoism side that he can't even see the line any more. The thing is, when people feel the need to keep repeating something over and over again, I start to distrust whether they actually feel that way. Ever have somebody repeatedly tell you that they "respect" you? Ever notice that the people who do that are the ones who show you the least amount of respect?
What feels foolish, but I'm going to do it anyway, is that I feel the need to point out that I do love my country. I honestly don't think that I'd want to live anywhere else. Now, if you gave me a billion dollars to live somewhere else, then I'd reconsider it, and I'm sure that I'd find someplace else that makes me happy (I really liked Victoria, British Columbia, for instance!) Still, I don't feel the need to wave a flag and constantly talk about how "great" America is. And let's get real for a moment - how can you honestly say this unless you've lived in EVERY country in the world?
Are there a lot of reasons why America is a great place to live? Hell yeah! Are there a lot of countries that it clearly is better than? Damn skippy. (I'm looking at you, Saudi Arabia! Unless you're a wealthy oil sheik - in which case, it's as good for you as any place is going to be.) Still, I seem to recall reading an article recently where a poll indicated that Danish citizens are more happy than the citizens of any other country. Now, that's not proof that Denmark is a better country, but it certainly indicates that one can lead a happy, fulfilled life there. I'm sure that there are plenty of people in various countries throughout the world who wouldn't come to live in America even if they were fully informed of all the pros and cons.
So, do I somehow love America less than Sean Hannity does because I don't feel the need to keep saying it's the greatest? If anything, I think that I'm a little more secure in my love for my country. After all, my wife likes to hear me say that I love her. I'm sure though that if I said it to her every five minutes, created a banner declaring so in every room of the house, tatooed it on my face, taught the cat to say it, forced every person she knows to tell her how much I love her, and wrote a novel with the sentence "I love you, Kirsti" printed over and over again, she'd start to get a little weirded out.
That's how I think that America should feel about Sean Hannity.