Thursday, February 07, 2008

Declaration Controversy

I was listening to Monday's Dennis Miller show, and his studio sidekick Sal mentioned that he was put off by the reading of the Declaration of Independence before the Superbowl. He said he felt it was political, and that a football game was no place for it.

This is referring to an "ad" where various NFL players, officials, some soldiers, and former NFL player's Pat Tillman's (killed in Afghanistan) mother. This seemed particularly aggregious to Sal.

One caller observed:

"I'm a little upset that we've become so politically correct that it's considered a conservative propaganda move to read the Declaration of Independence on the air [...] I mean we, sort of, speaking as a country ..."
Sal interjected

"when did Fox become a country?"

First of all, the interjection made no sense because the caller was saying he was upset that "we" as a country were offended by what Fox did. Nobody was suggesting that "Fox" pretended it was speaking for the country. But we'll let that slide.

This, and at this time I have no idea what Sal's political orientation is, illustrates one of the apparent core tenets of progressive-American thought (whether Sal is progressive or not). And that is that no one can say anything in public that doesn't speak for all of us, and by us they mean them.

No, Fox is not a country. Nobody suggested Fox was a country or that Fox speaks for everbody. It is a private sector business. And if Fox wants to forego several million dollars in potential advertising revenue to read an historical document which provided the foundation of this country, the country that produced football, the country that enshrined Freedom of Speech in its Constitution -- on the air, on its dime, that is their business.

The Superbowl doesn't belong to America. The Superbowl belongs to the NFL. The rights to broadcast the Superbowl were bought from the NFL by Fox. The broadcast doesn't belong to America, and it certainly doesn't belong to progressive America by any sort of extension. The right to watch it, or not, so far, belongs to you and me by the good graces of Fox. Fox doesn't charge you for it because it charges advertisers to advertise during the broadcast. And sometimes, Fox broadcasts messages from Fox, which it has every right to do. There was nothing defamatory in it. Every word came straight out of history and had not been michaelmoored into something it wasn't. A reminder of how we started. What we believed. Who we were in the beginning.

Dennis observed (from an objecting viewpoint):
... America is supposed to be the ones who never, ever, ever have any catharsis, any pride, that we alway stay to ourselves, we're sort of embarrassed about our power...
Yes, every other culture in the world must be preserved, must be elevated and celebrated ... but never, ever, ever American culture. Unless we're talking, again, about 20th century American coutnter-culture. Counter-American is cool. American is not.

The fact that some apparently feel that reading the Declaration of Independence is somehow supportive of one political ideology over another says something very telling about the political ideology whose adherents would take offense to it.

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