Treason and Patriotism

America’s leftists have often had a difficult time recognizing treasonous acts among their own.  Hanoi Jane Fonda sided with the Communist North Vietnamese and defamed American POWs, and the Left embraced her as its spokeswoman.  Sean Penn consorted with anti-American despots, and the Left in Hollywood gave him an Oscar. 

So it was surprising this week to learn that a leading liberal columnist finally got the nerve to call out those who work to undermine their nation’s security.  This week New York Times polemicist Paul Krugman boldly decried U.S. lawmakers for the “unforgiveable” offense of ignoring an “existential threat” to “future generations of Americans.” 

Sadly, Krugman was not holding liberal lawmakers accountable for their willful blindness to the threat of Islamic terrorism.  Instead, Krugman accused the 212 members of the House of Representatives (mostly Republicans) who voted against the Waxman-Markey energy tax bill of “treason — treason against the planet.” 

Never mind that an increasing body of evidence calls into question the science of global warming.  Conservatives sinned against what has become liberal orthodoxy, so they deserved the harshest response possible.

Krugman ought to recognize treasonous acts when he sees them.  After all, the actions of his employer, the Times, could have been defined as treasonous when in 2006 the newspaper revealed the details of a secret government program to monitor the financial transactions of suspected terrorists. 

Unreported in the New York Times (other than in a reader comment in a jokes section) was news of authentic treason in the United States.  A Maryland couple has been indicted for spying for the Cuban government.  Walter Kendall Myers, who worked for the State Department, and his wife were recently arrested after a three-year investigation. 

Their alleged 30 years of spying included delivering government secrets to Cuban agents by using shortwave radio, swapping carts with sensitive information at a grocery stores and at least one face-to-face encounter with El Comandante himself.

Prosecutors said the Myers talked to an undercover FBI agent about how they would like to sail “home” to Cuba one day.  If the Myers had managed to do so, they might have come across the steady stream of Cubans risking their lives in the perilous Mexican gulf waters to obtain a shot at freedom in America.  

Our president seems to share the Left’s ambivalence about the country whose people elected him to lead it.  In his tours of Europe and the Middle East, Obama has regularly apologized for America and all its sins, real and imagined, while seeing little to dislike about the rest of the world, especially those parts that breed homicide bombers. 

In Cairo, Obama saw fit to compare the situation of religious minorities in the Muslim world with that of Muslims in America.  But whereas Christians and Jews throughout the Islamic world are often executed or forced to convert, the only restriction Obama could find on American Muslims is that they are prohibited — as are all Americans — from donating to charities linked to terrorist organizations.

It is no wonder our president is of two minds about his country.  Obama has always surrounded himself with people who see the worst in America.  Bill Ayers participated in terrorist bombings of police departments, the U.S. capital and the Pentagon.  Obama mentor and pastor Jeremiah Wright routinely blamed the American government for conspiracies including the spread of AIDS and the 9-11 attacks.  These baseless rants usually included a chorus of “God d—, America!” 

Michelle Obama said her husband’s political success marked the first time she had ever been proud of her country.  But most Americans don’t love their country according to how they are doing personally.  They love it because of the democratic values it stands for and stands upon, and the opportunities it provides them.

Obama’s reactions to events in Iran and Honduras tell us something about what he thinks of those values.  During the beginning stages of the Iranian pro-democracy protests, Obama hesitated to “meddle” or criticize the Ahmadinejad regime. For days he desperately tried to “avoid alienating the ayatollah,” as the Washington Post commented.

Meanwhile in Honduras this week, Obama did not hesitate to act.  When former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya attempted to amend the nation’s constitution, without the permission of the Honduran Congress, to allow him to seek reelection after his term expires, the Honduran Supreme Court declared Zelaya’s action illegal.  Then, acting on the court’s orders, the Honduran military intervened, ousted the wanna-be dictator and gave him a one-way ticket out of the country, then immediately turned the country over to its  civilian leadership and the Honduran Congress swore in its speaker, Roberto Micheletti, as the new president.

If there ever was such a thing as a “legitimate coup,” this may have been it.  But President Barack Obama declared that the United States still considers Manuel Zelaya to be the president of Honduras and assailed the coup that forced him into exile as “not legal.”
Our president has thus far been unwilling to stand up for democratic values abroad.  But most Americans will celebrate those values this weekend nonetheless, and will honor the sacrifices made to sustain us, sacrifices that continue today.

In fact, across this country and around the world, our men and women in the U.S. military will stand a post in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea, Japan, Germany and elsewhere, defending the helpless and protecting our people, dedicated to the democratic principles that made this nation great.

America has been a shining city on a hill, and our founding documents, like the Declaration of Independence, have breathed life into the hearts of oppressed peoples around the world.  In celebrating the birth of this unique nation, it’s a good time to recite the words of freedom, found in our Declaration, which offer hope to all who hear them:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.