Turning failure and wrongdoing into an official identity

With his remarkable resignation/coming out announcement, especially its most memorable line, “My truth is that I am a gay American,” Governor James McGreevey has inaugurated a new cultural dispensation in American life. From now on, whenever anyone is put on the spot for some failure or wrongdoing, he can follow McGreevey’s model and turn his inadequacy, objectionable conduct, or crime into the name of a new, and presumably victimized, and of course proud, minority group.

Let’s say a woman starts to get criticized by her family and friends because she weighs 300 pounds. Well, she can just tell them:

“My truth is that I am an obese American.”

If a kid is not doing his schoolwork and his parents are unhappy with him, he can inform them:

“My truth is that I am a lazy American.”

And if people can’t stand you, you can always hit them with:

“My truth is that I am an obnoxious American.”

The same can apply to more serious or even criminal offenses. Thus, if a person is found guilty of funneling money to domestic terrorists, he will go hastily before reporters and forthrightly declare:

“My truth is that I am a terrorist American.”

If he is caught hiring for a six-figure state job an unqualified non-citizen with whom he’s having a sexual relationship, he could proudly announce on television:

“My truth is that I am a corrupt American.”

If someone is caught sneaking over the Mexican border, he will stand up straight and tall and say:

“My truth is that I am an illegal alien American.”

And if someone habitually makes the most contemptuous statements about America, seeking to harm her even during war, he can clear himself of further unpleasant judgment by saying:

“My truth is that I am an anti-American American.”

The possibilities are endless. We should be grateful to Gov. McGreevey for showing us the way to a new and more expansive stage of relativism.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 17, 2004 07:13 PM | Send

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