c/5J)(J3BrnBlame America Firstrnby Bill Kaufifmanrnii America First,” he said, whereupon the skies opened, therntliunder cracked, the rains came . . . who knew the empirernwas so sensitive?rnThe corporate-media response to Patrick J. Buclianan’s A Repuhlic,rnNot an Empire—and when is the last time a presidentialrncandidate wrote his own campaign book? —rivals the Two-rnMinute Hates directed at Goldstein in Orwell’s 1984. B)- utteringrnthe forbidden words “America First,” Buchanan unleashedrna flood of American images and associations —the Spirit of St.rnLouis, Grant Wood’s Iowa, Robert Frost, one-room schoolhousesrn—that have no place in the post-republic Nowheresville ofrnStrobe Talbott and Madeleine Albright.rnLsolationists —that is, those Americans who would reallyrnrather not bomb, kill, and maim foreigners who have threatenedrnno iolence to the continental United States—are in therndock, as thev have been in times of hot and cold war since 1917.rnWriting in 19?0, the Jefifersonian poet Edgar Lee Masters marveledrnthat during the Mexican War, “There was great oppositionrnto die war over the countrj’; but at that time an Americanrnwas permitted to speak out against a war if he chose to do so.”rnMasters had seen, if not completeh- believed, the furious repressionrnof antiwar dissent during World War I, when Sen.rnRobert La Follette was almost expelled from the Senate forrnmaking (George) Washingtonian utterances. Just as the cholericrnMasters was reviled for doubting the wisdom of the GivilrnWar some 65 years after “Our American Cousin” was so rudelyrninterrupted, Pat Buchanan has been arraigned for the haterncrime of suggesting that, 60 years ago, there were alternatives tornthe abattoir and its resultant empire.rnBetter lo be in the dock than down the menion hole. Forrnhalf a centur)’, the question asked across clotheslines and in dinersrnand before beers at the Elks Club —”Why are we overrnriiere?” —has gone unvoiced within the corridors of power asrnBill KdLiffman’s books include America First!: Its History,rnCulture, and Politics (Prometheus).rnwell as on the TV screen and in thernnewspapers. But the 1990’s may bernremembered as the decade whenrndissenters found their voice. Therngutsy foes of the Gulf War, the Somalia-rnHaiti-Bosnia intrusions, andrnthe War on Serbia spoke in increasingh’rnAmerican accents; by decade’srnend, we were seeing the first haltingrnsteps toward a left-right coalitionrnagainst the globalists and centralistsrn—a coalition reminiscent of thernbrave band tiiat gathered under the America First banner: MainrnStreet Republicans, patrician liberals, farmers, homegrown socialists,rnEast Coast libertarians, radical La Follettes and reactionaryrnTafts. If Hamilton Fish and Norman Thomas couldrnstand together, wh)’ not Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader? RonrnPaul and Jerry Brown? Bob Smith and Russell Feingold?rnThe reflowering (the courtiers to power call it a recrudescence)rnof isolationism as an American dream and a ruling-classrnnightmare is due in significant part to Chronicles. AmericarnFirst—a patriotic isolatioirism that springs from love of country,rnand in particular that little corner of the country that a man callsrnhome—was thought to be dead and buried. But it lives. Thusrnthe homicides have unsheathed their daggers again. AmericarnFirst must die. I do not mean this metaphorically: The clear intentrnof the hysterical smears of Pat Buchanan is to inspire somernhingeless itinerant to do the empire’s dirty work. (He will be arnlone nut, of course, who is thoughtful enough to keep a diaryrnwith all the right words misspelled.)rnSomething is happening in American politics. It may be arnlast gasp, or a forlorn hope. Or perhaps the dead really can rise.rnMaybe a nev’ party of tlie people is aborning. For who couldrnhave guessed that, as we enter the 21st centur’, all the king’srnwhores and all the king’s hihiien would be taking aim at rumbustiousrnpatriots whose banners read “America First”? crnCMsdbcKsrnThe Heartland Is Realrnby Clyde WilsonrnAmerica is an Idea and the First Lhiiversal Nation. So sa’rnthe bedizened oracles and prancing shamans of the AmericanrnEmpire—empire, for what is universal cannot be a nation.rnBut people don’t live on an idea. They live on land —lush orrnClyde Wihon believes with William Gilmore Simms and thernTwelve Agrarians that America is not an Idea but the life of itsrnregions.rndry, rocky or fertile, according to their fates. If they are lucky, itrnis land watered by the blood, sweat, and tears of forefathers andrnforemothers. Those other imperialists, the Romans, made arnsplendid empire, and lost it when too many of them forgot, orrnnever knew, the genius loci and the lares et penates.rnThe one Uni’ersal Idea is not liberty or equality or fi-aternity.rnThe one Universal Idea is Money. But no human being everrnlived by Money alone. Remember Scrooge? As m’ littlernJANUARY 2000/15rnrnrn