“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Mr. Giuliani said at the event. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.” (Quotation from the N.Y.Times)
Of course Hizzoner was right in one aspect. He is quoted as having said "I know this is a horrible thing to say". It is horrible.
Was it a racist statement (as many have claimed)? I simply do not know, for I do not know what is in the ex-Mayor's heart.
But what did he mean by "He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up"? I ask: "Is there a standard "all-American" way in which children are brought up? Or are there many ways in which children are brought up, and by which they become loyal, useful and caring citizens?
Does President Obama love America? I simply do not know, for I do not know what is in the President's heart.
But it is hard for me to understand how he would and could endure "The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune" ( Shakespeare) if he did not desire and work for the very best for all Americans.
That I believe he has done (even as I have disagreements with some of his policies).
For you see, "love" can be defined in all too many ways. It is a slippery word. It can, for instance, be used to get one's own selfish ways ( e.g., "I want to have sex with you because I love you", OR "I am only saying this because I loved you", etc. etc.)
Love is more than a catch phrase to end conversations "Love you!": it is more than running up the flag and saluting it (any knave can do that).
I believe that the truest love is that which wants the very best for others, and speaks and works to enable that to happen.
On that basis I believe that my President works tirelessly for the best for all of us, and speaks and works to make that happen. For that I honour him, even when I disagree with him.
Would that ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani could have a similar generosity of spirit.