The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, did Americans a favor last week. He provided that which is most indispensable to understanding anything: clarity.
"America ... was never that great," he announced.
In one sentence, the governor revealed the left's true view of America.
This is rare — because leftists are masters at hiding what they really believe.
For example, the left's low regard for nonwhites is well-hidden under a mountain of "anti-racist" rhetoric. But people who consistently advocate lowering standards for blacks obviously do not think highly of blacks, and people who believe in separate black dorms and separate black graduation ceremonies obviously believe in a pillar of racism: racial segregation.
Another generally denied — if not hidden — left-wing belief is contempt for America. On a daily basis, the left describes America as xenophobic, misogynistic, imperialist, greedy and homophobic. And that's on a slow day at The New York Times, MSNBC or your local university. Just last week, a New York Times column added "barbaric" to the left's view of America.
But for some reason, the average American does not see all this as proof of the left's contempt for America.
So, we have to rely on the occasional unguarded and unambiguous statement to know what the left really thinks.
Michelle Obama provided such a statement when, as her husband began racking up victories in early-voting states in the 2008 primary season, she proclaimed, "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country."
Hillary Clinton provided her example during the 2016 election when she described half of her fellow Americans as "deplorables."
Then-President Barack Obama provided his example in 2015 when he spoke about racism being "part of our DNA." Now, you might argue that he was merely stating a truth, not expressing contempt. But that argument fails for three reasons:
First, America has developed into the least-racist multiracial, multi-ethnic country in history. Those who deny this have contempt for truth as well as for America. So much for DNA.
Second, can Barack Obama or anyone else on the left name a country or group in history that interacted with other races and was free of racism? Of course not. So, singling out America as having racist DNA is an expression of contempt for America specifically.
Third, how would Barack Obama or anyone else on the left react to someone saying, "Islamic civilization has racism in its DNA"? They would not only emphatically deny it; they would charge whoever said it with being Islamophobic. In other words, if one tells the truth about centuries of horrific treatment of blacks under Islamic rule, one is bigoted against Islam. But if one says America has racism in its very essence, racism that is still being passed unconsciously from one generation to the next, one is not an Ameriphobe?
And now, Cuomo tells an audience that "America ... was never that great."
Cuomo said publicly what virtually every leftist believes. No one — left, right or center — thinks the comment was idiosyncratic. If Cuomo had said, "America was never a sports-loving nation," everyone would have assumed this was just an odd comment representing no one but him. The reason this comment hit such a powerful chord in American life is that just about everyone suspects he was saying what all his fellow leftists believe.
After all, we all know what young people are taught from elementary school through graduate school by their left-wing teachers: America is a racist country founded by racists; Americans committed genocide against the American Indians; whites have unique privileges because of America's "systemic" racism; in the words of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, "the hard truth about our criminal justice system: It's racist ... front to back"; police are racist — both white and black cops shoot blacks because of racism; and "American civilization" and "Western civilization" are no more than euphemisms for white supremacy.
Now, why would anyone think the left has contempt for America?
Contempt for America is so central to leftism that there would be no leftism without it. Yet there remains an even more important question: Why? Why does the left — not liberals, who traditionally revered America — have such disdain for America? I will address this question in a future installment of this series explaining the left. America and the West cannot be saved unless those who cherish them understand what motivates those who wish to see them end.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in April 2018, is "The Rational Bible," a commentary on the book of Exodus. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.