So-called comedian Bill Maher is the poster boy for the brutish. He reminds me of a series of classmates during my school years. They were trash-talking bullies, encouraged by peers who would laugh, but always with unease.

Maher, born in New York to a Jewish mother and Irish-American father, apparently loves to bash America, where he has grown rich, while using his priceless freedom of speech. It might be said, it’s allowed him to become a member of the wealthy, one-percenters, so despised by the “occupiers.”

His recent crack that America is a “stupid country” and should “get over” the idea of being “exceptional,” tells us the blood and lives sacrificed, so he can thrive, are inconsequential. But, still, he is revered by some and honored in his industry. What that says about his adoring fans is the disturbing rub.

Should we worry about such talk? Not if it comes from a few, but for decades now, the trend is growing; more generations are adopting media language and attitudes found in universities and coffee houses located on our East and West shores. America bashing has become the politically correct thing to do. Interesting, Maher once hosted a show titled, “Politically Incorrect.”

We need only look at our own lives to know what happens when gifts go unrecognized; when negative overrides positive. Natural law takes over.

Those who understand the law of the power of language, focus on positive to create more of the same. They focus on solutions. Those who understand that perception is reality, that what we think, we become, that “as a man thinketh,” so is he, are those who reject destructive negatives. The wise understand there’s a difference between trash-attacks and healthy critiques lending to beneficial disagreements.

People who use negatives as currency, intentionally destructive, are to be avoided, not applauded. Should the applause grow, it won’t take many more years before America’s light and hope succumb.

Unrecognized are the extraordinary gifts America shares with this planet, by anyone’s measure. Considering our current day politics, I will only mention our immigration policy. At least a million immigrants are legally granted citizenship annually in the most generous policy in the world. But, it’s never enough.

Perhaps the most tiresome attack on the USA has been over slavery, never mind that slavery of every sort was the world culture at the time and to this day, still exists worldwide, including Africa. Never mind about a country which aggressively addresses civil rights. Garbage talkers keep attacking, keep complaining. We can only assume they wish for the downfall of America.

But, hope rests with the fact that Americans have the guts for smart, constructive dialogue. And, if the Maher types don’t propagate, our country will continue solving its problems.

This is why: At least 73 percent of Americans (of both parties) view this grand nation “exceptional,” (, Dec. 22, 2010). But, the respondents also agreed we are at “risk of losing our unique character.” This will surprise Maher fans: At least 66 percent of Americans believe we “should lead in world affairs.”

Take advantage of July 4th. Inject positive into the system. It’s a great time to teach children why we reverence this nation. Hillsdale College is encouraging families to read the Constitution on that day. Teach your children why it’s great, why we are exceptional, why our mistakes are opportunities to make corrections.

As for Maher, he’s exercising his rights, in an “exceptional nation,” while his fans cheer his destructive negativism. Thus we see that junk-talk comes from small minds, while great leaders understand that words are creating our tomorrows.

East Valley resident Linda Turley-Hansen ( is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix veteran TV anchor.

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