Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Real patriiotism

With a hat tip to Glenn Greenwald, I'd like to reference an issue raised by Joe Klein over at Time.

Klein says "This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right," and laments that it's self-defeating behavior.

There are two problems with this idea. First, who loves you more? Someone who can see your flaws, and hopes you can work past them (and who will help you work past them if you ask them to), and loves you anyway, or someone who insists that you don't have any flaws?

The latter might talk a better show, and might make you feel better about yourself in the short term. But flattering, sycophantic people aren't people who love you... they're people who want something from you.

So that's one problem with this; while talking about patriotism, Klein forgets that true love includes the ability to love something, flaws and all.

The other problem is one that the Republicans have been using in a very cunning way. Complain about an action by the US government, and they'll insist you're attacking America. (Dare we point out the hypocrisy inherent in this, where the Republicans scorn every product of the government when it's to their advantage, and fanatically defend it when that's to their advantage instead?)

The Bush administration has started a ruinous war; they've cheered (and lended a regulatory hand when they could) as big corporations worked to put our economy in the toilet in the name of short term profits; they've ignored the Constitution, with a special contempt for the Bill of Rights (except the Second Amendment, of course).

But challenge the results of their actions, and you're not being patriotic. Perhaps it's because you stopped wearing an American flag lapel pin, because too many scoundrels use it as a substitute for real patriotism, for really caring about the future of this country, and her people.

(BTW: the number of national figures who've criticized this decision by Barack Obama, in interviews in which they, themselves, were not wearing a lapel pin, is up to at least two, including everyone's favorite hypocritical two-face, Karl Rove.)

(No offense, Karl... I know you don't limit yourself to *two*.)

Anyway... back to the article I reference. I have to admit, Klein has some decent stuff in his article. I just wish he'd pushed harder to point out that the real "patriotism problem" is that a certain jingoistic patriotism is what's been considered real. What's worse is, this "real" patriotism is a patriotic vanity, all puffed up and painted real pretty, but meaningless, at best. Heck, it is, to swipe an idea from a pretty decent fellow, like a whitewashed tomb, bright and pretty on the outside, and filled with corruption inside.

That's the kind of thing folks need to hear from our national media... a reminder of some simple truths that they themselves have helped to obscure.

Great post and I like your other entires as well. Real patriots can work together to get this country back on track.


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