Monday, April 21, 2008

The Profundity of Patriotism: Joan Vennochi's article "Obama's Patriotism" in Sunday's Globe was exactly correct. I have been saying the same thing about the American left in general for a long time. As a former sympathizer with the New Left of the late sixties, I was captivated by its hope for change and ultimately for the better, more just and more humane world it promised. For the first time then, too, because of the Left's fervent criticism of the Vietnam War, I absorbed the critical thinking about this country's foreign entanglements and, domestically, its racist past. It was a rude awakening then not to think of my country as historically exceptional.

As I aged though, I began to see the world in more grayish tones. It was clear to me that the vitriol spewed against this country did exactly the opposite of what I thought we on the left wanted. The burning of draft cards, the throwing away of war medals, the burning of the American flag did not usher in a more egalitarian society. To the contrary, it spawned Nixon, the Moral Majority, the so called Reagan revolution, extreme religious fanaticism and, worst of all, to me, a George W. Bush. All of those years the left verbally assaulted this country, the Republicans became dedicated to equating patriotism with Republican politics. In the end the majority of Americans, especially post 9/11, love their flag and flag pins and hate the desecrations of them.

A party and a candidate in this country that eschews those things, in my opinion, cannot get elected. Damning America or an association with that comment simply will not get what we on the left want. Unfortunately, it achieves quite the opposite.