Monday, February 25, 2008

Lapel pin patriotism

I tend to agree with Lou Dobbs that we shouldn't scoff at those who choose to wear American flag lapel pins, but it's a bit much for Bill Kristol, in his most recent NYT op-ed, to essentially question Barack Obama's patriotism for not wearing one.

More importantly, though, Kristol seems to be suggesting that we should simply elect the most patriotic candidate, regardless of his or her positions:

"It’s fitting that the alternative to Obama will be John McCain. He makes no grand claim to fix our souls. He doesn’t think he’s the one everyone has been waiting for. He’s more proud of his country than of himself. And his patriotism has consisted of deeds more challenging than 'speaking out on issues.'"

That's a pretty ridiculous argument to make when you're talking about a presidential election. But, frankly, Bill Kristol has never been one of the most intelligent or insightful conservative thinkers out there . . .


MediaMaven said...

I don’t really see that as the issue here. I tend to agree with Obama, in that the flag was everywhere after Sept. 11, and it eventually morphed into a kind of red-state barometer of fashion. I, for one, have always been uncomfortable with throwing around the words “hero” and “patriot” to refer to politicians, since they seem like overblown adjectives that have little meaning. I never liked the implication that wearing a flag pin or related symbol marks a person as patriotic, because then it can just become another corrupted symbol, seen as mandatory in order to be perceived a certain way.

I can see where you think he’s endorsing McCain because he’s more patriotic in that sense, but I wouldn’t have noticed it if you hadn’t pointed it out.

Also, I feel this need to mention this:

“Barack Obama ... is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”

There are many people who WANT to be uninformed and uninvolved.

**I hope this makes some semblence of sense. I've had a long day, but composing this was the best part of it.

Emily said...

Unfortunately, these days there are many Republicans that believe that if you are not pro-war or pro-torture than you must not be patriotic. Patriotism seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Is it wearing a pin? Or waterboarding a potential terrorist? Or neither?

I really had to grit my teeth when I read Kristol's article. It had Fox-news-spin written all over it, and there are few things I hate more than that. I mean really, does he have nothing else on Obama that he has to pick on him for the lack of a lapel pin?

It seems so.