Saturday, October 13, 2007

Obama's "patriotism". The empty vessel sounds again

Excerpt from Jeff Jacoby

Wrapping up an interview on "kind of a lighter note," a KCRG-TV reporter observed that Obama wasn't wearing a flag pin and inquired: "Is this a fashion statement? Those have been on politicians since Sept. 12, 2001." Obama could have lightly waved off the query -- "Nope, no fashion statement; I'm just not a lapel-pin kind of guy" -- and nobody would have given the matter a second thought. Instead he went out of his way to politicize it. "The truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin," he said. But "that became a substitute for . . . true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security." And so, he declared, "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism."

Obama brought up the subject again a day later. "I probably haven't worn a flag pin in a very long time," he told a campaign crowd in Independence, Iowa. "My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who serve. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and ideals." As for Americans who do wear a flag pin, Obama was scornful: "I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic."

This, surely, is something new under the sun: a candidate for president disparaging the sincerity of voters who wear the American flag, and loftily insisting that he "won't wear that pin." Of course Obama is free to believe that "speaking out on issues" is the best way to show "true patriotism." But does he really imagine that the many Americans who do "wear that pin" do so as a *"substitute"* for true patriotism -- as a hypocritical affectation, in other words -- rather than as a *symbol* of it?

Perhaps Obama, reflecting the post-1960s culture in which he came of age, simply doesn't recognize the power and significance of such symbols in sustaining a nation's identity and values. Many contemporary Americans, raised on the dogma that what they feel in their hearts matters more than how they conduct themselves in public, have little appreciation for traditions, manners, and emblems that earlier generations were taught to honor. We live in an era, after all, when worshippers attend church in shorts and flip-flops; when the civic inspiration of Washington's Birthday has been replaced with the antiseptic nullity of Presidents Day; when smoking is taboo but foul language is ubiquitous; when countless couples disdain a marriage license as "just a piece of paper." So why should the American flag pin on someone's lapel be entitled to deference or respect? ....

Sure, there are some phonies in every crowd, but my guess is that most Americans who wear a flag pin are citizens who genuinely love their country. My guess is that most of them vote, too -- and probably not for the candidate who questions their patriotism.



Newt Gingrich has here a very interesting comparison of mediaeval Venice and the USA today.

Why conservative think tanks are needed: "My own think-tank slogan is: "No one knows when the Berlin Wall will come down." It is imperative to maintain intellectual sanctuaries in a world where Harvard University forbids the discussion of certain important issues and Columbia University welcomes the contributions of a master terrorist. Our sanctuaries have been instrumental to the expansion of human freedom in recent decades. We are laying the groundwork for further advances--as opportunities arise, as they surely will"

Muslim abuse of defamation laws failing: "Nothing gets a journalist's attention like a subpoena. While authoritarian regimes silence critics by murdering or jailing them, journalists (and other critics) in the United States face gentler, but still effective, intimidation: libel lawsuits. Over the last few years, Islamists have tried silencing reporters, scholars, and citizens by suing them for defamation, often successfully. But recent legal cases in California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota suggest that the tactic may finally be backfiring, at least in the United States, if not in Britain, where libel laws overwhelmingly favor plaintiffs. The American lawsuits' outcomes-poorly covered by the media-represent victories for the free expression and public participation that the First Amendment guarantees.

British libel laws becoming less oppressive too: "A journalist who suggested that a former police officer may be corrupt was cleared of libel in the Court of Appeal yesterday. In a victory that strengthens the media's right to report on matters that are in the public interest, the appeal judges said that Graeme McClagan had acted responsibly in his research for the book Bent Coppers. Michael Charman, who was a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police, claimed that it was libellous because it suggested that there were grounds for suspecting him of involvement in corruption. The judges ruled unanimously that Mr McLagan had taken steps to verify the story and that as a result of his honesty, his expertise, his careful research and evaluation of the material, his book was protected by a defence of "public interest". It is thought to be the first time that the defence has been argued successfully for a book".

Walter Williams on Rush Limbaugh: "Over the span of some 20 years, Rush has been attacked from just about every leftist corner, as would anyone who tirelessly espoused the founding principles of our nation -- private property, rule of law and limited government. What has made Rush so effective with this message has been his ability to put things, and ask questions, in a manner that the average citizen can understand and relate to, and do so with a bit of humor. Humor creates madness among leftists who want their interventionist agenda taken seriously."

Paging Mr. Orwell: New Taliban Constitution would ban "un-Islamic thought": "The Taliban has published a shadow Afghan constitution outlining an alternative hardline government to that of President Hamid Karzai. The 23-page document envisages a country where women would remain veiled and uneducated, "un-Islamic thought" would be banned and human rights would be ignored if "contrary with the teachings of Islam". The Constitution of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, comes days after the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, said that the Taliban will need to take a role in the peace process in Afghanistan."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


No comments: