Monday, July 05, 2010

Her Own Style Of Patriotism

"People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and … for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” (Michelle Obama, 2/18/08)

"I loved my country, but I wanted to perfect it. I went into journalism in hopes of improving it. Mine was a somewhat querulous love. It certainly wasn't overt or emotional.... That all changed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." (Jill Lawrence, 7/4/10)

Michelle Obama, meet Jill Lawrence (or vice-versa), though presumably Politics Daily columnist Jill Lawrence, author of "Another Patriotic Holiday, Another Day of Liberal Flag-Avoidance Syndrome," doesn't approve of the wife of Barack Obama. Lawrence proudly asserts "On the Fourth of July, as usual, one flag was flown by a couple who had long government careers in defense and science. The other was at my house." She asks rhetorically "What is it about liberals that makes so many so disinclined to embrace patriotic symbols, to show the world that they care?"

Perhaps it is because they are symbols (John Prine is a little harsh, but the video below brings memories.) They are intended to show other people that you care and may- may- accompany true patriotism, but are not a substitute for it. (Lawrence is big on appearances, arguing "It would be a lot easier for Democrats, particularly presidential candidates, if liberals became unabashed flag-wavers.") Some of us don't require the country to be "hungry for a different kind of politics" or to be horrifically victimized to "feel a visceral love for its ideas and possibilities."

Lawrence writes, apparently having discovered a need to display her patriotism (only) after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, "My first flag was a 3x5 sticker that I put on the back window of my (at that time Japanese) car." The irony (an overused term on this site) and disconnect apparently haven't occurred to her, though at least she should be credited with honesty. Driving an automobile made in Japan (or any other country) is fine, and a sensible and logical decision for many individuals. And display of love of country is a time-honored American tradition. But together? It is analogous to columnist George Will's comment (here paraphrased) in 1984 as Walter Mondale reportedly was contemplating naming Gary Hart his running mate: "Sauerkraut is good and so is ice cream. But sauerkraut ice cream?" (A comparison Will apparently admires.)

Curious, too, that a writer extolling the virtue of national pride would make frequent references to "July 4" as the holiday. Has anyone asked Ms. Lawrence: Do you go to church on December 25? What are your family traditions for December 25? What was your favorite December 25 present? Have you gotten your December 25 shopping done yet?

Hardly. The questions, appropriately, are asked of Christmas- not "December 25." Yet Lawrence persists in calling Independence Day "July 4." Please call it "July 4" if you wish. But as you do, spare us the facile moralizing.

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