Wrapped in Stripes

30Jun08

This thing of Barack’s – this technique of wrapping himself in the flag of thoughtfulness – it’s starting to get tedious. Even liberals will, I think, start to see it for what it is – contrived thoughtfulness – a style that was at first appealing, but which now reads as formulaic. Thus was the case again today as he gave a speech on patriotism – just the latest of many deep topics on which Barack is, for some reason, an expert in his own mind.

Finally, it is worth considering the meaning of patriotism because the question of who is – or is not – a patriot all too often poisons our political debates, in ways that divide us rather than bringing us together. I have come to know this from my own experience on the campaign trail.

Yup – we all remember, Barack, when you poisoned the debate by suggesting that those who wear flag pins are phony patriots. Guess who is now regularly wearing a flag pin.

So let me say at this at outset of my remarks. I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.

And we remember when you suggested that those who think they have a constitutional right to own guns were just bitter Americans.

Throughout my life, I have always taken my deep and abiding love for this country as a given. It was how I was raised; it is what propelled me into public service; it is why I am running for President. And yet, at certain times over the last sixteen months, I have found, for the first time, my patriotism challenged…

And why should anyone question the patriotism of a man who took the help of domestic terrorists to help get his career launched, then lied about the closeness of their association?

One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders and watching the astronauts come to shore in Hawaii. I remember the cheers and small flags that people waved, and my grandfather explaining how we Americans could do anything we set our minds to do. That’s my idea of America.

One of my earliest memories of Barack is hearing him defend his close friend, confidant and spiritual mentor for saying, “It’s not God Bless America, It’s God Damn America.”

I remember listening to my grandmother telling stories about her work on a bomber assembly-line during World War II. I remember my grandfather handing me his dog-tags from his time in Patton’s Army, and understanding that his defense of this country marked one of his greatest sources of pride. That’s my idea of America.

I remember him responding to accusations that there was something inappropriate about his close alliance with a race baiter and divider with a suggestion that Reverend Wright was no worse than his own grandmother.

Beyond a loyalty to America’s ideals, beyond a willingness to dissent on behalf of those ideals, I also believe that patriotism must, if it is to mean anything, involve the willingness to sacrifice – to give up something we value on behalf of a larger cause.

Barack has made that sacrifice – having given up his personal integrity in his pursuit of the presidency. Why, I remember him sending Wes Clark out onto the Sunday talking head shows to attack the sacrifice that John McCain made for this country. When was that – I think it was – oh yeah, yesterday!

“I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said, referring to the incident that led to McCain’s being taken prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Enough, please, Barack, with the hypocritical sermons! Enough of the posturing. They may be less nasty then the ones given by your friends Pfleger, Farrakhan and Wright, but they’re no less sanctimonious.

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