Our convenient patriotism
I was watching football tonight and was a little surprised that the game was starting a couple of minutes late and I realized of course, they are at commercial while they do the national anthem in the stadium. For some reason tonight this made me think of the football games right after 9/11 and how for the weeks after that horrible day all of the networks showed the playing of the national anthem. We do the same on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Our patriotism seems to be convenient to whenever it will best play on television or for the right audience.
During election campaigns patriotism, or at least the appearance of patriotism, is at an all-time high. Remember all of the flack Obama took for not having an American Flag pin on his lapel, or putting his hand over his heart during the national anthem? Right now the Republican presidential wannabees are all trying to one up each other on how patriotic they are. If you listen to one amnesty is the patriotic thing to do for illegal immigrants, if you listen to another you hate America if you give illegal immigrants amnesty. Because the American public responds to the flag waving, hand over the heart type of patriotism TV networks and politicians use it when it is convenient.
However bring up the ideals of free speech, the loss of liberty from the PATRIOT Act, or the right to protest overnight in a park and you’re nothing but an unpatriotic, radical hippie trying to take down the government and not adhering to the words, thoughts and deeds of the holiest of holy, the most patriotic of them all, the Founding Fathers! You know the ones whose words should guide us in everything we do like the shiny beacons of patriotism that they were. You know the slave-owning, every WHITE MAN is a full man, blacks, not so much, women don’t have the right to vote bastions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Well, assuming you are a fully entitled, property-owning white man.
We interpret history the way we want and we use patriotism when it’s convenient, but if you’re an asshole like me that questions these things you can’t possibly be a patriot, or can you?