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The Politics of Patriotism

The Politics of Patriotism

Or: When political dissent isn’t.

I read with great interest the following story on NBC with dismay. It had been linked as a headline on the Drudge Report, (yes, Liberals read Matt Drudge), and I was saddened yet again by the terrific state to which the American political discourse has sunken.

There were signs comparing President Barack Obama to a Nazi and showing him with an Adolf Hitler-style mustache, but federal officials believe another sign referencing the president and his family went too far.

A man who was holding a sign reading “Death to Obama” Wednesday outside a town hall meeting on health care reform in Hagerstown, Md., has been turned over to the Secret Service.

Washington County Sheriff’s Capt. Peter Lazich said the sign also read, “Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids.”

Lazich said U.S. Secret Service agents took the unidentified 51-year-old man into custody Wednesday afternoon after deputies detained him.

(Read the story here.)

I do not condone, nor do I agree with anyone, who calls for the death of the President of the United States — no matter who holds that office. Also, I live in a world where the Founders fought a war over a 5-percent excise tax on tea and can certainly understand how people might arrive at that much anger. I also don’t much expect this man intended to kill President Obama. Of course, I could be wrong. It’s happened before. But there is something morbidly disturbing and supremely distressing in the story.

Washington County Sheriff’s Capt. Peter Lazich said the sign also read, “Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids.”

::Blink:: Excuse me? This is the level of hatred and vitriol now endemic in the American psyche? We wish death on two innocent children simply because their father President of the United States?

It’s yet another step in a disturbing trend sweeping through these united states, one where substantive discussion is replaced by hollow insults, speaking truth to power is usurped by yelling half-truths into a microphone, and political protest is drowned in a sea of misinformation.

I’m not in favor of the President’s healthcare proposals any more than I am in favor of maintaining the status quo. But even if the darkest allegations in this plan are true — that Sarah Palin’s ‘death panels’ were to exist to slaughter the elderly by the droves — would that warrant calling for the death of two little girls?

Any regular readers of this blog will know how rarely I address political issues here, but I’m left wondering: is this what this nation has become?

Patriotism is loving your country, your countrymen and those who have sacrificed for it. The argument that one should not “apologize for your country” is not patriotism, it’s nationalism.

I’m tired of the Politics of Patriotism. If you think Obama loves his country more or less than Bush or Bush loves his country more or less than Obama, that’s the Politics of Patriotism. I don’t question the patriotism of either man.

I do seriously question the Pelosis and Palins of this great nation for calling those that would dare to dissent — those of any political stripe, creed, or party — un-american.

That’s a word that has no place in our collective vocabulary.