Saturday, September 09, 2006

Patriotic Liberals

NO it's not an oxymoron, nor should it be, as Geoffrey Nunberg points out in his LA Times op-ed:

POLITICAL ATTACKS that sounded sinister in the McCarthy years now sound merely outlandish, as conservatives try to explain liberals' lack of patriotism as just another one of those blue-state lifestyle traits, like an aversion to Lynyrd Skynyrd or macaroni and cheese. Writing shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the National Review's John O'Sullivan explained that liberals' anti-Americanism was the reaction of snobs who believed that "the patriotism of ordinary people is something simplistic, vulgar and shameful," which is why liberals are more comfortable taking the side of "medieval Islamists" than of "a hard-hat construction worker or a suburban golfer in plaid pants."

You can't trivialize love of country more than that. If liberals are capable of bailing out on patriotism simply because it's tacky, how strong a hold could it have on any of us?

But then patriotism has never been so low-maintenance as now. Time was when "supporting the troops" obliged you to buy war bonds or go out on scrap drives. Now you merely have to slap a bumper sticker on the back of your Hummer. And even for the able-bodied, it's enough to support the troops from afar — you don't see conservative young women out in the streets handing out white feathers as emblems of cowardice to men who aren't in uniform.

The less it costs to proclaim yourself a patriot, the less someone else has to do to be accused of being unpatriotic — it's enough that he questions the wisdom of a policy or leaves his lapel pin on his other suit. That isn't how it was going to be.

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