Flag Wearing To The Point of Fanaticism

Eugene Volokh has an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal which compares wearing a flag pin to telling one’s wife that he loves her:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he doesn’t tell his wife he loves her any more, because “I love you” has become a substitute for “true love.” The Illinois senator said he hopes to show his love by explaining his ideas about their relationship to her. Guess what the wife would think about that…

But the essence is similar: Wearing a flag pin is not supposed to be an explanation or an argument, just as “I love you” is not supposed to be an explanation or an argument. It’s supposed to be a traditional statement of affection, powerful because it’s cliché.

Once again seeing someone argue why Obama should wear a flag pin reminds me of the AIDS Ribbon episode of Seinfeld. Beyond this, there is something rather creepy about the manner in which the authoritarian right believes people must outwardly express love for their country in the same manner as a husband would naturally express love for his wife. The closer analogy I see to this perversion of the meaning of patriotism is not love for one’s wife but the personality cults and demands for signs of loyalty typically seen in Communist and other dictatorial societies. This is hardly the type of society which the founding fathers had in mind.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Larry Dean says:

    Ron Chusid’s comments that the ‘authoritarian right’ believes people must outwardly express their love for their country’ and compares that to ‘demands for signs of loyality
    typically seen in Communist and other dictatorial societies’. Firstly, the ‘right’…believes people SHOULD express their lvoe for their country…not MUST as Mr. Chusid states. Secondly, it is not DEMANDED that an individual show signs of loyality in the U.S., as Mr. Chusid states it is in Communist and dictatorial countries.

    Is Obama a patriot? I am sure he believes he is. However, I found his statement that ‘instead (of wearing a flag pin), I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great’……OK…stop right there, Barack…myself and all true patriots I know, believe this country is great right NOW…with some problems, of course, but great as it is…with freedoms, liberty, opportunity far and away more than any country in the world. Obama’s statement infers it is NOT a great country now, but he knows how to make it great. With all of this country’s problems (of which there are many), a very true testament of whether this country is great is the continuing millions of people from ALL countries who are wanting to come to this country. Barack, you may be a true patriot. However, I believe more people would believe that to be true by SAYING it. A flag is one small way of doing so. As far as telling me what would make this country great, Barack, you need not do so. It is a great country NOW. I have my own ideas as to what would make it GREATER, and I will gladly share them with people, but in the meantime, I will keep saying in many ways..like displaying a flag. If some folks cannot see this difference, then, maybe you should tell your wife you love her more often.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    For the benefit of readers who don’t want to wade through the total inanity of the above comment, here’s a summary of Obama’s thought crimes beyond failing to wear the flag pin:

    OK…stop right there, Barack…myself and all true patriots I know, believe this country is great right NOW…with some problems, of course, but great as it is…with freedoms, liberty, opportunity far and away more than any country in the world. Obama’s statement infers it is NOT a great country now, but he knows how to make it great.

    Yes, to the right wing everything is perfect and to suggest that we can make things better without using their approved wording is as unpatriotic as failing to wear a flag pin.

    These people are truly scary, and in supporting a view of this nation so different from the views upon which this nation was founded are certainly not the “true patriots” they claim to be.

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