Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Time Marshes On

In yet another sign of the political End Times, right up there with Hugh Hewitt having to patiently explain to Republicans why they ought to vote for Republican candidates, Liberal firebrand Taylor Marsh writes a rousing patriotic hymn to America.

I like a good patriotic speech as well as anyone, and I like this one. Even if it expends most of its effort listing the reasons that do not make her love America and gives none of the ones that do. From the left, you take what you can get.

Marsh, let it be said, is not an intellectual snob liberal, she's the old-fashioned kind and I believe her patriotism is genuine. After 9/11, some people were more horrified by the bloom of American patriotic feelings than they were by the murder of 3,000 fellow citizens. She was not among them. As she explained in a note to her recent post, after it got a lot of attention:

I've lived in New York City and Los Angeles, traveled the country too (and beyond), but I'm from Harry Truman's Missouri. From where I come from, words like Mrs. Obama's are not only objectionable, but unacceptable. I'm also someone who would know that these words would offend people without having someone to explain it to me and clarify my comment afterwards. Where I come from people don't talk like this about your country. I'm not saying that America is perfect. But I'm proud of what we've done in the world for people everywhere, amidst our mistakes. You have to be terribly out of touch not to get it, or so hopelessly elitist is doesn't register.

Amen! Still, what's curious is that this pure patriotic wellspring never gushed forth from her since the post-9/11 spirit faded. If you read through her back catalogue, she talks a lot about American values, but only as things that have been destroyed by Bush's criminal fascist gang, or alternately, things that were destroyed by Reagan and his gang on the long road to fascism. Or sometimes Nixon. Or McCarthy. Or Ann Coulter.

Which means that for most of T.M.'s adult life, there's been something seriously wrong with the America she lives in, in her eyes. That is not an unpatriotic thing to think. Criticizing your homeland is a right, in a free country. At times, it rises to the level of a duty. But it is not the only right, and it is not the highest duty.

You love your homeland the way you love family: with quiet affection and admiration punctuated by shouting matches and slammed doors. You know their faults intimately. You piss and moan about them all day for a week, but when trouble comes calling, you know where you stand, without thinking about it. And you remember, often, to tell them you do love them. and why. And without needing a reason. That, and maybe a little more, is the difference most days between "parenting" and "abuse." Rabindranath Tagore put the thought succinctly: "He alone may chastise who loves."

America is our child. Ours to nourish, our responsibility when it breaks something. Ours to believe in, because if you raise a child and you believe in him, he might yet go bad, but if you don't believe in him, he almost certainly will. "Our country right or wrong" never bothered me. I guess because I know it's an immigrant's sentiment, and because I know the next line is, "When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right."

It's a common complaint I have with people on the left. Nobody wants you to take a loyalty oath or anything, but your chastisements of the country will be better received if you show a little genuine love every once in a while, too. If you've got it.

So it does seem a little jarring when T.M. bursts out in "It's a Grand Old Flag" in February 2008. There's a reason, of course. She's reacting to Michelle Obama's lamentable phrase:

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

And, lo and behold. T.M. is a staunch Hillary supporter. And has taken considerable shit for it from the radical left of the Democratic Party. Which also may add to her pleasure in unleashing the kind of patriotic rhetoric that will make them hurt like the Wicked Witch on a waterslide.

Michelle Obama does not speak for me.

Proud to be an American, after forty plus years, because of some "change" that's promised, but not described?

I've been proud to be an American my whole life. It doesn't depend on some personal attachment to someone I'm trying to elevate to leader, through some word that he has not yet defined.

Still, though I gladly affirm and applaud T.M.'s patriotism, I wonder if her scorn for Michelle Obama isn't more about the politics than the patria. M.O.'s issue here is race. T.M.'s, traditionally, is feminism:

What I'm already looking forward to is the State of the Union speech by Bush where the camera closes in on a picture never before seen in American history. A woman Speaker sitting behind the president keeping watch for the rest of us. A woman is third in line to the presidency. It's a moment I've been waiting for all my life. It has the potential of changing America for good.

She and Michelle Obama don't sound so far apart after all. Same thoughts, different proper nouns.

Here's a couple more:

Walk in my underpaid shoes and those of every other woman who is earning less than her male counterparts, or getting less air time to talk about issues that matter to us all. Look at "Meet the Press" and count the women, as I've done over the years. Count the women talking about foreign policy and national security on the cable shows. Count the liberal women who represent freedom of choice, no matte [sic] what it is, on cable and radio. Now count the majority of all political sides, which is women. Having the first viable female candidate, which doesn't mean anyone should vote for her unless she earns it, is the very definition of change in America. Anyone saying it isn't equal to other change represented, whether it's Edwards's policies, or Barack Obama's presence as well as Bill Richardson, is ignoring the obvious.


The Reagan years were the period when America went ‘Back to The Future’ in pursuit of that mythical period of greatness and nostalgia that Kevin Phillips wrote about in his Post Conservative America. It was a time where a nation wounded by the twin betrayals of Vietnam and Watergate failed the test and rather than gathering together to shape a future that would prevent the amoral interest of a greedy ruling class and their corrupt system from ever again resulting in such disaster we as a nation looked into the mirror and were horrified at the monster glimpsing back, we were in denial and in desperate need of a return to better days.