Mary Katharine Ham

It’s a canard of the hard anti-war Left that they all, without exception, hate the war, but support the troops. Loathe the president but love the country. In fact, it’s a talking point that hating the war and loathing the president are very special, smarter ways of loving one’s country than all that Neanderthal flag-draping and militaristic ”Don’t-Tread-On-Me” rhetoric on the right.

You know, because, why send a soldier a box of Slim Jims when you can jimmy the lock at the local fascist war-machine recruiting office and put it out of commission, right? Dissent is patriotic, especially when it involves pointless perpetrations of vandalism.

Well, that’s the logic on display on the anti-war Left these days. Saturday, I went to a Code Pink and Iraq Veterans Against the War karaoke night to check it out first hand. They always say they truly love the country. Surely, after a couple beers, they’d be raising one for Old Glory and singing God Bless America.

Wrong. The first break in the singing, which consisted of lilting old protest songs and wilted old hippies from another war, came a few minutes after I walked in. An emcee from one of the sponsoring groups took the stage to announce the purpose of the night.

Emcee: We’re here tonight to recognize that the government is moving us in the wrong direction. And it’s not just now. It’s a whole series of what we call wrong direction.

Audience Member: 200 years!

Emcee: How many years?

Audience: 200!

Emcee: 200 years of so much hypocrisy, so much not understanding what we’re doing, not only to ourselves, but to the rest of the world.

Get it? Since the Founding, we’ve been going the wrong direction. A beautiful start to a night of loving the country and the troops, first and foremost.

Up next was a spoken-word artist wearing jangly anklets, gesticulating and shaking so that her anklets rang out with the misery of the thousands of victims of the Bush administration. And, of course, all the victims of the United States of America over the years. A few choice moments from the poem she performed, which started promisingly:

A moment of silence before I start this poem

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join meIn a moment of silenceIn honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon September 11th.

Well, that’s nice, I thought. So straightforward and unequivocal in its honoring of American victims. How refreshing. Not so fast:

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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