To the modern Democratic National Committee, the mainstream media and other “progressive” outfits such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the words “patriot” and “patriotism” have become synonymous with “right-wing extremism.”
It’s little wonder why. Context is everything. When your point of view originates from so far out in the leftosphere that it takes the Hubble Space Telescope to spot the center of our political universe, Mom, God and apple pie tend to look like fiery comets hurling toward your bugged-out, bohemian planetoid.
Exhibit A? Liberals’ mouth-frothing hatred of the Tea Party and the constitutionalist principles for which it stands. Mark Potok, Huffington Post columnist and spokesweasel for the hard-left SPLC, sneeringly refers to the Tea Party as the “Patriot movement” and mendaciously warns that its supporters are “shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism.” Harrumph!
Divisive rhetoric is nothing new. John Edwards hit a recurring theme during his 2004 presidential bid: “There are two Americas,” he would say, one for the “haves” and one for the “have-nots.” This, of course, was a simple sound-bite play of the left’s favorite trump card: class warfare.
Still, Mr. Edwards had it partly right. There are two Americas, but more than along economic lines, these two Americas are divided by competing and polarized worldviews.
Interestingly, the America within which one lives might best be reflected by the parade one chooses to attend.
A recent Harvard University study found that those who attend Fourth of July parades, for instance, are more likely to be, or to become, “right-wingers.”
“[T]here is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party,” wrote researchers in a paper headlined “Shaping the Nation: Estimating the Impact of Fourth of July Using a Natural Experiment.”
“Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” they warned.
Additionally, the researchers were “surprised” to find that “important childhood events can have a permanent impact on political beliefs and behavior” and that such patriotic events “socialize children into Republicans.”
This, of course, begs the question: If Fourth of July parades churn out little GOPers and embody the values of conservatism, what style of parade might spawn the young Democrat? What event best represents liberalism?
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).