Questioning Barack's Patriotism?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Apr 07, 2008 3:31 PM
I always enjoy reading the Blogometer, and think it's a fabulous resource for keeping up with lots of opinion around the blogosphere.

But it's worth taking a moment to try to set the record straight on this edition, which linked to my post from last week discussing Democrats and the language of patriotism -- characterizing it as one of three instances of "Conservative bloggers continu[ing] to question Obama's patriotism."

None of the three examples listed (mine, one from NRO's Jim Geraghty and one from Commentary's Jennifer Rubin) struck me as meriting such a description (read them and decide for yourself).

For my own part, I'm not questioning Barack's patriotism -- nothing he has said or done would suggest to me that he himself doesn't love his country (I freely admit that I'm not equipped to discern what he feels in his heart of hearts, and I'm glad to take his word for how he feels about America).  What I do question -- and not just about Barack, but about much of the left generally -- is the way they manifest their patriotism. 

Lefties, as I noted before, "see overt displays of love of country as unsophisticated and rube-like."  Among this more "sophisticated" set, dissent -- i.e. criticism of the nation, its past, its people and/or its policies -- is deemed to be the highest and best way one can display one's love of country. 

Certainly, everyone has a right to criticize and dissent . . . gotta love that First Amendment!  But I simply dispute the notion that, as a general matter, dissent is necessarily the highest expression of patriotism. 

The best analogy I can think of is a father who fits into the worst stereotype of a Little League dad.  No doubt he sincerely loves his son -- but if he spends the time yelling at him, criticizing his performance on the field, and almost never finds an opportunity to offer genuine enouragement and praise, I dislike and disagree with the ways he finds to demonstrate all the affection he might sincerely feel for his child.

Most of the time, such misunderstandings aren't worth the time they take to clarify.  But it would be a shame if any lack of clarity on anyone's part contributed to a mistaken meme that conservatives were "questioning Obama's patriotism."