Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Don’t Just Count Her Blue; Count Her Ashamed to Be An American

Here is a silly little story from the AP. Berns Rothchild has designed a bracelet modeled on the popular Lance Armstrong bracelets. Only these are blue, and say "COUNT ME BLUE" on them. They are for those who voted against Bush. Fair enough. Her father has even launched a counter line of "COUNT ME RED" bracelets. What is disturbing, however, are her statements concerning why she developed them:

After spending 10 days in London with friends who were outspoken about their disdain for President Bush’s policies, Berns Rothchild came home wishing she had a way to show the world she didn’t vote for him. "I sort of felt ashamed, and didn’t really want to be associated with being an American," said Rothchild, who lives in New York City and voted for John Kerry.

Now, having sour grapes about elections is nothing new. I still recall the "Don’t blame me, I voted for Bush" bumper stickers that adorned cars following Clinton’s win. But Ms. Rothchild’s statement goes deeper. The whole "ashamed to be associated with America" thing seems to correlate much more with the left and losing. The mantra seems to be, either the left wins, or we’re moving to France; or we’re ashamed to be Americans, who are, by the way, not nearly as smart or sophisticated as we are, or as Europeans are. These are the same people who travel with Canadian flags on their luggage. Oh, but don’t question our patriotism. We love America. Massachusetts is just swell. Vermont is a fine place. And we might even admit to being Americans again, just as soon as a Democrat who reflects our disdain for the heartland is in the White House again.

Discussions - 31 Comments

An educational opportunity presents itself. If you are out walking with mini-humans and espy a blue-bangled bozo, you can cheerfully say, "Look yonder, kidlings, it is one of those 56 million stupid people I’ve told you about, so be kind, smile, and say hello." This will help raise a more civil generation, and may make the clueless loser feel better.

Mr. Alt,

I’m not really sure it’s just a Democrat . . . maybe anyone but President Bush? I’ve met people who would’ve voted for a ham sandwich before voting for Bush (as ridiculous as I think that is). Those people have a pretty messed up view of the Presidency, but does that mean that they aren’t patriotic? I’ll admit that there have been several times when I have been extremely embarrassed to be from America. While that’s not the same as being ashamed, I see no problem with her saying statements like the one you posted about. The unpatriotic ran away from the Bush problem to Canada. People like Ms. Rothchild are patriotic in the sense that they want change and they’re willing to do something to promote that sort of change. So, unpatriotic? I think not.

A PEOPLE To the WAIT Has a People that he lives to the wait of the
moment certain to see its Leader. It awakes anxiety, fear,
nervousness, love. The People waits and despairs with homesickness for
its Head. I am to the wait - the Paço Arquiana Bearded Quitéria says
and continues. - We live an infinite, perpetual wait, always present.
With the Commander the People of Paço de Arcos waits a new year and
who wait always reaches. It has parties, it has battles that they
change blogues, the efforts are immense, esperenças they are absurd,
they live its lives and later they adormecem to retemperarem the
forces. The enemies shoot themselves of the windows, drown themselves
in tablets, but the majority slowly is devorada by the R.I.A.P.A..Têm
only one consolação: to be bent over before Great Guélas Commander!



Mr. Mingus:

Not to belabor the point, but there were plenty of voters who were very offended by Clinton’s policies, and the way that he behaved in the White House . Nonetheless, I don’t recall any of them using the sort of anti-American rhetoric that I’ve highlighted. Whether they are Democrats or others, this anyone-but-Bush crew has reacted differently.

I find it hard to see how it is that sitting around and kavetching is "working for change." No one is going to be convinced to change their political ideas because of an armband--this is just a way for grousers to recognize each other. Indeed, she has suggested nothing more in her idea than being able to recognize who shares her shame.

Finally, the only thing that you have highlighted as unpatriotic is the act of abandoning citizenship. Is nothing less than this ultimate act unpatriotic? This is an extroardinarily narrow view. I think that most people would view Americans who pretend not to be Americans, those who denounce not just American policy but America itself on foreign soil, and those who say that they don’t even like to be associated with America as having acted in unpatriotic ways.

I hate it when I hear people complaining not about the president, but rather about the country itself. It is one thing to disagree with a man’s policies (for that is understandable, even encouraged), but an entirely different thing to not even want to be associated with the United Stated of America. I was ashamed of Clinton during the Monica Lewinski affair, but I didn’t want to move away to Canada. I didn’t even think about not being called an American. In my mind to be a true American is the greatest compliment someone could possibly give me. If i were in a foreign country and someone scoffed at me and said, "Oh, an American..." I would reply with, "Thank you."

Mr. Mingus,
Thank you for being a voice of reason in this forum. Saying that one was embarassed to be associated with the United States does not make one unpatriotic. In these times of preemptive war, authorized torture, disdain for the scientific community, the laughable position that Global Warming may not be true and the policies in general of this administration, one can understand this girl’s frustration. At least she cares enough to actually follow the issues and politics at hand. I would say that makes her more patriotic than those who just don’t care. I guess painting people who express their opinions - maybe not choosing the correct words - as unpatriotic is the easy thing for some to do. She was expressing a feeling, not committing an act of treason.

A counter-slogan: Better red than brain-dead.

I’ll readily concede that this person’s blue bracelet project sounds silly and useless (what’s with the bracelet phenomenon all of a sudden??). But lots of folks, right and left, like to simply know that they aren’t alone in their thoughts and/or feelings, political or otherwise. Certainly, the American flag lapel pins were a corollary. No, they weren’t about kavetching or grousing, but did people wear them to change anyone else’s mind about anything? So what if people want to wear them? It’s a therapy, a gimmick, a way to make a buck maybe. Before the last election, I doubt that many people were swayed one way or the other by political yard signs that offered the provocative, persuasive arguments of "Bush" or "Kerry".

Mr. Alt, I think that your loathing of liberals/Democrats perhaps doesn’t allow for anything that they would or could do to be taken out of your crosshairs. If they engage in wearing pointless bracelets, they’re not "working for change," but then, if they WERE working for change, you’d despise them for the changes they were working to achieve (understandably so, as you disagree with their ideology). Maybe you should be rejoicing that after their electoral loss they’re wasting their time with blue bracelets that won’t have any significant impact?

Matt, I must disagree (hey Matt, you’re supposed to be the progressive liberal dissenter among NLT commenters, right? Don’t cave to these guys so quickly!!) when you said that those who have gone to Canada or elsewhere are unpatriotic. (Assuming that they haven’t opted to give up their citizenship - and simply MOVING from the US doesn’t automatically mean one has foregone their citizenship, BTW) People can still care about or love their country and still opt to leave it, for a wide variety of reasons - fear of political persecution among them, but certainly not the only reason. Consider just for a second the thousands of U.S. citizens who are from Arabic countries, or who are Muslim. At some point, they might understandably think that it would be smart to leave the US. Kudos to those who stay and oppose the wide array of awful policies coming from this administration. But keep in mind that there are currently discussion underway about PERMANENT detentions of "detainees" at Guantanamo - suspects who have not been given trials, and may never get them. The concept of "innocent until proven guilty" is, I’m afraid, being put into the "quaint & outmoded" file.

Imagine just for a moment if Kerry had won the election, and pow, suddenly started proposing radical, anti-capitalist, even blatantly socialist reforms and restructuring of government (hahaha), and maybe even mentioned the "war against terror" as a justification for almost everything he did. I can imagine right-wingers either talking about storming DC or getting out of Dodge.

John Schramm wrote that he’d be defiantly proud if a citizen of another country would scoff at him abroad. Presumably, this would be because he felt that this foreign person was jumping to faulty conclusions and drawing inaccurate generalizations and stereotypes about Americans. Thank goodness we Americans never do anything like THAT when we evaluate foreigners (like Muslims, the French, Mexicans, etc.)! Also, is being called "a true American" really "the greatest compliment someone could possibly give [you]"????? The greatest?? Better than someone saying "I bet Jesus was a lot like you."??

I am confused on what is and is not patriotic. I am also uncertain about the importance of patriotism in general.

For example I don’t necessarily think voting is a key element of patriotism. In my opinion doing something like coaching little league is more patriotic than voting, in that it is a more personal connection.

I think people put too much weight on voting when in the end it is really something that is outside their scope of control.

A person who works a job is involved in the community and doesn’t commit any crimes(apart perhaps from political ones) is a patriot. After all would America be better off with 100% political participation all else ceteris paribus or better off with close knit communities of honest hard working people with political involvement on a larger scale remaining at its current level?

Give me an america full of good people and I won’t care if 1% of the people vote. Voting is overated as far as patriotism goes, it is the little things we do every day that make a patriot. A patriot is someone who asks how can I improve myself first so as to improve my nation second. If everyone dealt with self-improvement first and worried about his neighbors actions second then america in general would be better off. It all starts in the little platoons. It can’t be patriotic to put so much emphasis on things outside of your control, especially when this leads to neglecting things within your control. Yet so many things which are considered patriotic concern investments of time in areas outside of the control of those who advocate them. People who waste time trying to influence others lamment that others who are not receptive to their influences are not patriotic, perhaps others simply have different priorities and in many cases it is hard, at least for me, to argue that they are less patriotic than the voting/political discourse crowd.

If patriotism is a love of america it must have some connections that are local and personal.

If you go to another country and state that you are ashamed of the United States, you are clearly being unpatriot by any traditional definition.

People who want to define patriotism in their own way are free to do so, but those of us who are familiar with the language will question their made-up definitions of the term "patriotic."

I graciously suggest to those who proclaim their shame for America while on foreign soil that they stay in that country, or find another country they aren’t ashamed to live in.

For God’s sake, use common sense, people.

If you leave the U.S. because you can’t stand the way things are going, yes, you’re unpatriotic. By definition, you’ve given up on your country.

I think it’s rather cheap to trot out the "common sense" line to dismiss those with whom you disagree. Describing patriots and patriotism leaves a lot open to discussion and debate, even if that starts with some dictionary definition of the terms. ANY country is much, much more than just its government presiding in the nation’s capital, but the government can certainly do much to affect the country (be it a Bush-led or a Clinton-led government). That said, it’s not at all contradictory for someone to love much/most/all things about their COUNTRY and its PEOPLE, but have serious problems and fears about their country’s GOVERNMENT which compel them to leave, hoping to return someday if possible.

For God’s sake, use common sense, people. If you leave the U.S. because you can’t stand the way things are going, yes, you’re unpatriotic. By definition, you’ve given up on your country.

All right, before I make a comment that’s likely to cheese off a lot of you, let me just say that I am in no way making a comparison between the current political climate and Nazi Germany. Such comparisons are, in my view, idiotic. HOWEVER, are we to claim that those who left Nazi Germany to avoid persecution were unpatriotic? Or what about those who fled Russia after the Bolshevik revolution? I happen to think that America is not a place so much as a set of values--and what these values precisely are is something that reasonable people can disagree on. If any of us senses that the government of the United States abandons those values, and there does not seem to be any realistic chance of changing that from within, I see no reason why one should be labeled unpatriotic for leaving.

And incidentally there is some precedent for this sentiment on the right. Remember the brouhaha that erupted during the 1990s when certain editors of First Things expressed their hostility to "the regime"? It seems to me to have been a quite similar situation.

Paul Billens said something interesting. "John Schramm wrote that he’d be defiantly proud if a citizen of another country would scoff at him abroad. Presumably, this would be because he felt that this foreign person was jumping to faulty conclusions and drawing inaccurate generalizations and stereotypes about Americans. Thank goodness we Americans never do anything like THAT when we evaluate foreigners (like Muslims, the French, Mexicans, etc.)! Also, is being called "a true American" really "the greatest compliment someone could possibly give [you]"????? The greatest?? Better than someone saying "I bet Jesus was a lot like you."?? "

This is interesting. I would not be proud of the foreigner scoffing at me. I would be proud if they called me an American, period. Not because "this foreign person was jumping to faulty conclusions and drawing inaccurate generalizations and stereotypes about Americans," but rather because they can easily distinguish me as an American. I am proud of American principles. I am honored to be called an American. I take it as a compliment to be recognized as someone who believes that all men should be treated as equals, that men should be free, and so on and etc. That they should recognize in me America’s virtues, and, the philosophies America excercises, and our principles, that is a great compliment.

Also, sir, you said, "The greatest?? Better than someone saying ’I bet Jesus was a lot like you.’?" Let’s think for a moment, shall we? You automatically jumped to the comclusion that I am a Christian who wants to be like Jesus. Have you ever met me? Not as far as I can tell. And yet you assume that I am a Christian? Perhaps you should take more care in what you say. You know what I mean, perhaps you should act more "politically correct," since Democrats seem to care a great deal about "not offending anyone." Now, the fact is, that I am, in truth, a believing Roman Catholic. However, the point remains that perhaps you should not jump to conclusions before you actually know the individual. What if I were a Moslem? Or a Jew? Or an atheist? I think you should take care in the future to not be so, let’s say, close-minded.

"I think it’s rather cheap to trot out the "common sense" line to dismiss those with whom you disagree." I see no reason not to, Thomas Paine did it in his pamphlet, "Common Sense." He was considered one of the greatest radicals of his day, and look what his discussions, and his pointing out of common sense, accomplished.

John Schramm - I didn’t jump to the conclusion that you were Christian, I merely took a guess that perhaps being compared with Jesus might be MORE of a compliment for you than being ID’d as a "true American." Plenty of non-Christians and non-believers (myself included) might consider it a compliment to be compared to Jesus (even if is a rather strange speculation). I could have just as easily used Abraham Lincoln or Mother Teresa, really. Had I wagered on your religious beliefs, yes, I probably would’ve guessed you were a Christian (as are a lot of Americans, including the vast majority of my own family), and it seems that I would have been right. But you never did answer my question about which would REALLY be "the greatest compliment" for you. As for jumping to conclusions, you wrote that I should "act more ’politically correct,’ since Democrats seem to care a great deal about ’not offending anyone.’" It doesn’t bother me much that you assumed I was a Democrat, but in fact I’m registered with the Green Party. Also, I think the phrase "politically correct" is almost meaningless anymore, as it’s employed by the right so habitually to discredit anything/anyone left of William F. Buckley, that I suspect I’d be accused of being "politically correct" if I checked my watch for the time. Thus, I don’t concern myself with it, one way or the other. As for "offending anyone," well, I try to be polite and civil, but I recognize that it’s well-nigh impossible to get through life without offending someone; I make reasonable efforts not to, but I don’t lose any sleep over that, either. I wasn’t trying to offend you, I was just verifying if you really thought that was indeed the "greatest compliment" imaginable.

Yes, Paine did call one of his works "Common Sense." However, I think it actually ENGAGED those with whom he had disagreements; it did not dismiss them.

Shame tends to derive from love rather than hate. Why should I be ashamed of that which I hate? It is only the things that I love that I wish to succeed. Failure in those things causes shame.

I love this country and feel the shame of a true patriot.

How can anyone defend this woman under the guise of calling her "patriotic." Say what you want about the merits of her position, but stop pretending that it is not unpatriotic to say you are "ashamed" and don’t "want to be associated with being an American." Whatever textbook definition anyone can find, that statement is pretty damn close to it.

On a somewhat similar note, I am sick and tired of hearing the left whine about being called "unpatriotic" by the rest of us. This complaining has been going on since the very beginning of the Iraq war, and with no exceptions, the only time I have ever heard the word "patriotic" used is when someone whines about allegedly having their patriotism called into question. Well, as for Ms. Rothchild, I think her statements are pretty clear. As for everyone else, quit your bellyaching. I have never heard this charge made from the right, but rather from leftists imagining some criticism that doesn’t exist. The White House certainly has not done this. In fact, Bush has gone out of his way to praise his political opponents, and constantly reminds us of his opposition’s right to free speech.

Stop whining about imagined criticisms that no one has levelled against you. If you feel so guilty about your positions that you need to rebut invented criticism, maybe you should rethink your views. The lady doth protest to much.

What I’m confused about is why someone who purports not to want to be associated with America or identified as an American would consider "unpatriotic" an insult.

In my mind, if Jesus were walking, breathing, and living today, he would have American principles at heart. Of course he would. Jesus wouldn’t say, "I don’t think these people should be given equal say in this matter, because they are different." Or, "Let’s discriminate against these people because, well, I can’t think of a legitimate argument, but let’s do it anyway." In my mind, the principles associated with America (e.x. Freedom, Justice, Liberty, etc.) are an epitimay of Jesus. So, with that in mind, if someone were to give me the compliment of being an American, then in effect they would be telling me I am similar to Jesus as well. They are extremely close in relation. Of course it would be an incredible compliment if someone were to compare me to Jesus, that goes without saying. Same for Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, etc. The point is, if they were to call me an American, they are in effect comparing me to all of these people. To be an American is not JUST to live in the United States of America. My thought is that Jesus was an "American." Not geographically, idealogically. My grandpa once said (although I, admittedly, never heard him say it) that he was born an American, but in the wrong place.

Is it unpatriotic to be ashamed of America and not want to be associated with it?


Do most liberals/leftists unfortunately share this tendency?

YES. Witness the "sorry" campaign, "moving out of the country" crap from the usual suspects. I’m still pissed that Alec Baldwin is still here, his bro who was on Homicide is a better actor.

A person can have lots of problems/issues/disagreements with Bush; current policy; etc. However the fact that Americans removed a brutal, bloodthirsty regime in Afghanistan and another in Iraq is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Getting rid of the Taliban and Saddam for whatever reason it was done is a good thing in and of itself.

You can argue that it was not worth it; or that other courses should have been taken, that is not unpatriotic. Dishonoring the action itself IS.

Most of this "shame" stems IMHO from an immature reaction to the loss by Kerry.

Well, Mr. Rockford, maybe we’re embarrassed because there are Americans who make ridiculous generalizations, judge other people based on political views, insult public figures because of their political views, and obviously won’t even listen to the possibility that maybe his (or her) political views might not be absolute right. Call me unpatriotic, but when people like that are in public positions in our government (be them Republican or Democrat), I think I have more than enough reason to be embarrassed. Luckily, these kinds of people are hard to come by, right? Sure. Argue that none of that will ever realistically end. But should it? Are you helping? *weeps*

As a Catholic feminist (this combo is possible, you know) I am really concerned about the assertion that J.C. would be an American if he could. Well, isn’t it good enough that he was a wonderful Jewish guy? I am not so sure if he would want to have the same passport as Lyndie England and Charles Graner, or if he’d approve of dropping 500 lb. bombs on the homes of Iraqi civilians (in order to "liberate" them, I presume). The fact is that all nations are equal and all nations have bad disgusting people as well as wonderful people.

This has been an amazing and spirited response to Alt’s posting. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything like here at No Left Turns before. At anyrate, John Moser laid out a challenge I’d like to respond to. He wondered,

"[A]re we to claim that those who left Nazi Germany to avoid persecution were unpatriotic? Or what about those who fled Russia after the Bolshevik revolution?"

The answer is clear enough, of course these folks were patriotic to the point that they certainly weren’t stupid enough to stay! To do so, and resist, meant certain imprisionment or even death. Thus the only question left on the "love it or leave it" business, is whether Bush America truly resembles anything even close to these examples. Well, Michael Moore certainly thinks so. And the price Moore pays for his open dissent in the face of the Gestapoesque Bush "regime" is a seat next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic Convention, a swelling bank account, and great acclaim of his fellow filmmakers.

Fame and fortune are the rewards for opposing Bush on such a grand scale as Michael Moore. Yet, do these rewards for dissent appear a bit ridiculous when compared to the suffering endured by one Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in Stain’s Gulags, or the ultimate price paid by Dietrich Bonhoeffer for oppisn Hitler? Come, let us reason together, pleads the psalmist! Let of not toss out all common sense, here.

In America, dissent is a thriving business, and one that can make you rich indeed. What a mockery to those who do pay heavily for such a thing in many parts of globe even as I write this.

John Schramm - Thanks for answering my question (sort of). So, being a true American is similar to being like Jesus. Of course, the problem then is how one defines being a "true American." Many people in the liberal-to-leftist area of the political spectrum ALSO care deeply about the "principles associated with America (e.x. [sic] Freedom, Justice, Liberty, etc.)" They are also aware that much of the rest of the world is increasingly NOT associating America (The USA) with those principles, and that it is perhaps dangerous to just assign this shift in the rest of the world’s assessment as irrational and groundless; additionally, they often agree with this opinion shift based on their own observations and experiences. As for your idea that Jesus "was an ’American," idealogically [sic] speaking, well the problem with this might be in Jesus’s enemy - the devil- as found in the details of how America, via the government, allegedly supports and manifests "Freedom, Justice, Liberty" and especially the "etc.," in its activities domestically and abroad. Conservative Christians frequently embrace the query "What would Jesus do?" as a moral guide. It’s a great question. So, my questions might be: Would Jesus participate in or approve of the killing of thousands of Iraqi civilians (from American bombs, bullets and missiles) in a war that claimed to be liberating them? Would Jesus want there to be even the slightest HINT that American-based corporations could be gaining any profit from the Iraqi oil industry after an American invasion and conquest of a nation that had not attacked the U.S.? Would Jesus participate in or approve of torture at American-run prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay? Would Jesus approve or participate in the (pre-emptive??) mass jailing of peaceful protesters at the Republican (or hey, even the Democratic) National Conventions? Would Jesus consider permanent imprisonment of "detainees" at Guantanamo Bay (and elsewhere) without these suspects being given a fair and impartial trial? Many reasonable people (plenty of them Christians) would say that Jesus wouldn’t play a part in any of those things. If "(t)o be an American is not JUST to live in the United States of America," then I think this only augments the argument that those political dissenters who have left the U.S. are not necessarily un-American or unpatriotic, although if those people believe that America has strayed far enough from the core principles you’ve listed, then indeed they may not, understandably, care if they are considered un-American or unpatriotic.
Finally, considering your last name and your mention that your grandpa said that he "was born an American, but in the wrong place," I’ve a strong hunch that Peter Schramm of NLT is your father (I’ve read his anecdote here on NLT that contained the same quote). Should we expect to see you as an Ashbrook fellow soon? ;)

Marc Lamb - Let me be clear that I don’t think that the U.S. resembles Stalinist USSR or Nazi Germany. There are clear and salient differences. Nonetheless, I think that the U.S. has moved in a dangerous direction. Simply because we have not reached either of those extremes (Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany) doesn’t mean that noble and righteous American principles might not have been dangerously compromised. Consider Germany in the early ’30s, perhaps - getting pretty bad, but no general state of alarm. Certainly, it is not an all-or-nothing, overnight sort of shift, in our case, either. Nor irreversible, hopefully. Anyway, has Michael Moore ever SERIOUSLY compared the U.S. under Bush to those regimes (quotes might be useful)? Perhaps in pointing out certain policies or actions of the U.S. he has overstated his case, I don’t know. I’ve read some things recently that the government is mulling PERMANENT imprisonment of "detainees" (as in, suspects) in jails located abroad, without trials. This is problematic - I hope I needn’t say why.

You also bring up the tired critique that some opponents of the Bush administration have made a handsome living from their critical viewpoints. I fail to see how this makes a "mockery" of historical dissenters who have been punished for their views. Also, I presume you are an admirer of (if not a cheerleader for) individual initiative, rugged individualism and market populism. If so, it’s time for a consistency check. These people have ideas and opinions and are expressing them via books, films, etc. The market (you like it, right?) has rewarded them for their efforts. They live in a hyper-capitalist society, and they are fully supporting themselves within it. Michael Moore has never come out against capitalism, that’s for sure (against what he sees as some of its excesses, certainly, but that’s the extent of it) They are not on WELFARE. Where’s the problem? At any rate, it’s a big country - there are 290 million Americans to sell things to. If I can sell a book to just 3% of them, I could still make a tidy sum. Ann Coulter cleans up by putting her tirades to print, and she’s on the winning team (conservative Repubs.)! Does her money-making compromise any validity that you may find in her viewpoints? One can do much less than Moore with his best-selling books and films and still do a "thriving business." But, apart from all that, is being wrongfully imprisoned, tortured or killed (like Bonhoeffer & Solzhenitsyn) the only way to be a legitimate dissenter? You imply that Moore has not paid an appropriate price for his dissent. Would you suddenly have respect for Moore’s opinions, books, films if he were shot by a U.S. soldier, under Bush’s orders, while giving a speech? Somehow, I doubt it. Following the logic of your critique of wealthy dissenters, the U.S. would have to become a full-bore butchering dictatorship before dissenters could even be embraced by those displeased with the leadership. Moore hasn’t only received acclaim from his fellow filmmakers; he just recently got a People’s Choice award. Further, I question the "grand scale" of Moore’s efforts. I think he has made ALL of his films for less than the cost of the upcoming inauguration which, by all accounts, will be definitively grand in scope and cost - and complete with a BIG display of military might (hmmm...what does THAT remind me of?).

I have two questions that I think are pertinent. Today’s news is full of stories of the preparations being made to allow Iraqi expatriates in the United States to participate in their country’s election.

1. Are these people bad--that is, unpatriotic--Iraqis for having left?

2. If yes, why are they being permitted to vote?

Mr. Moser:

Did you read Mr. Lamb’s post? Can’t we make distinctions between those who leave their country for fear for their lives, and those who abandon their country because their feelings are hurt? Did these Iraqis express their shame at being associated with Iraq, or did they express their fundamental and, I might add, reasonable difference with Saddam? That seems to be a key difference. The Left is not limiting its ire to Bush--they are ashamed to be Americans, and they are loudly proclaiming that disdain to anyone who will listen. Some lines are hard to draw--the line between Saddam’s dissidents and Alec Baldwin is not a tough one.

I think most of us here are addressing the issue of patriotism appropriately, but none with quite the same clarity as I think Dr. Moser has.

To leave for fear and to leave for shame both indicate that one sees a discrepancy between what is and what should be about one’s country. Is there really more use in deeming either reason "unpatriotic" other than finding fodder for political discussion? Are there real-life implications of "deciding" that your next-door neighbor is unpatriotic?

I don’t intend on beating this issue to death, but I do feel that "patriotic" and "unpatriotic" are more than mere labels for us to use on blogs.

Trust me, I know Berns Rothchild, and she is no patriot.

No, trust ME, I know Berns Rothchild, and she is MOST DEFINITELY a patriot of the highest caliber.

In a few words: When there’s a skunk in the house it’s OK to leave until after the skunk departs.
It’s not a condemnation of the house, but of the the skunk.

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