Commentary: Lepal Pin patriots

In dissent, politics on October 9, 2007 by Editor Z

Since September 11, many news anchors and politicians have sported the Lapel pin which they wear above there hearts. But Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama, last Wednesday revealed that he doesn’t wear a lapel pin. He explained why in an interview with local television network KCRG TV while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination in Iowa. Her is what he said:

“The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin,” Obama said. “Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we are talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.

I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest,” he said in an interview. “Instead I am going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”

The next Day the Obama campaign issued a statement saying while they do cherish the American flag just as the overwhelming majority of the American public does, they believe that ultimately discussing the issues and what lays ahead, as well as how we can solve the problems of America is also important.

However many in the conservative community, blasted Obama for his statement, including the conservative blog Little Green Footballs:

” His excuse is straight out of NutRoots 101 ‘Dissent is patriotic. Not that old flag thing.”

Obama made that statement a day before addressing issues before an Iowa crowd dealing with issues such as veterans benefits and increasing funding for mental health treatment for those in need after returning to American shores after being in Iraq. He also addressed the issue of over extended tours of the National Guard in Iraq.

In making his case Obama pointed to an Iowa unit in which members learned from family and friends back home that their deployment had been overextended . That unit the first Battalion or the 33rd Infantry – recently returned after a 22-month deployment in Iraq.

“When we’ve got services members, who have to find that their tour has been extended in a phone call home, we’re not keeping that trust and we’re not keeping this country safe,” said Obama.

My Take: He’s right! I know many will say in feigned awe “How could he?” And I also agree with those who believe that sporting the flag and honoring it is a gesture of patriotism. However as Obama was suggesting, many of those who so openly brandish the pin have used it as a way to galvanize their base and justify all that they do, while impugning the patriotism of others as disingenuous. Six years ago on that fatal and horrific day we were all united, Sown together by the bitter yet common threads of fear, grief, dread, and the hunger to relieve our fellow citizens of agony as they lay beneath the smoldering mounds of debris where the two towers of the world trade center in New York that almost seemed to pierce the heavens. As the rest of us were fixated on the horror and history unfolding on our land and on our televisions.

That was a horrific day that will forever be seared into the hearts of every American alive at that time and their is absolutely no dispute regarding that. I . Also I respect people who wear the lapel pins.

However we must look beyond September 11. We need to move ahead as a country and emerge from nearly six years of being frozen by trepidation and the constant evoking of that date and event by our county’s leaders (earlier this week former mayor and Republican Presidential hopeful Rudolph Gullini’s, whose campaign was even set to hold a campaign fundraising dinner for $9.11 a plate). They constantly say about anything and everything including the concept of liberty, the amassing of broad powers in the executive branch, nearly unprecedented secrecy, and a litany of blunders in matters both regarding security and national policy. If simply brandishing the flag, going shopping, and smiling like a passive unquestioning observer was what our founding fathers desired, it is highly doubtful they would have had the Bill of Rights, especially that part about freedoms of the speech and press. After all as much as I am for it, this country was not built principally on our right to bear arms.

If our history, founders, heritage, and obligation as citizens was merely to cling to tradition and a small collection of elite figures to wield power: the pilgrims never would have sailed over on the mayflower, after all they came here to worship and question freely. We never would have fought and achieved our independence from the British, the American Revolution was the definition of questioning authority.

And those who have pushed for change in society and have loved their country, understanding the role of the citizen in our democracy have always encountered resistance from the battalions of the old guard grounded in the cement of tradition. and promise for their posterity when suspicion of those immigrants was the prevailing who sport the flag and speak the rhetoric of patriotism, but practice blind obedience the very thing that has brought about the demise and malaise of entire countries and people. These patriots Those who question authority included the abolitionist who rose and branded slavery immoral and cruel when the prevailing wisdom was that it was the will of providence (and I don’t mean Rhode Island). It includes those who helped the despaired and confused immigrant who just arrived on American shores come out from the dark corners of the city ghettos and better themselves and with themselves built wealth for themselves, their families, and their posterity which bear their name. Those patriots who raised questions stated that women should be counted as citizens and not as accessories, by being granted the right to cast a ballot, when tradition and the majority believed that was unseemly. Those who spoke out against injustice and for true justice for things such as civil rights for all, civil rights for African Americans, full protected voting rights for all Americans, desegregation, against the savage lynching so prevalent across America between the 1860s and the 1960s, those who said women should be treated like people and have the same opportunities as men, those who said we shouldn’t vandalize the earth on which we live, those who sought to better conditions for the worker and middle class, those who walked the picket lines of righteousness even when they were called communists for merely stating they wanted a few cents more an hour for their toiling, and yes even out against unjust wars in lands such as Iraq and Vietnam.

As D.R Martin Luther King once said: ” There can be no disappointment where there is no great love.”

That is true love of country. It is not that those who question authority and challenge the status quot don’t love their country and hate the flag, but they are disheartened about where there country is going and see patriotism as righting wrongs to improve one’s country and not just simply wearing a lapel pin. After all some of those who wear the lapel pin and have wrapped themselves in the banner of our land, have done the most damage to it.

Where’s his lapel pin? He doesn’t have one on? Sean Hannity, he must only pretend to be a conservative or an American. he’s really a liberal, or a terrorist? Or a communist? Or Gay? Or a flag burner? He must be. Why else wouldn’t he wear a lapel and do exactly what George W. Bush says. Thats it he is a liberal terrorist communist who is gay and burns the American flag! He must do that in his back yard when everyone is asleep. He probably practices witch craft too. Why do you hate America Sean? Why can’t you wear a lapel pin?


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