. . .problem is the anchor of his snobbery difficulties, which have grown into a full-fledged crisis over the past week. The problem was never that he simply didn't wear one. The problem has always been his stated reason for not wearing one -- that they are mere trinkets signifying a false patriotism
“You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, 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; instead I’m gonna try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”
But, what does that reveal about the way he views people who do choose to wear these lapel pins? The answer was made plain in his speech to big-time donors in San Francisco. It's not too big a stretch to come to the conclusion that a man who sees a simple gesture like wearing a lapel pin to demonstrate one's pride and love for America as nothing more than pretense might also see the act of voting in defense of their belief in God, or their rights to protect themselves by owning firearms as the actions of a trapped animal lashing out at its rescuer -- the rescuer in this case being the Messiah of a New Kind of Politics.
However, now that Obama has been confronted with a situation wherein a flag pin takes on a meaning he hadn't considered prior to his arrogant dismissal of the sentiments of those who choose to wear them, he seems to have found the Lord
. Should he be ridiculed for this minor about-face? I don't think so. I think that anytime a person makes a decision to bring himself a little closer to those who have legitimate reasons to be critical of him, he should be commended for doing so.
But, Obama shouldn't be allowed to evade answering questions about his previous stance. He ought to be asked just why it is that it took a disabled veteran offering an object he once derided as mere window dressing to bring him around to the idea that there are real, honest-to-God sentiments behind the act of displaying a flag pin on one's lapel. Why was he originally so quick to see it as somehow beneath him to do what so many Americans do every day in order to remind themselves just how much we have been given by our forefathers? Did it not occur to him that, in placing that small pin on themselves every day, many people use it as a moment of reflection to fully grasp the greatness of America and its people, and of the men and women serving our interests abroad at such great sacrifice?
The truth of the matter is that ever since 9/11, the American left has portrayed overt displays of patriotism -- particularly among its own tribe -- as capitulation to the right. Displaying the flag, whether outside one's home or on one's person, is an act of either jingoism, in the case of conservatives, or outright cravenness, in the case of liberals. It is as though liberals view any act that could possibly be construed as having been inspired by conservative leanings in any way is tantamount to a "sell-out".
There's a streak of childishness among the cultural left that equates embracing America in a time when she is being led by conservatives with ideological treason. It's not enough to simply criticize the leaders with whom you have a beef. You must decry the people who put them there. After all, in the liberal mind, there is absolutely no possible way that George W. Bush could have been elected to office unless a dangerously large portion of our population were afflicted with either extreme stupidity, or supreme gullibility.
So, it should come as no surprise when Barack Obama, in speaking to the most left-leaning elements of his constituency, speaks to them in the terms that make them feel vindicated in their disdain for the people who thrust two terms of a Bush presidency on them. He simply speaks to people in the language they understand. His problem is that his most ardent supporters speak a language that is entirely alien to the people he needs most. Those ardent supporters look down their noses with a certain condescending tolerance of the barbarian hordes, never fully comprehending what they're all about, and cling to the idea that Barack Obama is the man who can save them from their own barbarity.
In effect, what Obama said in San Francisco that evening was, "Look, I'm going to have to go through some rather unseemly and distasteful motions if I'm to have a hope in hell of bringing your ideas to fruition, and it's going to require a lot of patience from you good folks. But, don't worry. While it may seem that I've wandered off the reservation from time to time in my attempt to ingratiate myself to these folks who are, by nature, resistant to my gestures, keep in mind that I'm doing it with our shared vision in mind. I'm sorry it has to be this way, but that's politics. If I could win this election on the strength of you folks alone, you know where I'd be spending my days."
Many Democrats will have no problem with that. They harbor similar sentiments, no matter where they live or how much they make. As far as they're concerned, the only reason they weren't able to come up with the thousand bucks it took to get into that fundraiser is that George W. Bush has been their president for almost eight years. They're more than happy to endure their present circumstances until November, if only Obama can sooth the savage beasts in whose midst they find themselves.
But, the unaffiliated voters, and the Democrats who don't feel any particular ideological allegiance to a party that views them as people with nowhere else to go are going to find someplace else to go. And John McCain is the perfect excuse for them to go there.