November 18, 2010

Patriotism and loyalty. And then there is Dick Cheney and Karl Rove

Had a weird conversation with a conservative friend the other day. He is a former Marine and posted one of those Facebook pass-ons:
I am an UN-APOLOGETIC AMERICAN!! I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of AMERICA, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation under GOD, indivisible, with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for all!! I grew up reciting this every morning in school. We no longer do that for ...fear of OFFENDING SOMEONE!! Let's many AMERICANS will re-post this & not care about offending someone!
I questioned him on the side. I didn't want to get into it with his people. Again. I got into trouble the last time when I questioned why their local school district had been teaching a bible study during school hours.

He is a good guy and his ministry spends a lot of time working with people in Mexico. But there is this kneejerk patriotism that just seems everywhere on the right. During our exchange, he noted that he had served and yet there were people everywhere who apologized for America and even wanted to desecrate the flag.

I was thinking about this, perhaps, because I just completed a lecture on the Red Scare (second one). I was reminded that our anti-communism led us to add "under God" in 1954, and that the Pledge was then, and now, considered a loyalty oath by the far right. Any who questioned it must be communist or anti-American. And I was reminded how fucking easy it has been for conservatives to question the loyalties of liberals.

Then I read David Corn's summary of the Plame debacle and was reminded how conservatives are quite willing to cheer disloyalty and even activities that undermine our national security--when it suits them. I don't think any of my far right conservative friends or relatives ever stood up and said that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove were unAmerican. Even after we knew that they exposed the identity of a covert agent for a political vendetta. We don't even know the extent of the damage. But as Plame herself noted, after that, surely our enemies were going through their address books and seeing who they knew who might have had contact with her. How many of those "assets" ended up in torture chambers or dead? It isn't a reach to think some.

All because Dick Cheney wanted a political critic silenced. All because he didn't like a vocal critic of their war policy. Yet the far right still sees Dick Cheney as a patriot and a loyal American. But someone who burns a flag or doesn't repeat the Pledge?

You tell me who has caused more damage to our national security.

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