Friday, November 12, 2004

We're Patriotic, Too, Aren't We?

I had this, accompanied by a photo of a marine with a cigaret dangling from his lips, sent to me in an email:

No matter how obnoxious of a conservative-bashing liberal crusader Dan Rather is much of the time, when he returns to his patriotic Texas roots, he does so powerfully -- as he did Wednesday night in concluding the CBS Evening News with an emotional tribute to U.S. Marines. With a photo on screen of a grizzled Marine in Fallujah, at the end of the November 10 newscast, Rather asked: "Now, if I may, with your indulgence, this is personal."

Up on screen, CBS displayed a picture, by Los Angeles Times photographer Luis Sinco, of a Marine in Fallujah with dirt of his face, blood on his nose and a cigarette hanging from his mouth.

As the photo enlarged and CBS zoomed in, Rather asserted: "The picture, did you see it? The best war photograph of recent years is in many newspapers today, front page in some. Taken by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times, it is this close-up of a U.S.
Marine on the front lines of Fallujah. He is tired, dirty and bloodied, dragging on that cigarette, eyes narrowed and alert, not with the thousand-yard stare of a dazed infantryman so familiar to all who have seen combat firsthand up close. No, this is a warrior with his eyes on the far horizon, scanning for danger. See it, study it, absorb it, think about it. Then take a deep breath of pride. And if your eyes don't dampen, you're a better man or woman than I. Where such men come from and what will happen to our
country when they cease to come, we can wonder with worry. But for now, we have them, and they are there in that brown hell known as Iraq. Whatever you may think of the war, they went for the right reason [Rather back on screen in place of the picture]: They loved their country. May these men and women of honor, valor, integrity and loyalty know that they, their deeds and their sacrifices are not forgotten. That can be validated by every schoolchild in America being shown the picture and having it explained to them,
lest they, and we, forget. For the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather reporting. Good night."

What is it about conservatives that they seem to regard patriotism as a uniquely conservative value or emotion? How is it that they can be so closed-minded that they can't conceive that somebody who disagrees with them on political issues can still love his or her country? And why do we let them get away with this? I have a number of liberal friends who don't fly the flag on national holidays not because they don't love their country but because they believe that by doing so they will send the wrong message, that they are conservative. Knock it off, folks!!! It's our country too, our flag too. Proudly proclaim your love for them and upset the expectations of those who think displaying your love for your country is a uniquely conservative practice. After 9/11 a lot of liberals put flag decals on our cars, as conservatives did. Because George Bush has distorted the importance of 9/11 for political means and wrapped himself in the flag doesn't allow him to claim it exclusively. It's ours. Let's take it back.
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