I was in yet another online discussion where someone on the thread commented that conservatives had been the original source for the great division in our country, along about the time of Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan, who were so dismissive of people who disagreed with them, calling them unamerican and ungodly.
Such divisions can always be traced back earlier and earlier of course, and one can always stop tracing wherever one's own side is definitively ahead. But part of this is simply hogwash, and I simply set down for the record what I know.
I can't comment much about the "ungodly" part. That seems to be more gradual to my eyes, and I can't point to events to give evidence one way or the other. But I can nail down with a hundred examples how the young left in the late 60's deliberately and openly rejected American patriotism - not merely anger at America for being in a war they felt wrong, as in the flying-the-flag upside-down pictures, but contempt and mockery. I wasn't the worst of those, but I participated proudly. I recall that even older liberals were shocked and angry at such displays, and some Roosevelt Democrats or trade-union Democrats still fly the flag, bellow out the national anthem, or wear a pin even now.
But my deeply Democrat brother summed it up best, with an expression of disdain that anyone could even consider the opposite. "Democrats don't fly the flag. Not unless they're running for office."
But we basically pushed them out of the way over time, and boomer liberals are the rulers of the Democratic Party today, and still find patriotic display a signal that they are no longer in the presence of their own people.
We spelled it Amerika, or Amerikkka. We refused to pledge allegiance or even stand for the pledge. We never sang the national anthem, and certainly never put our hands over our hearts. We thought those of our generation who did so were brainwashed, unable to think for thmselves. The rudest of our entertainers masturbated with the flag, or sewed it on their butts. Demonstrators burned it and stomped on it. Nearly every Terrence McNally play from the era portrayed the most evil people as patriots. Captain America was rebranded as ironic, National Lampoon had multiple regular ongoing columns and features whose main focus was contempt for people who still believed in America; Doonesbury had BD. All was mockery.
There was a poster after the '72 election of Richard Nixon cutting one star out of the flag. Can anyone think of even the mildest criticism or reprisal from him about Massachusetts not voting for him? No, it was the Cool Kid Left, with Massachusetts as its proxy, declaring its secession and pretending that it was they who were victimised. Everyone knew what patriotism was - a love of country and the symbolic acts which declared it - and a minority of the country who later came to have great power now tries to redefine patriotism.