Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Flag

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.


Gringo said...

Post Liberals have knowledge of how libs/leftists act, because we were there.

From my college days as a one-time SDS hanger-on, I recall an SDS person saying that LENIN should be extensively studied in colleges and universities. She did not mean this in the sense of “know your enemy,” but in the sense of studying the great minds, such as Plato, Einstein, or Dante. Even though I was of the left, such a statement and the worshipful tone in which she said "Lenin" shocked me, which is why I remember it decades later.

As far as I can tell, she never went off the deep end to Weatherperson territory, but worked in her profession. She spent some time as an elected official, where she appeared to be of the tax-and-spend, another-program-would-be-a-great-thing, the-government-is-your-friend type of liberal.

I have thought of asking her if she still believes that Lenin should be the object of venerated study. Were I to ask such I question, I would most likely be called a Red-baiter. But she did say what she said.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, and if she no longer subscribed to that sentiment, it would be nice to press the issue and have her distance herself from it in clear language. As they generally ask conservatives to distance themselves from various ideologies and movements.

Texan99 said...

Even though I began turning from liberal to conservative around 1994, I never gave much thought to patriotism until 9/11. I was barely aware of the military except as a memory of the days of earliest youth, anxiety about the draft, and a deep conviction that the Viet Nam war was a scam, just like Nixon. I literally never gave any consideration to the idea that servicemen were dying for my country. I can't explain it, but it's clear I wasn't alone.

You're exactly right about the sense that many liberals aren't among their own people when they see flags flying -- just as the spectacle of people praying mostly conjures up the Inquisition for them. Or, in the more modern form, the Church Lady. I have friends who explain in the most casual way that a mutual friend is having to leave her husband, because he's a "conservative Christian," which apparently means that he's a perverted hypocrite who wants to strangle his wife's individuality and sexuality while home-schooling his kids in the woods and beating them if they learn about evolution.

Dubbahdee said...

"All is mockery."

Great phrase. Many young people today seem to be unable to locate any sense of sincerity in anyone else. Irony is the common filter.

I suppose, if nothing is sacred, all indeed is worthy of mockery. Seems to me like a very hard place to live.

Gringo said...

AVI: my guess is she would deny ever having said or thought such a thing, let alone disavow it. It is painful to have to admit to yourself that you once came close to going off the deep end. [And at least she did have the good judgment to NOT go off the deep end.Give her that credit.]

Most of those who were far lefties back in the day who are still on the left have difficulty in acknowledging mistakes.

She might also look on it as an attempt to derail her re-election campaign.

Smear, smear, you know the drill.

Perhaps when she is retired from elective office she might be willing to give an honest answer.