The Left’s Patriotism Deficit

Over at the Washington Post, Left-winger Matt Miller is bemoaning the high opinion of America that so many conservatives seem to have:

Oooh, you’re so strong, baby, so handsome. You’re the greatest.

I’m talking about you, America. You’re . . . why, you’re exceptional!

Does anyone else think there’s something a little insecure about a country that requires its politicians to constantly declare how exceptional it is? A populace in need of this much reassurance may be the surest sign of looming national decline.

American exceptionalism is now the central theme of Sarah Palin’s speeches. The supposedly insufficient Democratic commitment to this idea will be a core Republican complaint in 2012. Conservatives assail Barack Obama for his alleged indifference to it. It’s part of their broader indictment of Obama’s fishy cosmopolitanism, his overseas “apology tours,” his didn’t-wear-the-flag-lapel-pin-until-he-had-to peevishness. Not to mention the whole anti-colonial Kenyan resentment thing the president’s got going.

Real men – real Americans – know America is the greatest country ever invented. And they shout it from the rooftops. Don’t they?

Let me be clear, because I know the mail’s coming. I love my country, and cherish that America was founded on the ideals of liberty, equality and self-government. We’re imperfect – who isn’t? – but always in the process of evolving toward that “more perfect union.” So I write this as a patriot.

Because, speaking as a patriot, I worry we’re looking a little too needy these days.

You can tell a lot about a country by what it requires its politicians to do to win. In Switzerland, do candidates have to proclaim that “Switzerland is the greatest nation ever created in human history”? In Brazil, do ambitious pols insist that “Brazil is the most special country ever to grace the world”?

Ever notice that genuine displays of patriotism make liberals extremely uncomfortable and yet, they get all huffy if you question their patriotism? It’s bizarre. It’s like listening to someone tell you that he became a lifeguard because he hates to swim or he moved to Florida because he loves cold weather.

Just look at this column: After Miller starts off by mocking people who actually think America is exceptional, he goes on to note that he’s a “patriot.” Gee, what was that line from “A Princess Bride?”

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The word Matt Miller should be using to describe himself and his fellow liberals who constantly run America down and don’t think this is an exceptional country is “unpatriotic.”

Liberals hate being called “unpatriotic,” not because it’s inaccurate, but because it’s politically unpopular and worse yet, it makes them feel bad. That’s why liberals are forever trying to redefine patriotism into something other than loving your country.

Sorry, fellas, it’s not working. If you want credit for being a patriot, you’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way: By loving your country and actually giving it the credit it deserves.

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