The tragedy of the left
by dbrown04, Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 07:35:05 AM EDT
Like Sen. Obama, I do not put my hand on my heart during the national anthem and I do not pledge allegiance to our flag. However, if a President Obama is really going to change Washington, he needs to be able to explain why.
Much has been made of the unfairness of the Nash-McCabe question last Tuesday as to whether Sen. Obama believes in the American flag. This question may have been loaded, but it was also a teaching moment. A moment in which Sen. Obama had a chance to prove whether or not he has the capacity to change our country's dialogue.
It's a moment in which we begin talking about our extraordinary accomplishments as a civilization. For, the contributions of the United States of America are unparalleled in human history. When I hear the "Star Spangled Banner" or see the stars and stripes, I feel a rush of emotion the intensity of which I find somewhat embarrassing. For me, ultimately, these emotions are driven in my pride in our national good works.
So what's wrong with requiring flag pins and hands on hearts? When we pledge allegiance to the flag rather than the values for which it stands, we can lose sight of the accomplishments that have made us great. When we pledge to the flag rather than the ideals for which it stands, our actions as a nation are not great. We delude ourselves about our motivations. We betray the very essence of our national being that has been the force of so much good in the world. We are no longer admired as the great and good people that we are.
Our true pledge of allegiance is to "liberty and justice for all"; the values and national character which have made us a great nation, not the material that waves in the wind. Just as God warned Moses of false idols, we must warn ourselves against false lapel pin tests.
How could Sen. Obama have failed to find a way to articulate these simple truths? Why is it so unreasonable or unfair to expect him to have thought this one out? How can a Pres. Obama expect to lead if he can't even help Americans appreciate our true strengths as a people? Even Sen. Obama's supporters should expect this most basic capacity.
Personally, I have found it increasingly difficult to follow and participate in the current primary process. As David Brooks says, we are all depressed.
I am profoundly discouraged by the bias in the press against Hillary Clinton. I find it simply stunning that we could have this daily dismissal of the legitimacy of the first viable female candidate for President. A woman who, debate in and debate out, demonstrates a command of the issues and a long history of advocacy of core progressive values.
However, it is the replaying of the "tragedy of the left" that is truly the most depressing. Last week's ex communication of Hillary Clinton from the Democratic Party by the high priest of the creative class is exhibit A. Yet again, the logical contortions of the left have led to an utterly absurd conclusion.
The immolation of Daily Kos is reminiscent for me of the left's truly discouraging capacity for self-destruction exhibited over the past several decades. It is hard not to think back to the 1970s and the defense of mind and life destroying illegal drugs. Even worse was the truly incomprehensible defense of the murderous acts of Stalin in the 1950s. While not in the class of these two moral catastrophes for the left, our current internecine conflict surely has the same roots: passion, a pursuit of purity, and ultimately a weakness for cognitive dissonance.
In the current context, the tragedy of the left has taken on a new face. The sense of moral righteousness has become a sense of moral superiority, a moral arrogance, a moral dominance. A moral world in which the apostles are men and the women are whores.