Bill Moyers on Patriotism

If I can name one journalist who comes closest to my ideal of the "heroic", it would have to be Bill Moyers.  He has been a steadfast soldier in pushing back against the MSM's war on progressive politics, and he has been active for generations.
I met him on an airplane flight to Omaha one summer, and he was casually traveling with a small band of grandchildren in tow.  The man is the real deal.

I am going to post a comment Bill made back in 2/03 about wearing a flag pin on his lapel.  I thought it apropos of a certain hot topic here at the MyDD.  It's short but sweet.  Check it out:

"I put the flag in my lapel tonight. First time. Until now I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind, and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans. Sometimes I would offer a small prayer of gratitude that I had been born in a country whose institutions sustained me, whose armed forces protected me, and whose ideals inspired me; I offered my heart's affections in return. It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother's picture on my lapel to prove her son's love. Mother knew where I stood; so does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15.

   So what's this flag doing here? Well, I put it on to take it back. The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. And during the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's Little Red Book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.

   But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American. They are people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They're in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks even as they call for more spending on war.

   So I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don't have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing (after they first stash the cash). I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us. The flag belongs to the country, not to the government. And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war -- except in self-defense -- is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomatic skill. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country.

   What do you think?"

Tags: flag, flag pin, Moyers, patriotism (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Re: Bill Moyers on Patriotism
I love that man. Really.  I love his way of turning it around - that the flag as a symbol has been hijacked and he didn't wear one so as to not be like that. But then he turns it around and wears one to take it back. That sounds like something Obama could do some day and mention getting the idea from Moyers.


My favorite line:

When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's Little Red Book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.
by Becky G 2008-04-18 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Moyers on Patriotism

Bill Moyers is great.  Nice diary.

by fogiv 2008-04-18 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Moyers on Patriotism

Good to hear.

by spirowasright 2008-04-18 11:42AM | 0 recs
bill moyers for

POTUS!!!!!!!!!

by citizendave 2008-04-18 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: bill moyers for

He would be an asset to any administration, and he does have some experience under his belt in service to the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, so he shouldn't have too much of a learning curve there.  

Apparently he is on hiatus, writing a memoir about his years in the Johnson administration.  

by haystax calhoun 2008-04-18 11:58AM | 0 recs
Good read

recced.

by Student Guy 2008-04-18 03:11PM | 0 recs

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