Jonathan Capehart, a Washington Post columnist and MSNBC host, is arguing that Democrats need to retake the high ground on patriotism. It really bugs him that people associate patriotism with Republicans, while it is the Democrats who are the real patriots.
Yeah right. I have no idea why anybody would think that Democrat leaders and commentators aren’t patriotic. Maybe because of statements like this:
Capehart’s argument is not uncommon, of course. Democrats have been frustrated by the fact that Republicans have been more successful with patriotic messaging than they since at least the 60’s. Kennedy clearly was very patriotic with his messaging, but ever since Democrats have been associated with criticizing America, not embracing it. Clinton did pretty well connecting with average Americans and seems to like us, but Democrats in general seem to prefer global elites and global values to American ones.
The Democrat elite, at least, cannot be considered all that patriotic. Disdaining American history, American values, and the American people is totally on brand for them. Democrats kneel, they apologize, they insist that America is systemically racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialist, filled with deplorables, and just generally inferior to just about everyone else.
That’s why it’s important to take a knee when the national anthem is played. It is a way to show love and respect for America, or something.
The Left hates America, and spends a lot of time explaining to us precisely why this is so. Even a mainstream Democrat like Andrew Cuomo–who was everybody’s hero until #metoo caught up with him, insisted that America was never that great.
This is the guy who inspired “Cuomosexualism.”
There was a time when Democrats and liberals were patriotic–and there are still millions of Democrats who are patriotic and love our country and what it stands for. I would never assume that any particular Democrat was not a patriot, but I feel very confident that almost any Democrat who starts railing against American history, the American Founding, and average Americans is not in love with our country. Because they are not in love with our country.
As an ideological movement the Democrats and the Left are gaslighting when they try to reclaim patriotism for themselves. You can’t think that the underlying ideals of America are evil and simultaneously claim to be patriotic.
Part of the genius of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” pitch was drawing the Left’s hatred out into the open. What used to be done on the sly–criticisms of the country based upon real or imagined flaws–became full-throated attacks on the very idea that America is redeemable.
By putting love of America front and center, Trump lured the Left into revealing their utter contempt for American values and Americans. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion curricula exploded into the classrooms, the New York Times went all in on the 1619 Project, which argued that the real American founding was in 1619, not 1776, because that is when the first African slaves were imported to America. They got a Pulitzer for this widely discredited dreck.
The Left’s critique went from “we can do better” to the more explicit: America sucks and always has. And anybody who took issue with that view was labeled a racist–or worse, a domestic terrorist. The National School Boards Association called on the Biden Administration to investigate parents as terrorists and even suggested calling out the National Guard.
The backlash was intense, and rightly so. But it also revealed something fundamental about the way the Leftist establishment views its role in society: to be the revolutionary vanguard against the normies among us who are so very very deplorable.
So yes, I think that the Left has no right to claim patriotism, because the Left doesn’t like America. And by that I don’t mean that they think America needs reform–any rational person could name a thousand things we could do better. We can debate policies all day long and all agree at the end of the day that America is both great and that it could be even greater. That is what living in a republic is all about.
If you believe that America is fundamentally corrupt, I can respect that. If you believe that a bunch of other countries are better, fine. If you believe that the country is systemically racist, make the case.
I will fight for your right to say it, and mean it. Freedom of speech is a fundamental American value. I wish the Left weren’t viciously attacking it and the rest of the Bill of Rights every day!
But don’t ask me to simultaneously think of you as an American patriot. Because you are not.