Unpatriotic because of a pin? Please!

Adolph Hitler was a patriot.

Rather, he was considered a “patriot” by definition, which the dictionary defines as someone exuding “devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country.” Forget what the history books tell you about the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and the nine million-plus Jews that were massacred as part of Hitler’s psychotic soul-damning Final Solution.

Focus only on the word – patriot – and its scholarly definition.

By that definition, every behind-the-times bigot in the Westboro Baptist Church – the “God Hates Fags” cult of social lunatics, who praise 9/11 and the AIDS virus as the Almighty’s cure for homosexuality — is a perfect patriot. They believe in their blackened, hating, hearts that they are acting in the best interest of their country, devoted to and supporting it as they see fit.

So when I woke up this weekend and heard democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had been accused of being “unpatriotic,” I couldn’t help but laugh and spew hot coffee out of my nose.

Here’s the claim: his credibility as a “patriot” – one devoted to his country – has been called into question because he never seems to wear the standard – since 9/11 anyway — U.S. flag lapel pin on his suit. He was also, at one point, seen with his hands at his sides instead of over his heart during a rendition of the U.S. National Anthem.

Now this political season has been utter lunacy to say the least. Candidates have grilled each other on every conceivable angle they can fathom, including accusations of plagiarizing, religion, race baiting, infidelity, substance, the definition of “experience,” and the role of the political piggy-backer. And to make matters worse, Ralph Nader, the third party man ultimately responsible for putting Duh Duh Dubya in office in 2000, has entered the race.

But calling senator Obama unpatriotic because of a PIN? One has to wonder how far out of the cuckoo’s nest one has to fall before making that accusation.

Aren’t we, as Americans, a little tired of being told what defines us as patriotic? After all, we’ve dealt with one of the most openly self-proclaimed “patriotic” presidents in recent memory for the last eight years. And yet his definition of patriotism – waging an unpopular war while crippling a country with fear tactics – has left many Americans wondering why they should be proud of anything anymore.

And then here comes Mr. Obama with his message of “change” and “hope.” Amazing speaker. Next to nothing in his closet. Is uniting democrats, independents, and republicans of all ages, races, and demographics. Has reached a political super-star status that has not been seen since the days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy. People who have never participated in politics before are registering to vote in record numbers, sick of the ways of the past and thirsty for the promise held in the future.

Americans are proud again – devoted, supportive, loyal – patriots.

But no. Obama’s unpatriotic He doesn’t wear a flag pin. He doesn’t salute the Stars and Stripes. His middle name is Hussein. He’s probably a Muslim. He’s black. But not black enough. He’s all talk and no substance. He has no experience. He doesn’t “support the troops” and wants to end the war. He’s a tax and spend democrat. He’s anti-Washington. Anti-government. Anti-America.

It appears the term “patriot” is in need of revision. The new accurate American version of the word will read as follows:

Patriot: “Any white, Christian, Bible-thumping, male with an all American-sounding name, such as Bill or Bob, willing to buy the public’s silence with proposed tax breaks, in an attempt to mask and sell years of political corruption as quality leadership experience, with the ability to smile and kill simultaneously, all in the name of a red, white, and blue piece of cloth.”

If that’s what we’re passing off as patriotism in this country, than maybe we should just scrap the election altogether and keep Bush in office until he chokes on another pretzel or bag of Funyuns.

Ultimately, real patriotism is about pride more than anything else. It’s not about how tough your army is, how many nukes you have, or the number of large phallic-shaped monuments you “erect” in your country’s honor. It’s about waking up each morning and thinking, “damn, it’s a great day to be an American” (or Canadian, or Iraqi, or Mexcican, etc.).

It’s the sense of community pride and never-ending potential for great things that make a person feel patriotic. That even in the midst of a struggling economy, ascending oil prices, and a seemingly endless war – one sees hope on the horizon.

Even as I step down from my soapbox, I can still see it glimmer in the distance.

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