Recently, Barack Obama visited Independence, MO. to give a speech on patriotism. Forgetting what patriotism really is, Obama managed to ramble on about items that made no reference to being a patriot. What was Obama trying to sell with this speech? Rhetoric, and more rhetoric.
One thing Obama forgot to discuss about patriotism, was a definition of what patriotism is. Patriotism can be defined as the love and devotion to one’s country and the willingness to sacrifice for it. Plain and simple. When Obama did talk about those who make sacrifices, he shamelessly made the change to his political stance with more rhetoric.
“We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period. Indeed, one of the good things to emerge from the current conflict in Iraq has been the widespread recognition that whether you support this war or oppose it, the sacrifice of our troops is always worthy of honor.
For the rest of us – for those of us not in uniform or without loved ones in the military – the call to sacrifice for the country’s greater good remains an imperative of citizenship. Sadly, in recent years, in the midst of war on two fronts, this call to service never came. After 9/11, we were asked to shop. The wealthiest among us saw their tax obligations decline, even as the costs of war continued to mount. Rather than work together to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and thereby lessen our vulnerability to a volatile region, our energy policy remained unchanged, and our oil dependence only grew.”
What was being sold here? Empty campaign talk? H. L. Mencken once said that “In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.” So, what was the point of giving this speech? Was it another stunt at speaking about campaign policy?
“And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides.”
Barack Obama says that “no one should ever devalue that service,” but he wants to devalue their service by doing an immediate pull-out from Iraq. Those brave men and women in our Armed Services have fought tirelessly, and the it would be a great devalue to all that they have accomplished if they were pulled out too soon. To quote Howard Thurman when he said, “During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.”
“In the end, it may be this quality that best describes patriotism in my mind – not just a love of America in the abstract, but a very particular love for, and faith in, the American people. That is why our heart swells with pride at the sight of our flag; why we shed a tear as the lonely notes of Taps sound. For we know that the greatness of this country – its victories in war, its enormous wealth, its scientific and cultural achievements – all result from the energy and imagination of the American people; their toil, drive, struggle, restlessness, humor and quiet heroism.”
Once again, Obama starts out okay with this statement followed sharply with more rhetoric. Does Barack’s heart swell with pride at the sight of our flag? Has he ever shed a tear while Taps is played for a fallen brother or sister in arms? Does Barack Obama really know what patriotism is?
The empty rhetoric of Barack Obama means nothing in comparison to true patriotism.