The unpatriotic Right

Ed Kilgore loses his temper at “patriots” who hate America. I’m with him.

Ed Kilgore offers a genial one-fingered salute to the Red Team’s summer soldiers and sunshine patriots:

I’m perfectly happy on this and any other day devoted to communal, civic celebrations to put aside differences and tip my hat (or a beer) to neighbors I know don’t agree with me on much of anything that makes up the daily bread of politics. But I’m no longer going to quietly accept lectures on patriotism from people who hate my country because they don’t rule it and my vote is equal to theirs.

Ed concentrates on the bile the Read Team directs at the poor and working-class and middle-class Americans whose government helps them out. Unlike Ed, my ancestors came here three generations ago, so maybe I take the anti-immigrant hatefest more personally than he does. But whether it’s downward class warfare, or immigrant-bashing, or old-fashioned racism, or gay-baiting, or instead attacks on those “elitists” who read more, think more, or have different opinions than the typical Dittohead, the emotional center of today’s Republicanism is hatred, and hatred of everything that made this country great: liberty, equality, excellence, and diversity.

So let me add my Fourth of July greetings to Ed’s, and say to the Coulters and Hannitys of the world, “If Obama, or Obamacare, or gay marriage, or the coming non-white majority, makes you sad or ashamed to be an American, please don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

To the rest of you, happy Fourth. And remember what Ben Franklin replied to the woman who asked if the Constitution provided for a monarchy or a republic: “A republic, madam. If you can keep it.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

12 thoughts on “The unpatriotic Right”

  1. We all don’t understand. The right wing loves the Real America, an aspirational country of which only a tiny fraction of actually-existing americans are a part. And their fond hope is to make that nation come into being by destroying the sham that currently holds its place.

  2. Many boomers remember the kind of society imagined by Andy Griffith as sheriff of Mayberry. We have just been reminded that he was a lifelong Democrat whose last acts of political involvement were to endorse Barack Obama for President and then to endorse his health care reforms. More than one way to be a patriot, no?

  3. So, just like the old right communist-baiting – “if you don’t like it, leave” – you write “please don’t let the door hit you on the way out”.

    Yeah, you’re really leading the way to progress. The old right looks a lot like the new left.

  4. I am glad that we women have the vote now, so we can share the blame if it all goes to H in a handbasket.

    But, unjustified optimism is part of being American, so, I say we’re going to pull it out, somehow.

  5. Benjamin Franklin knew whereof he spoke. His father was born into a republic which was in the process of being lost. Happened before, can happen again.

  6. I maintain that when the Chief Justice of the United States has more power over policy than the President, and the head of EPA more power than the Governor of West virginia, it is questionable whether we have kept the republic we were given.

    1. I think your use of the term “more power” is, at best, disingenuous.

  7. Went to see a baseball game on the 4th (Go Cubbies!). The commemoration ceremonies were entirely focused on the military. I don’t want to live in Sparta, thank you very much. I want to see a commemoration that celebrates all the good aspects of American life. I want to see images of the beautiful landscapes we’ve preserved. People playing. Seniors opening their Social Security checks (I know, direct deposit). People getting jobs. People eating hot dogs, tofu burgers, pizza. Peace Corp. volunteers. And people serving in the Armed Forces. A commemoration that says “We’re all in this together” not “Are you with us or against us?”

    1. One time I’d like to see a ceremony honoring the sacrifices made by anti-war activists.

    2. I think Fourth of July celebrations tend to be focused on the military because the signing of the Declaration of Independence started a long, bloody war. Saying we were independent was necessary to independence, but not sufficient to assure it. Backing the declaration with effective military force was also required.

      As a consequence, our celebrations of the day tend to be seen through a military lens.

      Don’t misunderstand me, my preference on the Fourth is to play America, the Beautiful to God Bless the USA, but I understand the reasons. Unfortunately, the commemorations more attuned to American civil life (Flag Day, Constitution Day) scarcely make it to the level of minor holidays. I suppose that Labor Day comes closest to that spirit, but it’s supposed to be about something else.

  8. “So let me add my Fourth of July greetings to Ed’s, and say to the Coulters and Hannitys of the world, “If Obama, or Obamacare, or gay marriage, or the coming non-white majority, makes you sad or ashamed to be an American, please don’t let the door hit you on the way out.””
    By seceding, perhaps?

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