Out of government, liberals regard dissent as the essence of patriotism. Once in power, they consider dissent an affront to it.
The left is suddenly nationalistic, policing the proper level of jingoistic disappointment after Chicago’s lost Olympic bid in Copenhagen. Even though the Obamas and Oprah had personalized the bid and treated it like a junket of regional boosterism, all Americans apparently should feel deep sorrow at the loss.
Liberals at MSNBC, who couldn’t muster up much anger about MoveOn.org’s “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” ad a couple of years ago, saw treachery in insufficient sadness at the defeated bid. Rachel Maddow furrowed her brow over it all.
How this squares with the left’s trans-nationalism isn’t clear. Or its own definition of true patriotism, the enlightened kind, which treats reductions in American power as an occasion for celebration, not sadness. Isn’t global “parity,” not American dominance, their hope for a fairer world?
It is not that the Olympic committee members in Copenhagen didn’t listen to Obama. They heard him all too well. It just so happened that the speech to which they paid the closest attention was the globalist one he had given days earlier at the United Nations.
Once Obama had lost the bid, he dropped his nationalism and resumed this feel-good prattle, saying that “one of the most valuable things about sports is that you can play a great game and still lose.” Jimmy Carter couldn’t have said it better.
The goal of liberalism is to root for a tie, not a win, whether in war or in sports. “Equality,” not justice, is its end. So it always seems odd to hear liberals adopt a fervent nationalistic tone. But then, nationalism is now equated with enthusiasm for whatever their agenda is at the moment.
To pay higher taxes is “patriotic,” said Joe Biden famously. But it is not patriotic to ask indignant questions at a healthcare townhall forum. That’s “uncivil,” say liberals who spent eight years championing the lone and unruly dissents of the Cindy Sheehans.
Nightly they bemoan on MSNBC the supposedly shocking new levels of anger across the land. But what’s shocking is that the anger isn’t greater. Last year’s anti-Obama attack ads look like understatements.
Remember Obama’s heated objections last year to a McCain campaign ad that said he supported sex education for elementary school children? The Kevin Jennings controversy exposes that as a sham. If anything, the ad now looks too soft.
Jennings, Obama’s so-called czar for “Safe & Drug Free Schools,” has written a foreword to a book called Queering Elementary Education, reports Byron York, “which included chapters like ‘Why Discuss Sexuality in Elementary School?’ and ‘Locating a Place for Gay and Lesbian Themes in Elementary Reading, Writing, and Talking.'”
York adds that “Jennings worked hard to bring discussions of overtly homosexual topics — and in some cases, sexual practices — into classrooms. As a young teacher, nearly two decades ago, Jennings was approached by a 15-year old boy (some defenders now say the boy was 16) who said he had had an encounter with an older man. Instead of pursuing the matter with the authorities, Jennings, by his own account, offered some simple advice: ‘I hope you used a condom.'”
This latter fact throws an additional light of irony on last year’s furor over the McCain campaign ad: Obama had protested that his support for K-12 sex education was narrower than represented and was simply targeted towards protecting children from abuse.
In the next few weeks, Obama administration education officials will no doubt reassure perplexed parents that this is no big deal, no more propagandistic than EPA officials teaching children about “climate change” or teachers training children in songs to the president. Under the new nationalism, parents are left with the impression that placidly accepting the makeover of the country is patriotic.