Lost in all the debt ceiling hubbub are a few stories which, at first glance seem odd but on further reflection are downright bizarre. One such of these was a report by researchers at Cornell University that purports to show that exposure to the American flag causes “voters of all political persuasions [to] shift toward conservative Republican attitudes and voting behavior… even for Democrats, being exposed to the flag a single time pushes them toward the opposite end of the ideology scale.”
Now, I usually don’t attach much credence to this sort of psychobabble, except that similar eggheads at Harvard have also been studying up on this most disturbing trend. They found that, “To the extent that there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and Republican beliefs, celebrations in Republican dominated counties may be more politically biased occasions that socialize children into Republicans.” Great choice of words from the folks at the liberal headquarters of America.
Were one to accept the findings of these august members of the academic world, there would be cause for great rejoicing in conservative circles; particularly over the news about the grand old flag and the Grand Old Party. Alas, however, recent events have shown that it doesn’t seem to do much good hanging majestically in the House or Senate chamber.
What is intriguing though, is the motivation behind these studies. Because they expose the tremendous anxiety of liberals when confronted by American patriotism, they reveal more about the observers than the observed. Because, in the main, liberals are ashamed of our country and all that it has represented and all that represents it: mainly our military and our flag.
In a way, the flag symbolizes much of what the left hates about this nation. After all, each of the fifty stars on a single blue field represents both the sovereignty of the individual states and “E pluribus unum;” out of many, one. Noxious notions like this — especially when expressed in “dead” languages associated with dark religious forces — strike fear into the hearts of multi-culturalists everywhere.
Even the colors of the flag are cause for concern amongst those who despise what it stands for: purity, vigilance and valor. No, in modern America, liberal hearts do not beat true for the red, white and blue. As the boys from Harvard put it:
According to this literature, Fourth of July is a day that provides a context for the celebration of an American civil religion organized around flags, parades, and the Constitution.… [T]here is evidence that the political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century.
But these absurd observations do not only emanate from ivy-covered walls. A quick internet search on “American flag symbolism” turns up gems like this from an avowed “secular humanist” who insists that our love for our flag is a “fetish”:
Some Americans’ fetishism for their flag is demonstrated by a near-obsessive, ritualistic manner in which they insist it be treated. Their behavior is more consistent with how people treat religious icons: obsessions about proper folding, never letting it touch the ground, not allowing it to fly after sunset, and so forth. When people treat common objects like this, we say that they suffer from a mental imbalance — obsessive-compulsive disorder, to be exact. When they treat religious objects like this, we simply say they are devout. What are we to say about someone to treats a flag this way? Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that those who insist on doing so are also often highly religious. Perhaps we are simply witnessing different manifestations of an underlying personality disorder.
So there you have it: love of the flag, which represents our cherished way of life, by those who also love and worship the God who granted us these blessings, is now considered a “personality disorder.” It’s not hard to imagine the next step in a country where sexual perversion is glorified while God’s name dare not be spoken in a public place. Those of us who espouse these views are called haters by liberals who fear the power of religion and patriotism, while those who died to defend it are labeled terrorists by our own government.
And so the need for these studies emphasizes the left’s continuing and growing trepidation that exposure to things American might spur voters on to act like, Americans. This cannot be tolerated by those who hold a virtual monopoly of the media and educational outlets in this country; the notion that a glimpse of Old Glory might awaken a deep love of country in the bosoms of so many sleeping patriots, is a nightmare of the most dire proportions.
And to top it all off, there’s that awful song; you know, the one that glorifies jingoism, war-mongering and allegiance to a mere symbol of a disordered and dangerous religious fetish:
O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.