Posted by: nquest2xl | May 26, 2008

One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist

In this election season, I’m having a tough time understanding this “patriotism” concept. I especially have a problem with the thought of the Obama family, both the senator and his wife, having their patriotism and love for the country questioned. That’s almost automatic whenever someone questions Blacks people’s patriotism.

Quite naturally, I hear the racial undertones in those questions whether they be the fake outrage over Michelle Obama statement about being “proud” of her country (because more people were moving from apathy to engagement) for the first time in her adult life or the silly season surrounding Sen. Obama off/on flag pin.

What aggravates me is how symbols and other things superficial (or not about the issues) are raised above substance. I pissed somebody off lately when I related how the symbols and style based patriotism of so many Americans, White Americans in particular, showed how easily people could be exploited simply by draping bs in the flag. Maybe it’s the Frederick Douglass in me but I just don’t get it. But that’s a story for another day.

What I want to focus on now is how do you determine what is or is not patriotism and how a terrorist can pretend to be a patriot to disasterous ends (and I’m not talking about Obama or Osama):

My point was this: somehow Obama’s patriotism is questioned (rendered “unpatriotic” until proven patriotic) while the policies of Pres. Bush (and a number of politicians/past administrations) which have profound negative effects on the country are hardly ever questioned in that light. The video above presents a compelling reason why we should, IMO.

Hat Tip: Macon D



  1. Due to the past and present realities of this country in relation to African Americans, many AA’s are critical of. However I look at it as more tough love and the demand for respect and justice rather than out of hate!

    There is a degree of “black person as the outsider” at play when people act as if he is not patriotic. Its as if only whites are real true Americans. Obama to date has only said goo things about this country. He is looking to create a “more perfect union” while Bush and Cheney are looking to kill another 4,000 soldiers and then say “so”.


  2. Yes, Rhonda, very interesting indeed.

    And this is 2008 they say. The “black person as outsider” thing just how far we haven’t come as if there is an active process towards racial progress.

    Notice I didn’t say racial justice. The idea of not having irrational distrust of a Black man like Barack who, as you noted, has said nothing but good things about the country is hard enough. I do, however, have to ask you to explain this comment of yours:

    I look at it as more tough love and the demand for respect and justice rather than out of hate

    I ask because I don’t understand where the “out of hate” idea comes from. I’ll be clear: I don’t think there is a contrast between you and other African-Americans who, instead of having “tough love” for America, habor feelings and express criticisms out of hate for America.

    But then, you’d have to know me. I have an serious issue with couching things in terms of love and hate.

    That aside, thanks for your response and I’m looking forward to more of your insight!

  3. Thanks for that video, and your comments around it.

    I was extensively drilled in the assumptions behind the American Dream: while “life isn’t fair” the status quo or underlying situation is – or it’s as fair as can be without penalizing people who just want to give their kids a better life, and who can argue with that.

    It all feels very “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” I think there is a sense of “rightful leader,” of people who don’t need to worry about the American Dream because they’re already there by grace. They have to put up the show too, or else they’re just bum heirs, but when they do it they’re showing solidarity – not justifying their position. The rest of us, we have provisional success, we can succeed if we work hard enough (or luck or marry into it) but we may never forget that we are where we are because America gave it to us. If we’re going to complain or blow off the rituals, maybe we don’t deserve it after all. Why don’t you go back to where you came from – and that’s not here with us, and that goes for anyone who agrees.

    B. Obama, and people who manage that level of success without having the right characteristics (race & nationality the most obvious), they’re very much like the “rightful leaders” in resume but probably worked harder to get there and overcame more challenges. It’s hard to justify excluding them without coming out and saying the real reason they’re not acceptable (and that won’t play without the veneer of a joke usually, or at least “but these other people won’t tolerate…”) so these games have to be manufactured that can’t be won straight, but look fair on surface, look like he’s just earning his place like we all had to. Even though we didn’t all have to, and don’t all have to keep proving it.

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