The mass appeal of false patriotism (and why idiots do love it so)

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In the midst of all this sound and fury swallowing the health care debate (that was intended to solicit the opinions and concerns of at least semi-literate, semi-intelligent citizens), one thing I have learned is that there is nothing quite so powerful – or at least quite as loud – as ignorance on cruise control. If knowledge is power, then knowledge had better start making some damned noise in these town hall meetings and quick, because right now the inmates are running the asylum.

No need to rehash all the headlines or the news clips because there’s no way you could have missed them. Crazy folks make great headline stories, especially in the age of infotainment where the picture truly is worth a thousand words because who the hell takes the time to read anymore? Let alone stop and think…

Because if we took the time to stop and think then some of us might be at least a little disappointed at how easily we allow the idiots to designate themselves as our nation’s leading patriots. Whenever the most sick and twisted among us make up their collective brain cell to pervert the debate and to bend the national will in their favor, the first thing they do is to grab the nearest flag and wrap themselves in it from head-to-toe. And you thought Linus had issues with his security blanket.

Then they begin to scream and cry, like that scarecrow-looking woman who wailed and moaned into the camera at one of these Town Halls about how she wanted her America back. Yeah. Her America.  Except, of course, nobody ever told the poor dear that this was never her America to begin with because it never existed. The America she wants to drag back from the dead is the America of Ward and June Cleaver, parents of our beloved Beaver Cleaver. She wants the Partridge Family. Shirley Temple.

But then came Archie Bunker, which led to George Jefferson, which led to Fred Sanford and Chico and the Man and Good Times and Dy-no-mite and Bill Cosby, which eventually led to The Sopranos, The Wire, and Weeds.

Shit really has changed.

Except that it hasn’t. It’s just that the lid has been pried off the cesspool, and now everybody’s sinuses are being assaulted with the same thick, greasy aroma of what’s been stuck and bleeding  in the underground sewers for all these years. Pandora’s box was full of rotten flesh, but how were we supposed to know with the lights out? Somebody said go ahead have a taste, and so we did…

And now here we are, watching the clown show of faux patriotism brought to us by those who know not what they fear or how much they fear it until someone gives them specific instructions. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself!” was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most famous phrase, delivered to calm a panicked nation during a time of Great Depression. To which the faux patriot replies, “If you’re not scared shitless, you’re not a good American.”

Behold the harbinger of the New Patriotism. Motto: "If you ain't scared you ain't American."

Behold the harbinger of the New Patriotism. Motto: "If you ain't scared you ain't American."

SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog @ The “D” Spot Redeux

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~ by Keith A. Owens on August 14, 2009.

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