I was intrigued by a news story that sparked the public's interest for a day or two. No, I'm not referring to the video of two llamas running around a suburban neighborhood. Though, admittedly, that was really good. Rather, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was both condemned and applauded for remarks he made about President Obama's patriotism.
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the President loves America. He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
The story interested me because it got me thinking, "Rudy Giuliani is still around?" But it also prompted me to think about the subjective concept of patriotism... and also why Giuliani would say something he thinks is "a horrible thing to say." It's like when I look at the new Little Caesar's bacon-wrapped pizza and think, "This is a horrible thing to eat." So, I don't eat it.
Nevertheless, I don't think Giuliani said anything horrible. Misguided and partisan, perhaps. But not horrible. And, I agree with the former mayor in that President Obama probably doesn't love me. I'm pretty sure Giuliani doesn't love me, either. And I don't love Obama or Giuliani. I don't care if my politicians love me or not; just be honest, do a good job and don't get caught smoking crack in hotel rooms. (Coincidentally, I feel the same way about my children.) There is way too much fake love in the political air.
I would be willing to bet that President Obama was indeed brought up through love of this country. That's why he ran for President. People who want to lead their country, in all likelihood, love their country. I wouldn't want to lead something I don't love. That's why I never ran for president of soccer or humidity or the Kardashians.
Every President of the United States has loved his country, but every President has also sought change -- in a way that he thinks will make the country better. No presidential candidate has ever run on the slogan "Let's Keep Things Exactly the Same." You can't win an election patterning yourself after the production meetings for The Hunger Games sequels.
You can love your country while acknowledging its flaws. To love America unconditionally is not patriotism -- it's nationalism. Nationalism is flawed and delusional. It's like the difference between a parent who loves his children, but understands they are far from perfect, therefore he guides and teaches them so that they might someday reach their potential... and Will Smith.
Different people love the United States differently. Patriotism comes in so many forms. People in Vermont love America for its scenery. People in California love America for the weather. Texans love America for the guns, so much so that they want to secede.
Conservatives seem to love America in a simplistic, child-like way. I know this is a horrible thing to write, but I don't think Rudy Giuliani loves anything about America. It's like the Philadelphia Eagles' fans; they hate the team's players, the coaching staff, the management, even their fellow fans... but yet, they support the team 100 percent. Basically, when Giuliani says he loves America, he is referring to the uniforms.
Love is not a feeling. Rather, love is supposed to be a verb, as in "to do," as in "to love." And so, if love is good, then to love something is to do good things for it. So what have conservatives done for America lately? Bashing the president of the United States with hateful rhetoric on Internet comments sections isn't really helping the country.
The United States of America is the sum total of its parts: the people, the land, the laws and the history. I've spoken to Rush Limbaugh dittoheads. They love the word America. But I'm not so sure they love its parts. If you despise millions of its citizens, if you disregard environmental destruction, if you selectively support only the Constitutional provisions that benefit your own personal agenda and if you whitewash history to fit your own narrative, then you're not a patriotic American -- you're just a typical American. So stuff your face with Big Macs, enjoy your CSI and your Internet porn, but for the love of God stop bragging about your phony love for this country.
When conservatives talk about their love for America, they're not making a statement, but rather a comparison. They want it known that their American flagpole is longer than any liberal's. And there are indeed a small number of people on the left, mostly bored sociology students at west coast universities who wear sandals to formal functions, for whom characterizing the United States as the world villain is an obsessive fetish. But those idiots don't vote. As for President Obama, and the millions of other Americans like me who seek rational change -- a more balanced economic structure, gender equality laws, etc... well, if you think you're more patriotic than I am, then prove it.
Actually, there is something that conservatives love about America. Themselves! Republican Americans are patriotic in that they fully support their own convictions, their own personal moral code, and their own perception of what the United States should be. It's a myth that conservatives want to take our country back to the good old days. No -- they want to shape the country into their own, most recently updated Facebook profile picture. Self-absorption is a thoroughly modern American trait. It crosses party lines. It's what unites us.
So God bless America. God bless all Americans. And God bless texting in restaurants.