The Kossacks are in a tizzy
about patriotism and Lee Greenwood's song "God Bless the USA" (lyrics here
The overall theme is that we can't celebrate America while government agents behave unjustly, whether acting on their own volition or under orders. If that were the case, I would have been unable to celebrate America during the Kosovo War, or at the time our military abandoned South Vietnam, or when the Supremes handed down the Kelo
Pay close attention to the song's refrain:
That I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
Nobody believes that America has perfect freedom. Hong Kong surpasses this nation in economic liberty, and gun rights are more pletiful in Switzerland than in the District of Columbia. But America is abundant in overall freedom.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
Greenwood does not extol every single US military action. He praises those that protected and expanded liberty for Americans, and leaves it up to the listener to come up with specific examples.
And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.
This is offensive only if patriotism is offensive. Is it? Kos contributor PsiFighter37's post is instructive:
Springsteen's song (which I was surprised to hear at a July 4th event) is tinged with sarcasm...'Born in the USA' doesn't celebrate the best spirits of America; instead, it speaks of soldiers who are forgotten when they come home and of the hard knocks that the average American has to endure...it speaks about real problems in America, not simply looking back at our past and glorifying what has occurred. The seminal contrast, though, is that after the past five years, no longer do patriotic songs like Lee Greenwood's ring true for me. They now remind me of the need to burnish your pro-American-ness that seems so prevalent in politics today. Springsteen's song isn't outwardly patriotic, but, like the left wing, it doesn't need to. Deep down, we know that we are patriotic; we don't need to show it off at every possible moment.
Patriotism, in this context, means regard for the welfare of one's nation. PsiFighter37 knows this - but refuses to consider the possibility that conservatives embrace the same sort of patriotism. Such bigotry is common to the Left, viewing right-wing patriotism as the hollow sort that sucks up to leaders and rings of jingoism. If they want to see that sort of patriotism, they should go to Cuba.
The Kossacks are like those fire-and-brimstone preachers who harp on the evils of the sinful world all the time and almost never get around to talking about the good that can and has been built. There is a time for addressing the nation's wrongs - and conservatives have not been shy about doing so with regard to such issues as eminent domain abuse, McCain-Feingold, government overspending, Bush's soft stance on immigration laws, or the nationalization and Rube-Goldbergization of airport security. There is also a time to celebrate the victories of the past, and Independence Day is one of them.