I was reading a new post on another great blog, Globally Rational, about the notion of “supporting our troops.” The basic premise was that if we really supported our troops, we would care enough about their well-being to understand the effect this war is having on them and, consequently, bring them home.
It got me thinking about phrases like “Support our troops!” and about patriotism in general. A popular criticism of the Left and of those who seek to end the war is that they are not patriotic and that, by questioning and evaluating the actions of our country, they are somehow less “American” than those who don’t.
This is absurd and every time I hear such stupidity uttered, my blood boils just a little and I start to think that selective suffrage might not be such a bad idea. (Really, if you think thoughtful, fact-based analysis is equatable to treason, you ought to be disenfranchised.) Supporting your country blindly, without any deep understanding of the facts, is one of the most dangerous things a person could do, and, in my opinion, is about as un-American as it gets. A country needs its citizens to be educated, to engage in intelligent debate, and to keep its leadership in line so that they steer the country down the best track possible. When citizens neglect to be informed and critical, they become nothing more than pawns and they give their government power to make unilateral decisions that may be rooted in less-than-admirable motivations.
Another thing I can’t stand is people who insist upon taking fashion cues from our flag. Aside from adding nothing to the debate, this color palette is just plain unattractive and serves as a signaling cue to me about the relative level of that person’s intelligence. (Excepted from this comment are children. If you are under the age of ten, red, white, and blue apparel is perfectly fine.) Our country is not a sports team. You need not show your support by wearing our “team colors” and talking about how much “better” our country is than all the rest. Please stop rooting for the home team just because of where you live. If your “team” has problems, talk about those problems and propose solutions until the leadership has no choice but to listen.