Flag Pins and Patriotism

I’ve been meaning to speak to this much ballyhooed issue of wearing flag lapel pins. Apparently this accessory to one’s clothing is a sign of one’s patriotism. If you choose not to wear one, well there most be wrong with you.

That judgment has been made by many upon Barack Obama. Obama generally doesn’t wear one – though when present one by a Gulf War Vet he gladly received it and put it on his jacket. He didn’t turn it down, didn’t put it in his pocket, he gladly accepted it as a gift from one who had served his nation.

But his general practice is not to wear one – in part apparently because he saw so many wearing flags and yet acting inappropriately – it’s kind of why I don’t put Jesus stickers on my car. But for some reason this decision is deemed unpatriotic and un-American. But if he’s unpatriotic, I guess the same is true for me as well – I’ve never worn a flag pin (if I were to wear a lapel pin I expect it would be a denominational symbol).

The question of flag pins came up in last week’s despicable ABC debate. The moderators, neither of whom was wearing a flag pin, addressed the question to Obama. Interestingly enough, Hillary wasn’t wearing one either. In fact, I’ve not seen a picture of her with one on her lapel. That maybe due to the fact that it would clash with that yellow suit she so often wears. But knowing that this won’t go away, I thought I’d find out if John McCain wears one – and apparently he doesn’t generally wear one either. So, really the only person for whom this is an issue is Barack Obama. Everyone else is a patriot, but for some reason he’s not.

And why is this an issue? Well, it has to do with an extended attempt to belittle his patriotism. It is part and parcel with the attempts to smear him as a covert Muslim extremist, a racist Black separatist, and friends with 1960s terrorists. Now, I don’t question the patriotism of either Hillary or John – both have served their country (McCain sacrificing several years of his life to imprisonment in Vietnam). So, let’s let Barack Obama’s words of allegiance and appreciation for his country stand on their own. He has made it very clear that he loves this country and that it’s that love of country (and a desire to make it better) that compels him to run for the nation’s highest office.

Flying flags on your car, wearing a flag bikini, or wearing a flag pin is not the symbol of one’s love of the country. Rather it’s the willingness to work to make this country a better place, one that is more democratic, more egalitarian, and more respectful. That is Obama’s cause.


It's so hard dealing with people who constantly look for easy signs, signals, and symbols. And it's incredibly unethical for those who know what they are doing to use that technique on a political opponent.

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