There’ve been quite a few accusations flying about, each “side” accusing the other of various shortcomings, failures, and sins. The left is calling the right hypocritical, short-sighted, amoral, and a host of other things. The right is calling the left hypocritical, unconstitutional, unpatriotic, and a host of other things.
Part of the problem is that we’re speaking two different languages. On the face of it, it’s all American English, but when you dig down into it, each side has assigned different meanings to the words. We’re talking past each other.
Case in point: the “unpatriotic” charge. There was apparently a study done showing that progressives are less apt to identify as “patriotic;” a right-wing pundit (I don’t recall who, and it’s not all that important) pointed to the notion that we on the left think “government” when we think “patriotic.” Frankly, I disagree. I feel as if I have a little room to speak on this subject, having served my 20 years in defense of the country (and still working for the Department of Defense, however indirectly).
I feel quite patriotic, in the original, truer sense of the word. Not the rabid flag-waving patriotic that has become so in vogue after 9/11. Not the Chinese-made “Support Our Troops” car sticker patriotism. Certainly not the open-carry-a-gun-in-the-Target unthinking 2nd Amendment patriotism. No, I feel a sense of pride in having been born where I was, and in having done my part to make it a better place, in however small a way. I’ve been to a rather silly number of third world countries, quite a few of them for months at a time; I feel we have things we can learn from them, just as much as we can learn from the other “first world” and “second world” countries.
Similarly, I believe in American exceptionalism. Not capital-“E”-Exceptionalism, in which we can do no wrong, or are better than everyone else. No, plain old exceptionalism, where we’ve done something not seen since Rome, and built a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic democratic Republic, and made it last for more than a generation. (How many more generations it’ll go, that’s the question–and I fear the answer may be shorter than I’d like.)
Now, if we can just get the two sides to sit down and shut up, take deep breaths, and talk to each other–actually take the time to define what each side means when they say something–we can probably stretch this thing out another couple hundred years. (Long enough, certainly, to get blindsided by something else–water shortages are looking like a good candidate in parts of the country lately.)
In local news, I’m proud to say that my local community has come through, and I’ve found a serviceable rototiller, for an acceptable price. That means I can prep a field!…Right after I finish re-insulating parts of the house, to make this winter more comfortable than the last. And we’re swimming in squash and cucmbers! How are your things growing?