The new patriotism
: Jonathan Alter in Newsweek is right to make a call for a “new patriotism.” He’s wrong about most of the rest.
: September 11th changed my view of patriotism, of course. It also changed my view of politics. And weblogs have had an impact, too.
: I was not a George Bush fan, probably never will be. I didn’t vote for him and thought he stole the election (spare me your comments; we’ve covered this turf already; let me just set the scene and we’ll move on). I think that his tax cut is the most cynical possible act: borrowing our money from us to to bribe us to vote for him (and it’s no way to fix the economy). I wish he had accomplished anything to fix health care. Half his appointments frighten me.
But I support him on homeland security, even considering the missteps, because we have to … and on going to war in Afghanistan because we had to … and on Iraq because it was the right war even if he justified it on the wrong reasons (WMD was a bet on the come; humanitarianism was the sure thing).
I did that because I was motivated by a new patriotism that said it was time to see myself as an American — an American at war — first, and a partisan second. That, clearly, is how 9.11 changed me.
Weblogs changed me as well, because I find now that I more often take on issues individually, not in party packages and I judge our leaders similarly, an issue at a time. That’s why Roger L. Simon says, often and eloquently, that the labels left and right — and presumably, Democratic and Republican — are obsolete.
: Now go read Alter’s view of patriotism and partisanship and you’ll find that he mixes up patriotism and politics in a simplistic stew.
He quotes Britney Spears —