Of patriotism and politics

my turn
2008-04-14T00:00:00Z Of patriotism and politicsJANET MORAN
Times Columnist
April 14, 2008 12:00 am  • 

Some thoughts about patriotism and politics.

Pundit commentary circulating the presidential campaign recently called into troubling question candidate Barack Obama's patriotism because he doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin. Is this the new litmus test for love of country?

Surely this is not what our country's founders had in mind in the years 1787 to 1791 as they drafted the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The late Adlai Stevenson, governor of Illinois and ambassador to the United Nations and Great Britain, appropriately questioned "What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility - a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."

As founder of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and the Americans for Religious Liberty, the late Rabbi Sherwin Wine of Detroit defined patriotism as "love of country and of the people who make it strong, defending all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity."

When primary election day dawns in Indiana on May 6, will we be met with lie detectors or the truth squad at the polling place? Seems to be about the only sure way to determine if voters are "up to mischief," as Indiana Democratic state chairman Dan Parker feared in issuing his proclamation that Republicans would be challenged if they attempt to vote in the Democratic primary.

This goes beyond what is sometimes dubbed the silly season of presidential campaigns to just plain stupid.

Usually, either political party is courting voters from each other and happy to have crossovers join their ranks.

Parker must have forgotten our rights to exercise our votes without intimidation, or he's reading tea leaves and fearful there's a chance the Indiana Democratic primary will either nominate someone he's not personally backing or that the GOP will attempt to "engineer" the election.

With the Republican presidential nominee already chosen and polls now showing the two Democratic candidates and the GOP about even in vote getting ability in the fall election, perhaps Parker's consternation can be laid to rest. Even though the presidential primary has taken center stage, there are other races, such as those for governor and several countywide offices, on both tickets this spring in the Hoosier state.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. Contact her at janetcopywrite@sbcglobal.net.

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