HolyCoast: Sarah Palin's Two Flags
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sarah Palin's Two Flags

Much has been made of flag pins in the last couple of years. Obama didn't want to wear one and came up with this reasoning for it:
"You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest.
Of course, as president he almost always wears one. And in his case I think there's a good case to make that his pin represents false patriotism.

Ann Althouse noticed that Sarah Palin wore a pin last night that combined the U.S. flag with the Israeli flag. She seemed to have some problems with that, but also used it as an opportunity to address the whole birther thing:
If Obama was born in Kenya — and I don't think he was — it would have nothing to do with the reasons why the Constitution requires the President to be a natural-born citizen, which is that we need an extra-strong safeguard against a President with a secret allegiance to a foreign state.

Wearing a foreign country's flag is more troubling than the geographical location of one's (American) mother at the time she gave birth. Presumably, Palin's pin, showing the 2 flags together, is meant to symbolize the alliance between America and Israel, but it seems to put the 2 countries at the same level. I think she should wear the American flag alone.

Am I questioning Sarah Palin's patriotism? Sure! I want questions about patriotism asked of anyone who runs for President or who, like her, might run. I support the constitutional principle that we need to safeguard against the calamity of a President with a secret allegiance to a foreign power.

We should have delved into Barack Obama's background and questioned him far more back in 2008. And I don't mean the possibility of a technical disqualification from the presidency. Where his mother was at the time of his birth has very little to do with anything that really matters. I'm more concerned with his mother's lack of connection to America and what she may have conveyed to him as he was growing up than her global positioning on the day he was born. Why did she marry 2 non-Americans?

I'm concerned with all the things about him that suggest a lack of devotion to America. His father was not American. His stepfather was not American. He spent formative years living in Indonesia. In adulthood, he chose to attend a church that featured sermons that harshly criticized America. Some of the people he associated with were rabidly anti-American. Campaigning for President, he gave a big speech — and was hailed — in Berlin. He seemed to want a transnational image. He made statements apologizing for America and rejecting America's unique leadership in the world. He didn't wear a flag pin. There was an issue about whether he failed to salute the flag. Why didn't those things trouble us more?

But we voted. We made our big leap of faith. I voted for him too. He's running for reelection in 2012, one must assume. We should continue to look at these things and to add to the list. There's that bowing to foreign leaders, for example. We can look at what he's done and how well he's demonstrated his dedication to the United States. That's a continual process. But this birther business? This idea that he might be formally, technically disqualified? If it ever made any sense to go in that direction, it is now just plain too late. Look at the substance of how well he is serving American interests. He is earning or losing our trust every day, and it is absolutely right to talk about that.

And it is absolutely right to talk about the patriotism of anyone who would run for President.
I don't have any concerns about Palin's loyalties to her country. Including the Israeli flag is not a symbol of loyalty to that state equal to her loyalty to America, but a symbol of continued support for a nation that's our only true ally in a volatile region. Her faith probably also compels her strong feelings about Israel.

I do like Althouse's line about questioning the patriotism of anyone who wants to run for president. Why not? If they want to be the leader of our nation we should be able to question whether this country's welfare is their ultimate goal, or do they have aspirations that would put the best interests of the country in a lower place in their lives.

After our experience with Obama I don't think it's safe to assume that anyone running for president is automatically patriotic.

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