Friday, September 19, 2008


Patriotism and exceptionalism

By Ted Belman

In the past week, both McCain and Palin have defended patriotism and American exceptionalism both concepts that the Democrats deride. It doesn’t get more basic than that.

Joe Biden challenged rich Americans to be more patriotic by paying more taxes. Both McCain and Palin took him to task for his remarks. For them, equating patriotism with willingness to pay more taxes, was a non starter.

In the second part of Hannity’s interview of Gov Palin, she talked about her son who is off to Iraq

    PALIN: He did. He was telling me, mom, just, you know, it’s going to be OK, and I’ve chosen to do this, and you know, I’m like, man, thank God for this voluntary military that we have with America’s finest.

    These young men and women, they just make me so proud.

Compare that with the views of Cindy Shallow or whatever her name is.

Hannity went on to ask her about her faith and her passion.

    PALIN: Faith is very, very important in my life. I don’t — I don’t believe I wear it on my sleeve, and I would never try to shove it down anybody else’s throat and try to convert anybody. But just a very simple faith that is important to me. It really is my foundation.

    HANNITY: Historically, modern times, who inspires you politically? Who are people that you look to as maybe people that you can gain inspiration from in tough times?

    PALIN: I’m thankful that I came of age politically in the era of Ronald Reagan, in high school and college. You know, he is my inspiration. His vision of America and of the exceptionalism of our country.

    I think about him every day. I think about what that Great Communicator has left our country and the rest of the world. So he — and then, his partner on a lot of the good things that went on in the world at that time, Margaret Thatcher, over the water. She, too, she was underestimated as she came into office and proved herself with her abilities, her determination. She is another one.

    HANNITY: You obviously have a lot of passion. What motivates you? For example, what — what made you want to get into the political world? What made you so willing to accept this job and not blink? Where does your motivation come from?

    PALIN: My love of this country. I’m one of those people, you know, I see a soldier walk through the airport and, you know, my heart does a little double-take. And I hear the Pledge of Allegiance or our national anthem, and I get a lump in my throat. And I know that that’s the majority of Americans.

    Also, I am so proud, have been so proud of our country, every step of the way. We’ve made mistakes. We learn from our mistakes.

WOW. It doesn’t get clearer or simpler than that.

For Obama, who refuses to wear an American pin or place his hand on his heart while singing the national anthem, “true true patriotism, .. is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.” How uninspiring is that.

Palin stands for everything the Democrats oppose.

In Israel, Israelis are having the same debate. Michael Freund recntly wrote, Reverse the process of “de-patriotization”

    In a May appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he branded those who believe in Greater Israel as “delusional fantasists.” “Only fantasists,” he said, “can believe that in this day and age, and in the current situation, it is still possible to cling to the vision of ‘Greater Israel.’”

    Not content that he had gotten his message across in May, Olmert evidently felt the need to add insult to injury once again. But this time, however, he went a step further. Because in addition to bad-mouthing the people of Israel, he also ridiculed the land itself.

    Hinting at media reports that he had offered 98.1 percent of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians, Olmert told the cabinet that “we have to ask ourselves if losing a hill here or there is worth forfeiting the chance to achieve something.”

    THAT SENTENCE alone embodies all that is wrong - not only with Olmert himself, but with the entire leadership of this country. To demean Judea and Samaria, to reduce the heartland of the Jewish people to just “a hill here or there,” is to denigrate the very cradle of our existence.

    It reveals the underlying weakness behind Israel’s position in the 15 years since the start of the Oslo process: The Palestinians seem to want this land more than our own leaders do. Hence, the ease with which Olmert and his colleagues are so willing to part with it.

    Such sentiments reflect a sorry state of ideological fatigue, weariness of spirit and loss of resolve. More importantly, though, they indicate a failure to dream.

    Every person, every nation, has its dreams. Take that away, and what is left? As the great French writer Anatole France noted a century ago, “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan but also believe.” Sadly, however, many Israelis no longer seem to understand this.

Thus the battle lines are drawn for both the USA and Israel. My money is on patriotism and exceptionalism.

Ted Belman

+1 416 256 7597

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