Friday, October 09, 2009

Patriotism Above Politics

I've spoken earlier about the extremist conversations that have raged in our country these days. Still, I was a bit surprised when I heard the glee some people spread when Chicago didn't become the next pick for the Olympics. At that point I shrugged and realized, "That's politics as usual."

Then I woke up this morning and discovered that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace prize. My pride in my country was overwhelming. "Wow," I thought. "The world doesn't hate America anymore, or at least not as much. Maybe this will give us a pause in the constant back and forth of the 'I hope Obama fails' meme."

I caught one story that made me laugh so hard because a couple of White House staffers thought they were being punked when told about the prize. Thanks for the laughter, staffers:

"White House Aide: 'It's not April 1, is it?':

Two key White House aides were both convinced they were being punked when they heard the news, reported ABC News' George Stephanopoulos .

'It's not April 1, is it?' one said.

Upon being called by ABC News at 5:45 ET this morning, a White House aide said, 'This better be good.'

When told by ABC News that the president had won the Nobel Peace Prize, the aide replied: 'Oh, that is good.'

In the midst of that article, though, I began to think that perhaps I thought too soon that extremist opinions were going to fade on this topic as the article linked above shows a variety of reactions--several of them negative. What American wouldn't be proud that one of our own was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

So then I started doing some more digging and an additional article caught my eye. In which, Sam Stein of HuffPost captured some conservative reactions:
"Obama isn't the first American president to win the Nobel Peace Prize, but he's the first to win it without having accomplished anything," wrote John Miller, of the National Review. "Obama's award is simply the projection of wishful thinking."

"The prize seems not just premature but embarrassing," wrote Mark Krikorian, also on The National Review, "this just reinforces the Saturday Night Live meme that Obama has done nothing. This really might be his Carter whacking-the-bunny-rabbit moment."

Indeed, an online petition was started just hours after the announcement was made, objecting to the "absurd decision to award B. Obama Nobel Peace Prize."

And so, in the immediate aftermath, the meme had already been established -- seconded by the usual purveyors of conventional wisdom -- that the Nobel Prize was more burden than benefit for the White House. The conclusion: the president needed to turn the prize down.

"I predict right now that he will find a way to basically turn it down," Time Magazine's Mark Halperin told MSNBC's Morning Joe. "I think he is going to say, I share this with the world or whatever. I don't think he'll embrace this. Because there is no upside."

"The damage is done," added Mika Brzezinski shortly thereafter.

He hasn't done anything? Really? Really???

How about when he got the leaders of France and China together instead of them storming out and his other missions to repair the United States' tattered reputation? How about his focus on reducing nuclear weapons? Or how about all the real terrorists he has protected us from?

Me being the political mutt that I am, I never thought I would agree word for word with a response from the Democratic National Committee, and I admit this is much more extremist language than I tend to use:

"The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists -- the Taliban and Hamas this morning -- in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize," wrote DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse. "Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize -- an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride -- unless of course you are the Republican Party. The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It's no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore - it's an embarrassing label to claim."

Let me repeat that: "Politics above patriotism." Today, I'm putting Patriotism above Politics. Today is a day in which all of us should be proud.

So whether you are independent, democrat, republican, libertarian, green party, communist, socialist, etc., let's stop with all the politics for the moment. The Nobel Peace prize epitomizes the very foundations of our country. So lets take a pause, please! Even if it's only for a day...

And instead, let's bask in the moment, proudly fly those Stars and Stripes in our minds, step up and be We: United States citizens who remember and are proud of the ideals of our country--freedom for all, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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