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What Obama's Missing Flag Pin Really Means

Sen. Barack Obama:

"I said, you know what, I probably haven't worn a flag pin in a very long time. After a while I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic."

"My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who serve. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and ideals. That's what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals."

Exactly -- it's not what you say, it's what you do. A simple message, no? But there is more, much more, to it than this.

But let me digress for a moment.

Mark has a round-up of the reaction from the other side. It illustrates the old saying: It's the hit dog that howls.

That said, Obama's declaration got me thinking about how there are only two REAL parties in this election cycle:

  • Flag Party
  • Constitution Party
One party pledges allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. The other party pledges to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

One party promises rule by emotion (fear), spectacle and symbolism. The other party promises to rule by law, using the blueprint laid out by the founding fathers, to protect the rights and liberties of individual Americans -- whether they're in the majority or not.

One party pushes new, liberty-restricting amendments -- like the anti-flag burning amendment. The other party promotes the amendments we already have -- like the First Amendment -- amendments that have stood the test of time, history and our culture.

But wait -- there's even more:

The real difference between these two de facto parties is this: Members of the Flag Party know what's at stake. But Constitution Party members? Not so much. They don't even know they're members of their own party! They have no demonstrated ability to frame the nature of their philosophy, or even the nature of the opposing arguments in the current election cycle -- security vs. liberty, words vs. actions, symbols vs. reality.

Even Obama, in yesterday's comments, didn't (or couldn't) lay out the boundaries of this battlefield -- although he did come close.


One side likes to recite the pledge. The other side should recite the oath of office. (It has the added benefit of painting a picture of the candidate-as-winner-being-sworn-in).

One side has a song. The other side has...hmm. Can we get some help here?

One side has a lapel pin. The other side has a lapel pin.

One side has Betsy Ross, a semi-fictional character (and a girl!). The other side has Patrick Henry, an historical figure (and a fiery patriot).

And so on.

They have a song, we have a theme, unfortunately, ours doesn't rhyme.

Ara, we don't have Kindergarteners pledge allegiance to the Constitution, but a symbol (the flag) and the "Republic," not the ideas and principles that make it possible.

Their pledge is to the nation itself, love it or leave it -- go team! If that isn't nationalism indoctrination, I don't know what is. It's a hard nut to crack since it's hardwired into our children so early.

It may not rhyme either, but like a simple prayer, it has the meter of any good free-style verse. It sticks in your head and as a child this is all you need to know to be a "good" American.

How many kids graduating from high school have actually read the whole Constitution in one sitting all the way through? How many can number off the Bill of Rights, let alone all the Amendments?

But they all can still recite the Pledge, and that's all they need to know as far as they're concerned.

When John McCain is ambivalent about this being a Christian Nation when the edict against such nonsense appears not once, but twice in the Constitution, it's no wonder that officers in the Army come down on the disbelievers in their midst. That phrase "Under God" really twists minds.

A couple of thoughts.

One of my boys belongs to the local Cub Scout pack and they do the pledge every month at the meeting. I always say it too, but I've been substituting the word "constitution" for the word "flag" for some time now. It doesn't roll off the tongue, but how many kids already mangle the words to the flag-pledge as it stands now? A lot.

As for teaching the actual text or content of the constitution, well, what's stopping us from pressing for that?

P.S. I don't mind the "under God" clause, even though it is a late addition to the pledge. But I draw the line at Jesus.

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