John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The left’s patriotism problem

Posted on July 9, 2019
It’s OK to love America, warts and all.

Unless you are a Democrat.

It’s fashionable these days for the leading lights of the left to show their disgust for this country’s history by showing disrespect for this country’s symbols.

Megan Rapinoe, the female soccer star, refused to pay proper homage to our national anthem while representing our nation overseas and then stepped on the flag after an inspiring World Cup victory.

Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback and now adviser to the Nike shoe company, made himself famous by kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and created controversy by attacking Betsy Ross, an abolitionist who stitched together our first flag. No new shoes for you, America.

Michelle Obama famously said that she never felt proud to be an American until it elected her husband to be president. I assume that feeling was fleeting, especially in the Trump era.

Speaking of President Trump, he shook up official Washington by re-creating our capital city’s Independence Day celebration in his image.

Where the Democrats lack all conviction when it comes to embracing America, Trump is full of passionate intensity.

He seized what had become a hokey, cheesy and moribund PBS event, attended by the friends and family of the political establishment, and transformed it into a spectacle, full of military hardware and flyovers.

Progressives, who don’t care much for the military to begin with, really hated what the president did with the place on July 4. I suppose that’s their right, but the truth remains: The left has a patriotism problem.

If you spend all of your time talking about what is wrong with this country, you never celebrate what is right with it. And that makes you less attractive to the average voter.

In full disclosure, I wasn’t in Washington last week, so I didn’t witness first-hand Trump’s version of Independence Day.

I was in the center of country, in Indiana, with my extended family on Lake Michigan (unsalted, no sharks), where people drink beer, march in small-town parades, and show a traditional and unbridled love for America by eating hot dogs, setting off fireworks and generally enjoying their time off from work.

One morning, I was fishing with my 6-year-old daughter (she caught nine, I caught one) when I overheard one blue-collar dad who was fishing with his kids talk a little bit of politics with a family friend (or sister, I couldn’t tell).

He was lamenting the fact that his home state of Illinois had just made smoking pot legal. “I don’t want my kids exposed to it. People can do whatever they want in their own homes, but when people smoke outside and the kids smell it, I don’t like it.”

Illinois is a mess. It legalized pot and gambling because it needs tax revenue. It has a pension problem, a spending problem, and a demographic problem. People are choosing to leave the state rather than stick around and pay the higher taxes foisted on them by the Democrats that run the government there.

I suppose to the progressive left, the concerns of the average dad don’t amount to much, especially when you are engaged in a great battle to right the historic wrongs of America’s terrible past and to battle Donald Trump’s drive to make America great again.

But to the average parent out there, those who go fishing with their kids and worry about their health and happiness, being a proud American is not something to be conflicted about. You stand for the national anthem, you treat the flag with respect and you love this country, warts and all. And when the Fourth of July holiday is over, you go back to work and do your best to provide for your family.

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