Oh say can you see our country going down the crapper
It seems that the right-wing nutosphere is having a collective aneurysm over Barack Obama's failure to place his hand over his heart during the singing of the National Anthem during an Iowa campaign event. Apparently this is not just tradition; the U.S. Code actually specifies what you are supposed to do with your hands while someone sings or plays the world's best known song about the War of 1812. I'm not sure what happens to you if you fail to place your hand over your heart. Perhaps the junior senator from Illinois needs to hire an attorney.
Of course this is not the first time the nation's conservative thought police have issued Obama a citation. He acknowledged that he stopped wearing an American flag pin -- de rigueur for politicians since the 9/11 attacks -- because he essentially thought that it was a cheap symbol.
If Obama's fellow Democratic candidates have any sense of decency, they will rush to his defense. (Assuming they have not already.) No one, not even a candidate for office, need prove their patriotism. Quite frankly, what we Americans commonly consider to be acts of patriotism are really acts of nationalism, with all that implies. Why must children recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in school? (Why should a nation that regards itself as "the land of the free" even have something called the Pledge of Allegiance?) Why must we sing the National Anthem before every single sporting event? It's indoctrination, pure and simple.
I have to say that as a candidate for president, the pragmatic thing for him to do would be to make damn sure he puts his hand on his heart, and maybe even sings along, when someone sings the Star Spangled Banner. But good for him for getting rid of the flag pin. I'm sick of politicians exploiting and thus cheapening true patriotism. It's heartening that a candidate for president has the balls to say so, too.