Saturday, July 4, 2009

The 4th From Samuel Johnson

I love the Samuel Johnson dictum that"Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." Conservatives, and the illiterate, love to read that line as a criticism of patriotism, though I've always seen it as an observation on the tendency of scoundrels to wrap themselves in the flag.

It is the fourth of July, and once again, we Americans are wallowing in patriotism. Well, I think, as a people, we're way too patriotic. All of us, including we liberals, are constantly trying to prove how much we love our country, and I think that's why scoundrels do so well in the United States.

While I haven't agreed with everything that president Obama has done, I'm hopeful that he'll do well. Still, on this holiday, I think it's important to remember that we've just got through eight years of scoundrel heaven. The scoundrels appealed to patriotism and brought us one unjustified war and one ill managed war; they sold us on the patriotism of the market place, our American way of doing business, and we have the worst economic crisis since the crash of 1929. It's hard for me to be patriotic when I can't even afford to eat every day. Love of country, as defined by the scoundrels, has brought us a country that's now owned by the oligarchs, while most of us dig in our nails, trying to hold onto the cliff's edge.

No, I'm not damning patriotism, America, or hope for a better future. I am damning the scoundrels. I'm damning our George, Ronald Reagan and their legacy.

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