About Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama and “patriotism.”
I don’t think it matters who is and isn’t patriotic, because the word is now so empty that anyone and everyone can be patriotic and/or not-patriotic at the same time.
However, paying close attention to the words and actions of people who laud themselves for their patriotism and others for their lack thereof, it seems like if “patriotism” does actually mean anything, one has to do one or more of these three things to be a “patriot.”
1. Adhere to some ideological cult, generally egalitarian and/or libertarian.
2. Agree with the foreign policy du jour of whatever special interests can buy their way into controlling the military-diplomatic structures of the $4 trillion government on the Potomac River.
3. Draw a paycheck for at least a few years of one’s life from that government’s armed forces.
Since we’re supposed to be a credal nation, the way to display patriotism toward a credal nation is to agree with the creed. The way to commit treason against it is to disagree with the creed. Politics in a credal nation is merely a matter of arguing over whose creed gets to be the creed.
Also, Obama’s religion is cross-wired into this useless debate. I think Obama is basically secular, but he displays a lot of sympathy toward black-liberal Christianity and all but the most militant varieties of Islam. That is a function of the fact that his mother and her own parents were far left Christians, his own first job involved Chicago community activism and dealing with black preachers of the south side of Chicago, Jeremiah Wright among many others, and his childhood involved being close to the Indonesian Islamic community.