Friday, October 09, 2009

Republicans Unpatriotic?

When President Obama went to Copenhagen and failed to get the Olympics for Chicago, some Republicans cheered, especially the extremist nut cases -- they who are usually so patriotic, even jingoistic.

When President Obama won the Nobel Prize for Peace, some of the same crowd deplored this award to an American.

Let us admit that the Nobel Peace Prize is something of a Rorschach test that evokes our own predilections and preferences. What about Henry Kissinger? Yasir Arafat? Norwegians have their own as well. 

They key to this bizarre behavior is not to be found in reason and logic, but apparently is grounded in the premise that if Obama is involved, it must be wrong, even if the country must be disparaged in the process.

Strange, but these are some of the same people who think that passing a health care bill in the reconciliation maneuver would be  awful now, but was OK when President Bush the Younger used it to pass his atrocious tax bill to benefit multimillionaires and billionaires.

We must look to St. Paul, Augustine, Calvin, and Reinhold Niebuhr for the clue to this behavior and ours as well, i. e., the natural tendency of individuals and groups (the nation state being the supreme  example) to prefer  self-interest--affirmed, encouraged, and sometimes magnified by choice -- though at times moderated by concern and compassion for others, more so in individuals and small groups than by larger collectives. (Long sentence but the details get a little messy and complicated, full of ambiguities, contradictions, and the like.)

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