Obama and Patriotism

Maybe since we were such fans of the John Adams miniseries on HBO earlier this year, but take a look at this portion of Obama’s recent speech on Patriotism from Monday in Missouri.

My concerns here aren’t simply personal, however. After all, throughout our history, men and women of far greater stature and significance than me have had their patriotism questioned in the midst of momentous debates. Thomas Jefferson was accused by the Federalists of selling out to the French. The anti-Federalists were just as convinced that John Adams was in cahoots with the British and intent on restoring monarchal rule.

Nicely done. And bonus! These issues were also portrayed in the show (how nice to learn history from the TV).

Obama continues:

Likewise, even our wisest Presidents have sought to justify questionable policies on the basis of patriotism. Adams’ Alien and Sedition Act, Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese Americans – all were defended as expressions of patriotism, and those who disagreed with their policies were sometimes labeled as unpatriotic.

In other words, the use of patriotism as a political sword or a political shield is as old as the Republic.

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