July 07, 2004

Michael Moore's Patriotic Challenge

I just came across a Michael Moore piece about patriotism in the LA Times. In it, he takes an important step in the rehabilitation of so much of the Left. He talks about how he stopped flying the flag, how he stopped singing the national anthem due to Vietnam. Moore says he was wrong to do those things, wrong to cede the field of battle for the heart and soul of patriotic America and though I despise Moore's positions and the horrible place that he would lead this country to, he's making an important statement.

The problem is that Moore is way out in the fever swamps of the Left who literally hate America. He's raised the flag of patriotism out there and the more who answer that call, the better but it isn't enough. He wants us to ask questions in regard to this war. That's fine as far as it goes but what good do questions do us if they are as dishonest as Fahrenheit 911? If you shape a scurrilous accusation in the form of a question, you haven't accomplished much. Asking the political equivalent of "when did you stop beating your wife?" doesn't help the troops any more than parading a sign accusing the administration of the political equivalent of wife beating.

Questions, if they are to serve this country and the people who defend us all, have to not only be pointed, they have to permit answers that will change and improve administration policy. Moore, with his fanciful accusations of pipelines that don't materialize and conspiracy theories that simply don't stand up to examination, fails in the difficult challenge of being part of the loyal opposition. He's done a good first step in healing the unpatriotic Left of its delusions but if he stops here, he's done little of practical import.

The Bush administration is not perfect. It needs vigorous challenge to improve its performance. But the challenge has to come from a recognition that there is genuine patriotism on the Right as well as the Left. Through that shared bond of patriotism criticism may be safely transmitted and accepted. Moore is not ready to accept that yet.

I hope he grows up enough to figure that out, and soon.

Posted by TMLutas at July 7, 2004 07:35 AM