Some ruminations on this 227th anniversary of American independence:
When I lived in Israel, the demonstrations organized by Peace Now and the left-wing political parties were always filled with Israeli flags, and concluded with the singing of HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem. As much as the demonstrators may have opposed Israeli policies, they understood the importance of showing the rest of the country that they were proud and loyal Israelis.
So why are things so different in the USA?
Why has the right here managed to capture the flag without even a struggle? Why were there more Palestinian flags than American flags at the anti-Iraqi war demonstrations? Why did the left-wing writer Katha Pollitt refuse to let her daughter hang out an American flag after 9/11?
As George Orwell understood, in poltics, symbols do matter– which is why he, as a man of the Left, got so angry when left-wing intellectuals looked with amused contempt on displays of patriotism. I don’t think Ann Coulter and her ilk are as influential as they’re made out to be by Guardian writers, but their “liberal elite versus the rest of us” rhetoric is more successful than it should be. And isn’t part of the reason the Left’s suspicious attitude to flag-waving and other displays of patriotism that come naturally to most Americans on days like today?