A recent discussion I heard on the radio was yet another version of one I've been hearing over and over since this spring: Is Barack Obama patriotic?
I listen to the talking heads try to give advice on what he should do to appease the growling flag pin huggers. One of my journalist friends even started a column with the dictionary definition of the word.
But it occurred to me while I was listening to Tavis Smiley's radio show that everybody may be missing the point. It's not a question of whether or not Sen. Obama loves his country. The question is whether he loves their country enough to not "turn it over" to blacks.
Maybe I read too much (my ex-husband always said I over-analyzed stuff) but there's a current current of thought that Obama's election will open the candy store for blacks in this country. That he will favor the whims of all black folks across the country and repress whites to get back at them for the slave trade. He'll order reparations and make affirmative action the rule in hiring and admissions and anything else he (or his people) can think of.
So that made me wonder whether patriotism is a code word for "can we trust you not to be a 'black president'" and force whites to actually live by the laws of equality and justice even when they're afraid they'll "suffer" for their actions.
While I have no personal history with the man, I believe Sen. Obama to be an honorable and fair man. He's smart enough to not even imagine the historically paranoid nightmare of a Bizarro-world kind of slavery where blacks are the slave holders. First of all, we don't want to be in charge like that. We just want to be in charge of our own lives and comfortably enjoy the rights our forefathers and mothers fought for.
If seeing him wear a flag pin calms fear of a black planet, so be it. If giving a speech on patriotism confirms his thought processes on the subject, go hard, Barack, and go home. Like Rick Nelson said, you can't please everyone so you gotta please yourself. Same with proving patriotism.
Here's another code word: faith, as in "faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
I have faith that Sen. Obama will lead this country with a steady hand and great discernment. We don't deserve him, but thank God we have this chance to change and bring peace to this country.