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Friday, September 5, 2008

Country First?

Warning: I'm going to knit-pick for a few minutes. But does anyone else question the overuse of the "Country First" theme of the McCain convention? I realize doing so is borderline un-American in some company, but for me it raises some questions.

Sure, I love America. You love America. And 99% of us love America no matter what end of the political spectrum we reside.

But isn't part of loving America the fact that we don't need to put "country first" like good patriotic robots in order to show our love and appreciation?

Don't we actually look down on other governments in history that have preached that mandate from high?

Let's take a few examples. I know John McCain isn't a former Marine, but doesn't that particular group of patriots refer to "Duty, Honor, Country." The order isn't a coincidence. Are Marines less-than-stellar American because they put "country third?"

And then isn't there an American notion of "God, family, and country"? Doesn't that principled trio put "country third" as well?

Finally, doesn't McCain's Republican party generally favor a picture of America that emphasizes the rights and the responsibilities of the individual? "Country first" seems to invoke a collectivization of sorts with which many of us are not always comfortable.

Should people look to their "country first" to escape from poverty?

Should people look to their "country first" to find a job?

Or to get health insurance, perhaps?

Like I said, we all love America. But let's not use silly catch phrases to escape real substance. John McCain and Barack Obama have different ideas about different issues, but I think they're both good Americans.

We love our country and, when appropriate, we should honor it. But let's never come to do it so blindly or robotically. Let's keep America's story unique in that we value the ideas upon which we're built way more than we value even our country itself.

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