Narcissism impersonating patriotism

Our estimable reader Stanton Brown sent me these comments (which I have shortened) and asked for my response. Mr. Brown writes:
“I have maintained that Democrats have an intense hatred for Bush (specifically) and the GOP in general. In fact, I think that this hatred (and the related belief that the GOP is evil) is the glue which holds their party together. While I think that there are genuine hate-America types in the Democratic party, I think it is wrong to question the patriotism of most Democrats. Sure, many probably agree with Hillary Clinton that America, as it is today, is not worthy of complete allegiance. They join her in pledging allegiance to what they hope America will become. Not very patriotic, but not completely traitorous. The majority, however, do love America.
So I think those who question their patriotism are asking the wrong question. The better question would be to focus on their priorities. The real issue is one of primary allegiance. . . . The triumph of the Democratic party and the defeat of Republicans is more important than supporting the nation. It isn’t that they don’t love America. They simply love their party more and put the interests of their party first – as the higher priority. They don’t oppose war per se, only war led by a Republican president. They aren’t rooting for military defeat and economic problems because they hate America. They are rooting for military defeat and economic problems because they hate the GOP and the GOP has the White House.”
I agree with Mr.Brown that, of those Democrats who are rooting for a military set-back, more are rooting for it out of hatred of President Bush and his party than out of conscious hatred of America. However, one must ask, what is the source of such an intense hatred for Bush and Republicans. It can’t just be free-floating partisanship of the kind that makes Redskins fans hate the Dallas Cowboys. It must have ideological underpinnings. And what is the ideology? I think those who hate Bush and the Republicans to the degree descirbed by Mr. Brown (as opposed to just strongly disagreeing with them) hold most if not all of the following views to some extent: (1) the economic system of the United States is immoral, (2) the United States has been a source of more evil than good in world affairs, (3) the United States does not now, and never has, come close to living up the values it espouses as a nation, and (4) most Americans are woefully unsophisticated materialist boobs.
Can someone love America if he or she dislikes, or is deeply ambivalent about, its economic system, its accomplishments, the majority of its citizens, and its impact on the rest of world? Not, it seems to me, in any strong sense, if that person cannot at least point to a time when America was not a proper subject of such hostile sentiments. Loving your own vision, as Hillary Clinton does, is not the same thing as loving your country. It is narcissism, not patriotism.

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