Far from unpatriotic, the twin reactions from the right regarding Obama’s Olympic snub and Nobel win reveal a common thread
First, Democrats oppose the policies of a Republican president and deem their dissent “patriotic,” then go too far and do things like actually undermining a war effort and putting soldiers’ lives in jeopardy (think Nancy Pelosi and the Turkish Genocide resolution during the Iraq War), causing Republicans to characterize them as “unpatriotic” for doing so.
Then, a fresh-faced Democrat wins the presidency and the “DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC” bumper stickers suddenly vanish from Toyota Priuses and Volvo diesel wagons on America’s roadways. And when that fresh-faced president first fails in his attempt to seduce the International Olympic Committee with his soaring rhetoric and star power, and then receives the Nobel Peace Prize despite lacking any substantive accomplishments to speak of, Republicans first praise the IOC for seeing through the spectre of celebrity, then chide the Nobel committee for being unable to do so, and are characterized by the Democrats as being “unpatriotic” for doing any of it.
Two weeks ago, the IOC sent the president and his wife packing. One week ago, the Nobel Prize Committee cemented the president’s spot alongside Al Gore, Jimmy “Dhimmi” Carter and Yasser Arafat as a Nobel Prize winner. On several occasions over these past two weeks, after strenuously voicing my opinion at America’s Right and in other forums–including in the classrooms at school–I’ve found the reaction, and the reaction to the reaction, to be extremely interesting. More than once, in fact, I was even asked why I had to be so gosh-darned unpatriotic.
You just hate the president, they say, and you’ll criticize anything he does, just because he does it. How quickly they forget the venomous hatred of former President George W. Bush.
And, the truth is, I don’t hate the president. Not by a long shot. Sure, I think he’s wrong on so many issues and, sure, I firmly believe that he is actively working to bring an end to American exceptionalism, but as far as actual hatred and malice toward the man himself is concerned, I plead “not guilty.” Or, at the very least, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination (so long as I still have it and my other constitutional rights).
In fact, I’d venture a guess that most of the people who felt a little twinge of schadenfreude when the IOC announced that Chicago was the first city eliminated from consideration for the 2016 Games, as well as the vast majority of the people who awoke last week to discover, incredulously enough, that Barack Obama won the Nobel Prize for Peace, certainly do not harbor a personal hatred toward the president. Instead, I think that the reactions from those of us on the right following the Olympic loss and Nobel win is particularly telling in that they highlight a common thread among the people who are currently concerned for and who will save this country: self-reliance.
We stand on our own two feet. We don’t want help. We like to earn what we get and keep what we earn. And we don’t feel comfortable taking credit for something we do not deserve. That’s why we poke fun of Barack Obama’s TelePrompTer. That’s why we don’t want government-run health care. That’s why we sit and wait for the next news conference to celebrate the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s fanstatic rise above 10,000 points. And that’s why we laughed when the IOC told the president, his wife, and their hometown to pound sand. And that’s why we shook our head in disgust when the Nobel Prize Committee heralded someone who simply did not deserve the praise.
I cannot speak for anybody else, but my delight at the news from Copenhagen a few weeks ago was surprising, even and especially to myself. It was a turning point in the public persona of President Obama — the world had called him out and had seen through the soaring rhetoric and cult of personality. As a man who doesn’t ever feel comfortable dropping names and certainly doesn’t feel right heaping praise onto himself, I was happy to see the President and First Lady rebuffed following speeches more about themselves than Chicago and the Olympic Games.
See, just like we like to stand on our own two feet, we like other people who like to stand on their own two feet, too. We celebrate the success of people who achieve and are rewarded with what they deserve. In fact, the entire free market system is based upon just that premise — that people have the freedom to earn endlessly if they so choose, and that the result of such freedom in turn elevates others to do the same.
Therefore, when the president traveled to Copenhagen and made it all about himself, petitioning the IOC not by arguing the merits of America but rather by stating that he would like the opportunity to welcome the world to his neighborhood, we watched the committee tell the president that the Olympic Games were bigger than his inflated ego, and that he had not earned the right to petition the committee on his–rather than America’s–behalf. And we subsequently laughed at the result.
Similarly, when the Nobel Prize Committee bequeathed upon the president the shrinking honor of Nobel Prize winner, a prize which he was awarded on the potential promise of perceived performance rather than actual achievement, we shook our heads and got more than a little angry, and all for the same reason. Simply put, the award and accompanying recognition was not earned, and the prize committee essentially stated that Barack Obama may not be bigger than the Olympic Games, but he certainly is bigger than the integrity of a formerly prestigious honor.
At the end of the day, the conservatives and Republicans who lauded the IOC’s decision and lamented that of the Nobel Prize Committee were in fact showing immense patriotism. After all, it has been free enterprise which has made this nation what she is today. It has been a system which recognizes and rewards hard work which has allowed America to move from a mere experiment to the world’s greatest superpower in the matter of generations instead of centuries.
Now, we have a president who looks down on individual achievement, and a political party in control which believes it duty-bound to declare war on success and prosperity. The reaction among those on the right with regard to the snubbing and subsequent celebration of Barack Obama from overseas in entirely in harmony with the ideas and ideals upon which America was founded — that harvest is the fruit of labor, victory a result of sacrifice, and recognition a reward for achievement.