Obama and American flag pins

October 5, 2007 at 4:11 pm 1 comment

When you and I meet people, I’m guessing one of the last things we notice — if we bother to notice at all — is whether or not they’re wearing an American flag pin.

These pins tend to be small, and they’re not accompanied by eye-catching slogans. Yet Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic candidate for president in 2008, is making an issue over the pins — not over his wearing one, but over his decision against wearing one.

“The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin,” Obama told an Iowa news station. “Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.”

Perhaps the senator was anticipating attacks from pro-Bush, pro-Iraq War Fox News, whose anchors have been criticized for wearing flag pins. Perhaps he was speaking out against the armchair patriots whose enthusiasm for this country stops at enlisting in the armed services, or at preventing current servicemembers from becoming casualties of unnecessary wars.

It seems silly for Obama to spark debate over such a tiny object, and yet the flag pin does symbolize one more step in all of our politicians taking the same predictable stances.

Obama has shown a desire to separate himself from the mainstream with reasoned positions, as evidenced here and in addressing a question of how he would respond to a 9/11-style attack in the future during a Democratic debate. “Obama, who was the first candidate to respond to the question, is widely thought to have flubbed his answer since, unlike rivals Sen Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, he focussed on an emergency response rather than a retaliatory attack,” the Baltimore Sun reported. Once again, however, Obama backed up his unconventional position with reasoning: “he noted that he would order a response to a terrorist attack in four steps: first, an emergency response to aid victims of the attack; second, an effort to identify and stop any other imminent attacks; third, an assessment to find out who was responsible for the attacks; and, finally, a retaliatory response.”

How appropriately American it would be for a candidate to renounce the simple sloganism of US flag pins and win a presidential election.


Entry filed under: Barack Obama, Democrats, President 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sandra  |  October 8, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I agree with you. It is kind of sad that a lot of people point the finger at right wing media for making a big deal out of it when it was Obama who sparked the debate about it. It is not about NOT wearing one. It is about politicising NOT wearing one like Obama did.

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