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Susan Estrich
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Love of Country


As a kid, the Fourth of July was always my favorite holiday: the bike parade with the crepe paper so carefully threaded through the spokes, the afternoon of running and jumping contests where everyone won something, and, of course, the highlight, getting the old ratty beach blanket from my father's trunk and watching the fireworks.

I didn't know much about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but I loved that red, white and blue finale. Who couldn't love America?

Well, quite a few people, as it turns out. When I watch them chant on television and burn our leaders in effigy, my outrage is almost matched by my disbelief. People living lives of poverty and illness, mothers sending their children on rickety boats — we are not doing this to them. Our country would never do this. Save our lives so we can raise our children to hate you? That cannot be right.

Our country is not perfect, but it is nowhere near the disaster the latest round of Republican would-be presidents would have you believe. I worked for the last guy who thought you could win with a strong and positive campaign, and he ended up a gifted professor, among other things, but not president. So as many times as President Reagan used to recite the commandment about Republicans attacking each other, know that they will. And be certain, before it's over, candidates on both sides will be accusing each other of attacking their patriotism, even as they mouth the words "we all love America."

If we all love America so much — and I believe, you have to believe, that most Americans do — then how about our candidates show it in this campaign? The First Amendment protects the right of citizens to say almost anything they want about our country, but it doesn't condone such attacks.

It is only that the alternative of government control of free expression is so much worse, a point that any random five minutes of the evening news would confirm.

It's all just rhetoric, some of my friends say, part of the language of politics, the "red meat" that gets the crowd going. But in the years I've been doing this, the red meat has turned almost entirely negative — it's people shouting "no," with "yes, we can" an almost nostalgic memory.

The number of candidates only increases the risk of an ugly American campaign, in which those who do not love our country will find plenty of tinder for their fires. After all, with so many candidates that I've stopped counting, how do you stand out? Say something nice about one of your opponents? No. Say something positive and unifying? No. Go after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton? Sure, but that's already started to sound old.

It is easy to blur the line between criticizing our leaders and criticizing our country, between recognizing all of the important challenges we face and providing fodder for those who would damn our country. And there is no easier attack line, when you're on the defense, than accusing the other person of challenging your patriotism so that everyone's patriotism is tainted.

But this seems an especially important year for the crowd of candidates to stay away from attacks on patriotism. We have been through tough times. No one in a position of leadership can fairly claim to be totally free of responsibility. Things went wrong. But we are still the greatest country on the face of the Earth, and if we — and our candidates — don't shout that from the rafters, the haters surely will not.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



10 Comments | Post Comment
Estrich says

1 "I didn't know much about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights" Clearly that remains the case law degree, practicing Attorney or not. Estrich's columns routinely display an ignorance of the Constitution and Bill or Rights rivalled only by the present liberal majority on SCOTUS.

2. "Who couldn't love America?" Barack and Michelle Obama. All progressives, liberals and Democrats as is proven day in day out.

3. "Our country is not perfect" but it is nowhere near the racist, homophobic, misogynistic, politically incorrect, intolerant, imperialistic, hell hole that Estrich, the Obamas, the progressives and the left paint it to be 364 days of the year.

4." those who would damn our country" Start first in the Oval Office, then the AG's office, then Obama's old church, then any Democratic Party premises.

5."But we are still the greatest country on the face of the Earth" despite the efforts of the Obamas and those that put Obama in power to turn America into a third world beggar nation like Greece.

Comment: #1
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Jul 2, 2015 3:43 PM
Those who don't like America can leave.
Those who don't like it and want to fundamentally transform it can leave.
And be quick about it.

As to candidates, the more the merrier! Let the people have a choice and not be force-fed the choice of the insiders.

Comment: #2
Posted by: pb1222
Thu Jul 2, 2015 5:53 PM

LOL. Reading about a Liberal complaining about others hating the USA is like reading about Satan complaining about people doing bad things. Just funny as heck.

Comment: #3
Posted by: SusansMirror
Thu Jul 2, 2015 8:44 PM
Conservatives love America, they love sending its soldiers to useless wars,they love deficit spending,they love giving tax breaks to companies who don't pay any taxes anyway,Boeing, GE,pick one,they love waving the Stars and Bars and claiming it has nothing to do with slavery,they love religion except today (see Bozell) when their Pope came out and told them what hypocrits they are,they love small government unless "their house" is in a hurricane,they love for government to get out of your life unless the NSA needs to collect all your useless phone calls,Patriot Act.Conservative love is all about hypocrisy,phoney patriotism,flag waving, and marching off to get sombody elses kids ass shot off not their kid,see George W. Bush!
Comment: #4
Thu Jul 2, 2015 9:39 PM

Spoken like the truly ignorant, uninformed, leftist indoctrinated tool and "useful idiot" that he clearly is.

With idiots like Kelley able to vote (probably numerous times in each electoral race) a destitute third world barrio America with no foreign influence or hegemony, with a majority population of useless indolent dole seeking, out of work, no intention of working, hand out seeking, tax credit accepting, parasitic non English speaking immigrants, and wellfare kings and queens and a nuclear Iran, a rampant Islamic caliphate, and a dominant Russia, is just around the corner, if not mostly already here.

That's the nihilist progressive/Democratic Party dream, which thanks to those who put Obama in power is now within their America hating grasp.

A universe away from the true American dream.

God bless America and borrowing from Obama's Rev Wright, God damn the America haters that live amongst us and who have been given power by their fellow travelers: their chickens will surely come home to roost.

Happy destitution ! They will soon run out of other people's money.
Comment: #5
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Jul 3, 2015 7:23 AM
Re: joseph wright

Is funny all of a sudden Constitutional Conservatives hate the Constitution for working just as it was designed to work. Reagan supported a ban on assault weapons, Scalia ruled that it is constitutional, so remind me again how this is about Obama, freedom, & the second amendment.
As to your other concerns, no worries. There's still lots of other countries you can go that oppress homosexuals, provided you don't mind a lot of Blacks & Muslims:) Maybe should remember 'religious freedom' doesn't mean your freedom should cost others their freedom. And, even if 'the' conf flag comes down in SC & throughout the country, the republican conservatives will still honor their tradition of keeping taxes high on poor & low on wealthy; keeping wages low & stealing from pension plan; privatizing & stealing from the common wealth, and denying health insurance to as many as possible. And must remember to congratulate Republican presidential candidates for giving back money received from Council of Conservative Citizens & other white supremacist organizations ~just as soon as they got caught taking it. One thing for sure Conservative party have plenty of room for racists, bible thumpers, pedophiles, homophobes, science deniers, chicken hawks, and Obama blamers. For they say if it weren't for Obama being black, all the exposure of racism wouldn't have happened. Gays getting married doesn't affect religious freedom; burning black churches and making a slaughterhouse out of another, does.

And remember all you disgruntled American 'patriots', as cartoonist Joe Heller remind us, July 4, 1776 started with it's own Take Down That Flag campaign. And they didn't keep the 'jack' in the corner to appease those Americans who didn't want to separate completely.
Comment: #6
Posted by: steveM
Fri Jul 3, 2015 1:51 PM

You speak much truth, but the fear and denial is strong on this site:)
Remember when the 'voice of Conservatism', Rush Limbaugh said he'd leave America & move to Costa Rica if Obamacare passed:))
Comment: #7
Posted by: steveM
Fri Jul 3, 2015 2:04 PM
Re: steveM

Hey crazy steveM ! What's up? Bored? No children or animals to molest today? Keep taking the meds!

Just remember what 4th July is about.

Its about:

1. Taxation without representation. Taxation now is all about forced wealth redistribution from the productive to the parasites like you.

2. Religious Freedom. The left is using tools like you to attack religious freedom.

3. Unjust laws. The Bill of Rights ( the first ten Amendments) were not passed so that some liberal asshole judge could invent rights within it.

4. It was about the right to bear arms. We are the militia. The reason we need to bear arms is because of the tyranny of Government. And this present Government is all about tyranny.

5. Seizure of Property. Under this administration it is fine to seize property for the so called common good. That is communism.

Oh and a word of thanks is due from you to people like me for providing you with the living you vote for.
Comment: #8
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Jul 3, 2015 3:09 PM
Comment: #9
Posted by: steveM
Fri Jul 3, 2015 9:22 PM
Re: joseph wright,

I wasn't bored until I read your reply:)
Me, I'm as happy with some bread & butter as I am with a sumptuous meal and I don't eat animals but believe guns are for hunting and protecting and all else is gun nonsense spewed by venomous Wayne La Pierre and spouted by tools like you. Speaking of nonsense, some class three SOT seven FFL holders have their own thoughts;) and NRA used to agree:
"I don't believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses." NRA President Karl Frederick 1934.
That was before the NRA worked for the gun and ammo corporations. Wayne La Pierre..he built that myth about the storm troopers at the door.
Remember joseph, no one trying to ban gun, but then you gun nuts are all or none, day or night, black or white..well white.
And lol, you can't regulate a militia without regulation, but I hear you and know you. Conservatives want non regulated militias and well regulated vagina$ and blacks, and homOsexuals, and Muslims, and...
Conservatives also say the problem in America is they don't teach Christianity in the schools. The real problem is Christianity isn't taught in church.

Remember, joseph wright, We The People, means ALL the people...and there's nothing more American than a 'first
daughter' born on the 4th of July. Happy Birthday Malia Obama.

Comment: #10
Posted by: steveM
Fri Jul 3, 2015 9:39 PM
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