Patriotism has become a political issue over the past few years, perhaps more than any time since the Vietnam War. However, to show where we were in July 2019, you could actually make the argument that the United Arab Emirates was more unambiguously pro-American than we were.
We saw sneakers get recalled because Colin Kaepernick and Nike thought the Betsy Ross flag might offend people.
We saw three major broadcast networks decline to show President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” display in Washington D.C., probably because an expanded fireworks display and the presence of military equipment might offend people.
We even saw The Washington Post run an Op-Ed where the author talked about how awful fireworks are because they can maim people who use them incorrectly, they scare dogs and they’re associated with President Trump this year because of that whole “Salute to America” thing.
Happy birthday, America!
Now, take a look at the world’s tallest building, located in Dubai, and ask yourself if you saw this much-unabashed love for the flag in the country where it’s from:
The world’s tallest building @BurjKhalifa in #Dubai lit up in American ?? flag on #IndependeceDay
Happy #4thofJuly to all our American friends, love, from the #UAE ??@USAinUAE @UAEEmbassyUS pic.twitter.com/CRKxCrijJE
— حسن سجواني ?? Hassan Sajwani (@HSajwanization) July 4, 2019
The country’s “leaders offered their congratulations to US President Donald Trump in honour of the occasion,” according to The National in the United Arab Emirates.
“UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, all sent messages of support from the Emirates to the United States.”
This typically wouldn’t be a story. I mean, thanks for the birthday wishes, Emirates, now please stop cracking down on people who bring perfectly legal prescription medications into your country and that kind of thing.
It feels weird, however, when the UAE feels less ambiguous about our national holiday than we do.
I’m not just talking about the “Salute to America.” Trump didn’t speak a political word during a speech, which everyone seemed to fear would be political. If you feel the event was political, fine. I doubt there’s any way I can convince you that this wasn’t just some very expensive excuse for a Trump rally.
Trump didn’t make a single political statement during his speech today and instead honored every branch of the military.
CBS, ABC, NBC, and MSNBC all refused to air it.
They hate Trump more than they love this country. pic.twitter.com/UkKKFnv8w6
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) July 4, 2019
Then again, it’s also quite likely you didn’t actually see the event that you’re so busy condemning.
That’s not because you were #Resistancing, but there was also a dearth of ways to see it. ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t cover the event. Neither did MSNBC.
In fact, when CBS News did a writeup about ways you could watch the “Salute to America,” this was their opening paragraph:
“Despite widespread criticism over the distracting from the holiday, President Donald Trump is set to honor America’s armed forces with music, military demonstrations, flyovers and much more in the administration’s ‘Salute to America’ on July 4th.
“The president’s critics have chastised him for bringing costly military equipment reminiscent of more dictatorial regimes and for placing himself center stage in the typically nonpartisan celebration.”
I understand pure journalistic objectivity is more of an abstraction than an achievable goal. That being said, if you’re working for an outfit like CBS, you ought to at least attempt it on occasion.
Accusing the president of being a dictator and passing on the most overheated rhetoric of his opponents as if it were gospel isn’t quite the ethical approach they’re supposed to teach you in journalism school.
We’re in an era where only 22 percent of Democrats were willing to tell Gallup they were “extremely proud” to be American. (Republicans were at 76 percent, and Gallup noted that “[e]ven when Barack Obama was in office, Republicans’ extreme pride never fell below 68%.”)
It’s an era where a former athlete can tell an athletic shoe company that the Betsy Ross flag is tainted by associations with slavery — and not only will the company believe him, they’ll recall a sneaker over it.
Yes, we are in an era where American pride and history are profoundly unfashionable. Yet, the rest of the world feels a lot less ambiguous than we do about it.
The left scoffs at displaying our military might; our allies realize it keeps them safe. The left scoffs at the flag and what it represents; the world views it as a symbol of freedom and strength.
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