Thursday, August 24, 2006

When did liberal become a bad word and patriotism become republican?

I've been labeled "liberal" which normally I would say is correct, but when it's muttered by a right winged Republican who thinks I graduated from Berkeley (which I didn't), believes Reagan was the best President (obviously delusional), and voted for Bush twice (I repeat...obviously delusional); then it takes on a whole different meaning. Doesn't liberal mean progressive, and broad-minded? When did the word liberal become a bad word?

I'm guilty of the latter - associating patriotism with being a Republican*.

Background: Uwe and I have this beach towel we got at a gift shop some years ago when we were on vacation that looks like the United States flag with star and stripes, and is a bold red, white and blue. We needed a towel and rather than buying one that had something cheesy on it, Uwe picked the US flag towel which he found funny. (One of the things I love about him is that he finds humor in the little things.)

We bring this towel with us whenever we go to outdoor events, to sit on. At the 2006 Coachella Valley Music Festival this past April I was embarrassed to be seen with this towel. I felt like people were looking at us like we were flag waving, patriotic, Republican, pro-war nuts. I mentioned this to Uwe and said we needed to get a new towel because people were getting the wrong idea by our towel. He responded, "No way. People don't think that. Look at Woodstock! The flag was everywhere." True, but I still feel that carrying a flag around now has a different connotation than it did back then. When did patriotism become Republican?

*Disclaimer: My dad is a Republican. I love my dad, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with his political views. Strangely enough when we talk politics now we agree on many points....including the war, global warming, and how much Bush sucks. =)

1 comment:

Trailhead said...

The only non-libs in my family are my two brothers, both of whom have swung to the left in the last two years. One brother is more of an independent, but the other is career military, and a dyed-in-the-wool right winger. He voted for John Kerry because he thinks George Bush is an incompetent chickenhawk. It's been a lot easier to talk politics with these guys in the last couple of years!

I think your flag anecdote is so symbolic of the polarization that's occurred lately. The towel was bought with light, slightly ironic intentions, but everyone assumes you're a nutjob.