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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Weekly Muse
My humble opinion on current events

September 30, 2001

Kingsolver's twisted definition of patriotism

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver recently wrote a piece for the San Francisco Chronicle in which she expresses alarm about her kindergarten-age child wearing red, white and blue to school the next day. "Why not wear black, then? Why the colors of the flag, what does that mean?" 

Why such a negative reaction? She explains:

Patriotism threatens free speech with death. It is infuriated by thoughtful hesitation, constructive criticism of our leaders and pleas for peace. It despises people of foreign birth who've spent years learning our culture and contributing their talents to our economy. It has specifically blamed homosexuals, feminists and the American Civil Liberties Union. In other words, the American flag stands for intimidation, censorship, violence, bigotry, sexism, and shoving the Constitution through a paper shredder? Who are we calling terrorists here?

The sheer stupidity of this statement boggles the mind. Is Ms. Kingsolver incapable of seeing the difference between, on one hand, the vast majority of Americans, who are peaceful, tolerant, and freedom-loving, who love America and everything it stands for, and on the other hand, the tiny, miniscule segment of America that uses the American flag as a shield behind which to conceal its bigotry and hatred? 

Apparently, to Ms. Kingsolver, patriotism is evil. It's bad, something to be discouraged, because of its misuse by a few people. Never mind the millions and millions who wave the flag to show love and support for their country and harbor ill will toward no one.

For Ms. Kingsolver, dissent is the ultimate patriotism. "I would like to stand up for my flag and wave it over a few things I believe in, including but not limited to the protection of dissenting points of view."

First of all, no one is stopping her from waving the flag. In fact, all Americans are encouraged to do just that. I also wonder if she was so enamored with dissent while President Clinton was in office. After all, if dissent is the ultimate form of patriotism, then all those supposed "Clinton-haters" who criticized Clinton's lying and law-breaking are heroes. 

I await Ms. Kingsolver's next essay praising Ken Starr and Rush Limbaugh for their patriotic duty to America.  

Cuban spy?

We now know a little more about one Ana Montes, a top Defense Department intelligence analyst arrested and accused of spying for Cuba. Highly respected by most of her peers, liked by friends and neighbors, she seemed an unlikely agent for Communist Cuba. 

"It's a huge puzzle," said a former senior CIA officer. "She was considered a well-respected analyst. She had a superb record."

"Friends described Montes, who is 44 and single, as a loyal companion, a doting aunt, well-educated and avid traveler," reported the New York Times. "She was warm and funny, friends said, and seemed apolitical, even back in college."

I'm no intelligence expert, but if I were a head of state, I'd want my spies to be upstanding, exemplary members of the community, to arouse no suspicions about my spy's true activities. In other words, they should act much as Montes did. So I don't much care if she is a warm and fuzzy individual. If she is indeed a spy and passed secret, classified material to an enemy country (which is what Cuba is), she should be executed. 

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