“It is the quality of patriotism to be jealous and watchful, to observe all secret machinations, and to see publick dangers at a distance. The true lover of his country is ready to communicate his fears, and to sound the alarm, whenever he perceives the approach of mischief. But he sounds no alarm, when there is no enemy; he never terrifies his countrymen till he is terrified himself. The patriotism, therefore, may be justly doubted of him, who professes to be disturbed by incredibilities…” Samuel Johnson
The stage is covered with American flags, draped and propped and perched everywhere, to the left, to the right and behind the speaker’s dais, which itself is covered with flag bunting and a covey of microphones nearly buried in a spreading nosegay of … flags.
The wall at the rear of the stage is covered by a gigantic “Old Glory” and every participant, from the high and the mighty to the clipboard bearers, coffee servers and floor sweepers wears a flag on his lapel or near her heart. Ubiquitous is the term that comes to mind, sleazy is another, frightening yet another.
Such is the face of American politics, American policy, in the 21st century, lurid, self righteous and jingoistic, the face of rabid, belligerent sanctimony.
The people, the true believers in the audience are waving smaller versions of the national banner in a crazed, grinning, drooling frenzy of nationalistic sentiment, carrying signs, and banners, wearing shirts, hats, and neckties on which the same theme is repeated, ad nauseum projectillum.
All in all, there are more flags in attendance at this rally than swastikas at Hitler’s lovely Nuremberg torch light soirées of the thirties.