Bullies on the Political Playground

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Via Steve M., Rudy Giuliani aka America’s Mayor™ has not only called President Obama unpatriotic but also asserted that Obama’s grandparents (among other relatives) did not love America either. As it turns out Obama’s grandfather fought in World War II and his grandmother worked in a factory manufacturing B-29s. Don’t you just love irony?

None of this should matter. These frivolous accusations of un-patriotism get so much play, however, because they’ve evolved into a kind of social cudgel. No one wants to be seen as hating their country. The fear of ostracism from being branded with such labels can be wielded by people with a lesser conscience (i.e. bullies) to prove their (in this case political) strength at the expense of others. Accusations of un-patriotism function like schoolyard taunts and threats. Basically, Giuliani is demonstrating the maturity level of someone screaming “you have cooties!”

I know that many people find politics boring and this kind of theater spices it up enough that it becomes palatable to a wider slice of the citizenry. Yet I’d still prefer that our leaders spoke to each other as adults. The ends don’t justify the means.

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