Willing Patriots

John McCain is a magnanimous guy. He said tonight that after he wins the election this November, “we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot” to put America “back on the road to prosperity and peace.” Remember, McCain’s war was the one in which we destroyed villages to save them. He wants to use the dynamite that blew up our house to put it back together again.

But the words that chill here are “any willing patriot.” Does that mean subscribing to the “bring it on” patriotism of Bush? The torture patriotism of Cheney? The “limitless executive power” patriotism of the entire Bush-Cheney wrecking crew? The “endless war” patriotism of McCain? Does that mean surrendering to the patriotism of ceaseless braying about the heroism and self-sacrifice of anyone in a uniform who goes along with the program without questioning the empty rationale or the moral bankruptcy of the undertaking?

Will McCain reach out his hand to the kind of patriotism that says, you’re wrong, senator–the policies you’ve embraced are killing the country we love, the only country we have for better or worse? In the frenzy of waving flags, in the midst of our military cult, I don’t see that sort of patriotic overture getting such a warm reception.

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