In this election season, every candidate displays the flag on their lapel except for one: Barack Obama. The explanation Barack Obama gave back in October in an interview with a local TV station in Iowa was “I decided I won’t wear THAT pin on my chest, instead, I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism.” It is quite honorable that Barack Obama carries enough about this country that has dedicated his time to campaigning in an effort to change the state of the nation, but without a flag on his lapel, these are empty words.

As defined by Wikipedia: ”Patriotism denotes positive and supportive attitudes to a ‘fatherland’ by individuals and groups.” On Independence Day many Americans display a flag on their cars or homes as a show of their ‘supportive attitude’ to the United States of America. This demonstration of patriotism/supportive attitude has deep roots from back in the days when wars were fought at close range. Typically the leader of an Infantry and Artillery charge in a battle was the flag bearer. Carrying the flag in battle without a weapon was a deadly position to be in when the bullets started flying; however, it was considered a great honor to ‘die for the flag’ and it was a desirable job.

After 9.11 flags sprouted up all over the country and many politicians and public figures began to wear them on their lapels. It cannot be said that Americans were less patriotic before 9.11 since in every survey taken on the topic of patriotism for the last two decades Americans scored the highest out of every nation. The most logical explanation for the increase in presence of the flag would stem not from an increase in patriotism rather it flows from a greater desire to DISPLAY patriotism.

A flag on a lapel does not mean that one is a patriot; rather, it means that they are willing to display their patriotism. Barack Obama’s refusal to wear the flag speaks volumes more than if he would actually wear the flag. Barack Obama’s refusal is damning in its own right, but when the Cuban flag with a picture of Che Guevara is displayed in his Houston office, his rejection of the flag could be elevated to traitorous levels.

The ultimate display of patriotism is the willingness to risk life and limb for one’s country and not just travel around on chartered planes and busses giving stump speeches. Every soldier fighting for America around the world has a flag on their lapel, as does the soldier of every other nation. When a soldier fights a battle without a flag on his lapel – even if it is the same battle alongside patriotic soldiers and at the same risk, he is just a mercenary in it solely for selfish gain. What can be said about a candidate who would like to be given the job of Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces but will not make the smallest patriotic gesture?

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