Politicians have no business directing or defining patriotism, especially when their rhetoric sounds like 1950s-era Soviet sloganeering.
It was creepy when former President Barack Obama declared his first Inauguration Day as “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation” and called upon us to find “common purpose of remaking this nation for our new century.” And it’s creepy when President Donald Trump declares his Inauguration Day as “National Day of Patriotic Devotion,” one in which “a new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart.”
This kind of self-aggrandizement is what you see under cults of personality, not American republicanism. Far be it from me to lecture anyone on how to love their country, but if your devotion to America is contingent upon the party or the person in office, you’re probably not doing it quite like the Founding Fathers envisioned. It’s bad enough that these inaugurations are treated as coronations. It can’t be patriotic to treat politicians like quasi-religious figures. Moreover, this kind of devotional ties patriotism—either implicitly or in some cases rather explicitly—to a preferred set of policy initiatives or a political office.
Each major party treats it candidate/nominee like a combination of pop star/life coach/spiritual mentor. I don’t get it. POTUS gets interviewed [in an excruciatingly long and costly process] to be hired to manage the nation, in the People’s name. Why do we pledge such salivating fealty to a man [or woman]….who is in almost every case….nothing more than a facade of the ideals they espouse during their campaign?
Now, to be fair…Trump probably breaks this mold….being every bit as petulant in office as was a candidate….though there have been some marked improvements in policy since his inauguration, so far.
This cult of personality wouldn’t be quite as creepy, were it not for the rank hypocrisy exhibited by their supporters and surrogates when one Administration switches to another.
Is it that difficult to be better than this???