Lou Dobbs, back at his CNN desk after a three-week absence during which he had a tonsillectomy, obviously was filled with pent up rage. Imagine being Lou, the main man who spews volcanic ash and steam against illegal immigrants and broken borders. For almost a month, he couldn’t talk; he couldn’t rant. A tonsillectomy at Dobbs’ age must be dreadfully unpleasant, but even worse, was the explosive return of Dobbsian righteousness to my living room. Sure, I could have left the room or switched to another blowhard but there was something morbidly fascinating, like the thought that Lou might have had a reaction to his painkiller or as my husband surmised, “He must be planning to run for president.”
Right before a break, we in the audience would hear the lure of STAY TUNED. It was in his voice and he wore it across his face that look of disgust, almost as if he’d just chewed a turd. Lou had something else on his mind and in his craw in addition to all the illegals pouring into this country. He was ready to get medieval on Katie Couric, Sen. Barack Obama, and Bill Moyers. And the tie, binding the three as a target of Dobbs’ legendary wrath, was an American flag lapel pin.
Lou introduced his barrage by stating when and why he started wearing his pin:
Like many Americans, I began wearing a flag pin after September 11. I do so out of respect for those killed in the terrorist attacks and in recognition of this country’s war on radical Islamist terror.
Nothing wrong with this, except that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, of course.
Then Dobbs launched his attack on certain “journalists” and “presidential candidates” who “are uncomfortable and even upset about flags on lapels.” Said Dobbs: “But maybe their superior and supercilious views offer a window into what ails us as a society.”
Huh? Can this be real? Has Dobbs’ nailed the cracks and fissures that are undermining our democracy?
Here’s Katie Couric at the National Press Club:
The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying ‘we’ when referring to the United States and, even the ‘shock and awe’ of the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable.
I guess I have a ‘superior’ and ‘supercilious’ view since I agree with Couric. Naming a military campaign ‘Shock and Awe’ is disgraceful, as is the concept of war, lies to justify it, the exploitation of the military, and the killing of untold civilians, all of which make me more than uncomfortable.
And, then, there’s that senator the one running for president, another person with a ‘superior’ and ‘supercilious’ view.
If Barack Obama chooses not to wear a flag pin and states that the reason he removed it is because he wants his words to reflect his patriotism, I think that’s his American-way-of-life prerogative. But it sure makes the top of Lou Dobbs’ head spin and twist. Dobbs’ reaction to Obama’s explanation was: “Any politician of any political party who believes their words can be an adequate substitute for the symbolic power of the American flag is sadly arrogant and horribly mistaken.”
Dobbs, then, continued his diatribe against Bill Moyers, quoting Moyers who once said that the flag has “been hijacked and turned into a logo the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism.” Yikes, did this rankle Lou.
On and on, Dobbs preached even talking about the welfare of our troops, as if wearing the flag in the lapel of his $3,000 suit somehow sends safety vibes to our military men and women.
At the end of the tirade, Dobbs became even more maudlin and hypocritical:
The Couric, Moyers and Obama explanations of their discomfort with the wearing of the American flag should give be us all pause, because whatever our partisan affiliation each of us should at least agree that we are Americans, that our allegiance is to this country and that our national values of individual liberty and equality are the foundation upon which we all stand as Americans. The flag belongs to all of us as Americans, and it’s our right to either wear a lapel pin or not. I choose to wear that flag on my lapel because the nation it represents makes that choice.
Tragically, the symbol of our flag has become a grim reminder of death, oppression, and destruction to many people across the planet. So, my advice to Dobbs is this: Next time you need surgery, do us all a favor and have a lobotomy.
MISSY BEATTIE lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com