(JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)Really?
OKAY, sure: it's easy to look on the Yahooligan crowds (which seemed almost uniformly to've been under 12 when the Twin Towers fell, and barely over 12 today) celebrating the demise of Osama bin-Laden and wonder about a country in which even matters we agree are of the utmost national seriousness turn into Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day without recourse or reflection.
Of course it's also possible to just issue a blanket pass, to grade on a (generous) curve, to acquit by reason of insanity or insipidity, to wait--yet again--for the gradual post-facto Slightly More Realistic Attitude to sink in, get processed, and, finally and most importantly, age long enough for people to admit they were foolish without actually admitting it. See Bush, George W., popularity of.
It would be, that is, if the same sort of juvenile know-nothingism wasn't coming out of my teevee this morning.
Yes, indeed, I could do without the wanton jingoism and the easy martial displays, made even easier by the fact that none of the flag-wavers, -wearers, or -wrapees is risking so much as a cuticle in any real defense of her; I will, perhaps by accident of birth, forever link Incontinent Bunting Syndrome with the Flag Decals of my youth and John Prine's minstrelsy, the cheapening of patriotism for a partisan political advantage which did nothing whatsoever to prevent us from losing a war (and coincidentally 58,000 American lives) those principles would have kept us out of in the first place if they were honest, and honestly applied. And, yeah, I doubt I have much more use than the late Mr. bin-Laden did for some aspects of American/ Western foreign policy and global economic hegemony, but that attitude doesn't require me to support murderous religious thugs who happen to agree. It requires me to fight the murderous religious thugs in this country who take my money to continue the enterprise.
But, mostly--and I'm convinced this is an objective viewpoint--I think we all could do without a culture where the aftermath of a military victory wasn't indistinguishable from the aftermath of a gridiron victory, and where the actual slog of military conquest--including the price to pay in raising up our former enemies--was distinguished from "getting" bin-Laden, Uday and Qusay, or Gaddafi's grandchildren. The disappearance of solemnity, of seriousness, of self-reflection, these are all matters which ought to be addressed, but we've left that process in the hands of crooked politicians, corrupt religiosos, and a mass-market media more interested in pitching soap, soda pop, and sexy underarms.