By John Steele Gordon
As far as I know, there is no word in English for the opposite of jingoist. But if there were, its entry in the dictionary would belong next to Barack Obama’s photograph. It seems he can’t set foot on foreign soil without apologizing for this country’s past sins and promising that it will sin no more under his leadership. In doing so, of course, he both disses his own country and praises himself by implication.
He apologized to the Arab Middle East in Cairo. He apologized for American carbon dioxide yesterday at the G-8 summit, managing to imply that it is somehow even more damaging to the environment than other people’s greenhouse gases. He has even apologized to the French for American arrogance and dismissiveness. That’s like some weekend duffer apologizing to Tiger Woods for occasionally playing golf.
If Obama has ever had a good word to say about America or any of this country’s myriad accomplishments (like, oh, leading the liberation France in 1944) and uncountable contributions to the betterment of humankind, I must have missed it.
Does he hate the country he leads? No, of course not. But Obama, like so many on the Left, is predisposed to see his country’s faults rather than its virtues, its failures rather than its triumphs. In this he reminds me of some parents. They love their children, they just expect perfection from them. Therefore praise is never called for and criticism is constant. Their children, unable to meet their parents’ unmeetable standards, have anxiety-ridden, unhappy childhoods. And later the parents — their children grown up and gone — wonder why the kids never come to see them.
I wonder whether this is an element in Obama’s falling popularity. America is not a jingoistic country. But it is a great and a good one and its people know it. Someone should tell the President.