The one thing that always puzzles me is the apparent belief of conservatives that they can best prove their love of America by showing how much they hate their fellow Americans.
The hate-Americans-first crowd tends to take their fellow citizens and reduce them to evil caricatures, a propaganda of the worst sort. And why not? Symbolism is the very heart of the conservative movement. As much as they talk about "values," upon closer inspection it seems that they're much more concerned with visuals.
When it comes to patriotism, for instance, conservatives tend to focus all their attention on the flag. They don't seem to be concerned with what the flag stands for. They just want to be sure that the flag stands. Period. Even though there were a total of four flag burnings in the United States last year -- or 0.00000001 flags burnt per person -- they're convinced that we need to amend the U.S. Constitution to stop this epidemic. For a group that spends so much time fetishizing the flag, they don't seem to care at all that the flag's honor is being sullied by this administration's embrace of torture, lies, and pre-emptive war. No, none of that matters. All that matters is that the flag remain physically pure.
Or how about our soldiers? They, too, have been reduced to mere symbolism, ranging from the president's carefully manicured photo ops to his supporters' "Support the Troops" stickers. As far as the actual troops go, conservatives don't really care. Sure, they talk a good game about respecting the sacrifices of our soldiers, but their policy actions and their political attacks show those words to be lies. The soldier is just a prop for the backdrop. He shouldn't be seen or heard.
The same thing goes for religion. Being a good Christian, in the eyes of most conservatives, doesn't mean heeding Jesus's touchy-feely words about peace, love, forgiveness, and brotherhood. No, Christianity again is nothing more than symbols. The conservative campaign to get the Ten Commandments erected everywhere is less about the message contained in them -- a fact made clear by Stephen Colbert's interview with a clueless congressional sponsor of the measure -- and more about the need to plant another symbol that conservatives can fetishize. Their outrage over court rulings against crosses and Nativity scenes on public property comes from the same source. I was taught that "they'll know we are Christians by our love," but apparently conservative Christians have given up on the love stuff and are merely looking to brand more territory with the trademarked symbols.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. For them, the symbol itself is always what's important, but never the values that are being symbolized. They wrap themselves up with an obsession with things and ignore the much more important matters that give such symbols their power in the first place.
Personally, I think they should take a closer look at their Ten Commandments statues. I seem to recall a warning in there about graven images.