We are all heroes now, but criminals too
Enough of the relentless pious posturing of offended American 'patriots' who decry the audaciousness of people like Obama when he makes any kind of nuanced critique of his Nation, no matter how valid.
'How dare he! This country was build on [insert] values!' (i.e. white, Christian, capitalist, 'my', etc)
Quoting Reagan's farewell speech from the Oval Office, an article in The Slate had this to say:
Renewed strength, he [Reagan] argued, had led to the "the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism, … one of the things I'm proudest of in the past eight years." But Reagan also cautioned his audience that relativism and self-criticism still endangered this revived morale. "Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children," he fretted, calling for a return to a time when "we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions"—suggesting, in passing, that those two things were the same.
There still remains a sort of misty-eyed nostalgia for the fabled Good Old Days when people wore hats, but took them off in the presence of the flag. When no one ever questioned, in thought or deed, the noble office of the President. When no one asked questions.
And then there are the untouchable icons of America that are forever beyond reproach. War heroes, heroic religious leaders, dead heroes, heroic nurses and single moms, the everyday heroes of the street, the real heroes. Everyone's a hero.
On the other hand, while honest people try to live good lives and abide by the law, most (if not all) American citizens are guilty of some crime or other, probably without even knowing it. The modern tendency towards comprehensive legislation means that there is a law on the books somewhere about every single area of your life. Building codes, road rules, public speech, etc.
(Did you know that file-sharing is now a felony in the U.S.? Is copying a Coldplay CD really on a par with rape, kidnapping and murder?)
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is to-day can guess what it will be tomorrow.
James Madison, 4th U.S. President
With an unbending faith in simple-minded Nationalism, a talent probably learned in Sunday school, accusers will shout down, with great certainty and conviction, anyone who dares question the great institutions of state put in place by heroes like Madison.
Unfortunately, heroes like Madison as we have seen were more anxious than any that should these institutions become too powerful and end up enslaving the people they were established to serve, they might be toppled forthwith.