This doesn't tell the half of it…
57% of Obama voters were unable to correctly answer that Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.
Now, here's a related matter from James Taranto:
The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., has an interesting little piece titled "Winds of Patriotism Renewed":
Ronnie Chapman has hidden away his American flag for much of the past eight years. "I felt it was no longer a symbol of the country I love, but of Bush and support for his war," said the 48-year-old pharmacist from Cary. "The first thing I did the morning after the election was take it from my den and fly it proudly in front of my house."
Chapman's response to the presidential election reflects the emergence of an unusual–and some might say contradictory–new figure: the flag-waving liberal.
After a divisive presidency and strident campaign in which patriotism was used as a wedge issue, supporters of President-elect Barack Obama are hanging flags, donning Old Glory lapel pins and humming the national anthem.
"We just feel this pride and this swelling of joy," said Cheryl Kimmel, 49, of Cary, who worked on Obama's campaign with her 18-year-old daughter, Jeanelle Alexander. "We're extremely proud to be Americans today."
"For years it's felt like patriotism was a Republican thing," said Raven Moeslinger, 21, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill. "Now I feel like we've reclaimed it."
"The night after the election, I got in bed and started reading the Declaration of Independence for the first time in a long time," said Sherry Harmon, 55, of Cary. "I felt I needed to touch base with our roots because I think we need to refresh our ideas of who we are as Americans."
The paper notes that some Republicans see the flag-waving Democrats "as sunshine patriots, stirred more by partisan victory than love of country." Don't they have a point?
For the past eight years (and longer) we have heard from those on the liberal left that there is no inconsistency between loving your country and disagreeing strongly with the policies of its government. That is true. The country is bigger than the party in power; you can love the former while despising the latter. That does not seem to be the way the people in the N&O story feel, though. Their love for America is conditional upon their party being in power.
Of course, maybe this is a bipartisan phenomenon. If so, there must've been stories in 2000 (or 1980, or 1968–heck, we'll even take 1952!) about Republicans or conservatives who, on their party's return to the White House, suddenly started flying the flag or otherwise expressing love for their country for the first time in years. If you know of such an article, send it along and we'll take note in a future column.
And finally, Taranto reports on a fellow in Indiana who's now flying his flag upside down as a signal of distress, and it's one time when I disagree completely with his conclusion…
Yesterday we noted a story about liberals, prompted by the election of Barack Obama, making sudden shows of patriotism after shunning such displays for the past eight years. We wondered if the same thing had happened on the other side….
So far, the answer is no. But a reader did call our attention to a somewhat similar phenomenon. An example comes from the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind. At a tire shop in nearby Decatur, owner Greg Townsend "hoisted the flag, which has long flown in front of his shop, in the upside down position, a distress signal protesting the election of Barack Obama and Joseph Biden"…
Townsend is not alone in using the flag in this way… Nor is this unique to the right: Another reader tells us that one of his neighbors had been flying an inverted flag but turned it right side up on Nov. 5. And of course John Kerry* famously posed in front of an inverted flag for the cover of his 1971 book, "The New Soldier."
This is an improper use of the flag. As one USA Flag Site contributor notes, Section 8(a) of the U.S. Flag Code states: "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."
Even if one grants Townsend's claim(s)… they clearly do not represent an extreme danger but an ordinary one… Further, a lawful election is not an occasion for "dire distress," and no one seeing Townsend's upside-down flag is in a position to save the lives or property he believes are in jeopardy.
Greg Townsend is not signaling distress, merely expressing an opinion…
But even though his protest is lawful, it is still inappropriate–a sign of disrespect for the flag and the country it symbolizes.
* The haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam.
This struck me as surprisingly naive on Taranto's part. Didn't the Germans vote Hitler into power in a lawful election? And is the availability of outside assistance a prerequisite for posting a distress signal? Hardly. Luckily, this is as wrong as Taranto gets.