The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks postponed a primary in the state of New York, but did not cause a delay for the upcoming primary in the state of Washington. Days after the attack, Washington’s Secretary of State Sam Reed, in a news release titled, “Secretary of State Asks Citizens to Do Their Patriotic Duty: Vote In Tuesday’s Primary,” said this:

“‘This is an opportunity for Washington citizens to show the terrorists that they did not succeed in shutting down our government – we will continue to exercise our right to vote,'” Reed said.
Reed encouraged voters to pack the polls next Tuesday to signal the strength of our democracy in Washington state.”

Sometimes events focus our minds on the meaning of patriotism. President Bush’s recent signing of the Military Commissions Act, which authorized tough interrogation of terror suspects and smoothed the way for trials before military commissions, sparked this commentary on patriotism from a blogger:

Flag Burning is our Patriotic Duty
Thu Sep 28, 2006

Today is a sad day for America. The House and the Senate have given Bush the power of Adolf Hitler by legalizing Bush’s concentration camps where Americans will be tortured for anything the government wants. In a few years these same senators will be claiming that “I had no idea that Bush would abuse this power when we authorized Bush to set up torture camps” the same way they are presently claiming they had no idea what Bush was going to do when they authorized him to start a war with Iraq. And people will act surprised when America’s allies distance themselves even more from us. I can no longer identify myself as an American. We are like Iraq. We are occupied by the enemies of freedom. We are the Nazis of the 21st century.

I’m Marc Perkel – And I approved this message!

Marc Perkel
My blog:
Founder of the Church of Reality
“Welcome to the real world!”
Here’s a flag burning to express how I feel about America’s new status as a pro torture country. Now we are just like them. No damn wonder that the UN members cheered when Chavez called Bush a devil. I’m and Atheist, but Chavez might be right.

And this from the rarely funny and over-exposed Bill Maher:

Therefore, I contend – with all seriousness – that ridiculing this president is now the most patriotic thing you can do.

I’m inclined to favor the more traditional way of expressing one’s patriotism suggested by Mr. Reed. The Left’s knee-jerk, blame America first, distrust of the military while actively working to undermine its mission, compels me to vote. Yet, it is predicted many conservatives will sit out this election.

And conservatives are the first to declare themselves first among equals when it comes to patriotism.

This past year has provided me far more reasons to vote than not. While we haven’t been attacked by terrorists hoping to affect the upcoming election, we have been battered by propagandists who seek to affect its outcome:

  • The on-going cover up of the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame scam to undermine the war in Iraq and to smear Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Lewis “Scooter” Libby;

  • Selective and misleading leaks regarding a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to The New York Times – for the partisan goal of discrediting the president in an election year;

  • Undermining our ability to capture terrorists by leaking of an NSA program that has provided clues to money trails and ties between possible terrorists and groups financing them, then complaining of a lack of progress in this same area;

  • Publishing a secret and highly effective NSA program to monitor phone calls and e-mails from terrorists overseas who make contact with people in the United States;

  • Making unsubstantiated claims of a pattern of pointless torture of captured terrorists and simultaneously downplaying the brilliant work that thwarted a recent mind-boggling plot to detonate ten jets filled with innocent people over America; and

  • The relentless unbalanced reporting of what our military has achieved in Iraq in rebuilding the infrastructure after liberating 30 million Iraqi’s (we should count the women twice given what they endured) from a man rightfully nicknamed, “The Butcher of Baghdad.”

Which brings me back to the urging of Washington’s secretary of state to vote: It is our patriotic duty.

Optimism about your party’s chances of success is likely a more effective motivator for voter turnout than patriotism, and this is why liberals take great pains to undercut optimism about the state of our union. Our despair is their hope.

To liberals in the upcoming mid-term elections, nothing succeeds like distress.

Remember when welfare was such an agonizing mess? Libs gave away trillions in tax dollars – a never-ending stream of guilt-ridden down payment money. It took over 30 years for conservatives like Wisconsin’s Gov. Tommy Thompson to re-work welfare as we knew it by creating incentives to get recipients back to work. Democrats accused those of us who embraced tough love welfare reform as cruel and unfeeling, but, when you looked at the millions of lives being ruined by “The War on Poverty,” it was Democrats who were keeping generations of poor Americans stuck in despair.

Despair works for liberals and socialists.

The reasoned calculation that attacking confidence and optimism will negatively affect voter turnout is an unspoken attack on your patriotism.

Do you really think it is a coincidence record highs in the stock market and record lows in unemployment are under reported to a spectacular degree? That’s a choice our Tabloid Media has made. The intent is to manipulate emotions and make every effort to emotionally beat down likely voters. And there’s a reason for this. Like the War on Poverty, today’s libs are conducting a massive War on Confidence. Specifically, it is a war on conservative Christians with the hope of collateral damage on Reagan Democrats.

The so-called “Great Society’s” “War on Poverty,” was actually an attack on the confidence of the most vulnerable in our country. Millions of Americans were depressed, lethargic and totally unmotivated. And Democrats had no problem with that. They did nothing to reverse it. Instead of encouraging welfare recipients to work and build self-esteem by earning a living and being responsible for themselves, the message from liberals was: “You aren’t good enough to earn a living and this country isn’t good enough to provide you with a job so we’ll cut you a small check every week. We’re sorry, but this is as good as it gets.”

It makes my blood boil when I think how damaging this was. It is a fact that confidence is directly related to action – it is a key term used by people involved in action-oriented activities like sports, business and everyday life. Economies, societies, organizations, and teams depend on it. We all know success creates positive momentum. People who believe they are likely to win are also likely to put in the extra effort at difficult moments to ensure that victory. On the way down, failure feeds on itself.

A negative image of the president, the country and the war must be drilled into our minds to bleed our confidence dry.

The fact is, many conservatives are rightfully frustrated and disappointed with Republicans in both the House and Senate. They have not delivered on the conservative agenda they ran on. They campaigned on conservatism and legislated as squishy moderates more interested in earmarks than smaller government, closed borders, and less corruption. Our confidence has suffered and the left has seized on this – they know what happens when confidence falls: Voter turnout declines and their chances to regain power increases. This is a war on confidence. A war on self-esteem. A war on voter turnout.

No one can make you vote. But if you are one of those people who doubted the patriotism of the left when they leaked and published secret counter-terrorism programs, smeared good people, down-played the economy, or slandered our troops, look in the mirror. Assess your own feelings of patriotism as we were all urged to do after 9/11. And then ask yourself, is refusing to vote the act of a patriot and whose interests does that serve?

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