There’s a persistent slander making the rounds in our country, to the effect that Republicans are somehow more patriotic than Democrats. Last week, U.S. News ran a story about a new Harvard University study that found July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day. The clear message was that fireworks and Old Glory are to Democrats as garlic and crucifixes are to vampires.
The three key findings of those attending July 4th celebrations:
- When done before the age of 18, it increases the likelihood of a youth identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent.
- It raises the likelihood that parade watchers will vote for a Republican candidate by 4 percent.
- It boosts the likelihood a reveler will vote by about 1 percent and increases the chances they’ll make a political contribution by 3 percent.
To quote Col. Potter, from the old M*A*S*H television series: “Horsehockey!”
Later on this month, this writer will celebrate being a registered Democrat for 50 years. That’s right, a half-century of being a member of the party of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and, er, Bill Clinton. And—speaking on behalf of generations of loyal Democrats—no snot-nosed Republican dast challenge our patriotism!
Have more Republicans fought and died for freedom than Democrats? Are Democrats embarrassed to fly the country’s flag on holidays? O.K., maybe President Obama occasionally forgets to place his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is being played; but that hardly justifies painting the whole of the Democratic Party with the same brush.
Our Louisville Metro Council—and the Board of Aldermen that preceded it—has long been dominated by Democrats. And yet, before each meeting, they arise to a man (and woman) and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Patriotism is not the exclusive virtue of just one political party.
And where were the Jefferson County Democratic Party leaders at 9:00 a.m. on this last 4th of July? They were standing on the steps of Louisville Metro Hall, taking turns reciting the sacred words of our Declaration of Independence, and laying a wreath on the World War II Memorial, at 5th and Jefferson. Republicans abed at that hour should hold their manhoods cheap, that they were not there!
Democratic leader Tony Lindauer, reciting the Declaration of Independence on the steps of Metro Hall, July 4th, 2011.
One of our Democratic friends, who flies Old Glory every day on the front of his Butchertown home, and who blogs at ohioriver606.blogspot.com, could well have been speaking on behalf of the rest of the Party faithful, when he posted this on Monday:
The lights and sounds of fireworks are the closest most of us will ever be to real war and conflict. When the thunder ceases, the flames burn out, and the party is over, send up a prayer for the women and men in American uniforms we've sent into harm's way who will hear it all again tomorrow and the next day and the next.
Happy 235th Birthday, America!
Jefferson County Democratic Party leaders Jim Stammerman, Steve Bittenbender, Jeff Noble, and Chairman Bill Ryan, at the reading of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 2001.