Rich Lowry’s characterization of President Barack Obama and liberals in general says more about him and his ilk than about them. It was enough that former New York City Mayor Rudy Guliani’s unfortunate, unfair and impudent attack on Obama’s love of country verges on slander. Lowry in defending him goes even further. His own words show him up to be cynical and smug and thoroughly spiteful. From his supercilious perch, he looks down on those he panders to by throwing them more red meat labeled Obama.

Despite Obama speaking publicly of his love of country repeatedly, his doing so is not enough. Why? Because the same easily aroused and susceptible crowd Lowry appeals to have already made up their minds, and the poll he refers to, not surprisingly, confirms it. But it proves nothing. What it indicates is what we already know: that the two parties are divided on just about everything. What it reveals in this instance is not love of country or lack of it but prejudice.

I’m a liberal and I’ve always loved my country, and I still do. There are a lot of liberals like me. I resent Lowry’s partisan generalizations. What makes him patriotic? I grew up nourished by flag and country. Everywhere around us were reminders of great Americans, living and dead in every field of life and of American history. I was a great flag-waver.

When Pearl Harbor arrived, flag-waving wasn’t enough. It was time for action. It was easy to wave flags and say how patriotic you were. The real proof was putting your life on the line by serving your country. So, like millions of others, I did. I joined the Marines and fought in battles in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima, and survived. Many of my brothers in arms didn’t. Since then, I’m still a flag waver. What annoys me and countless others is someone like Dick Cheney getting five deferments in Vietnam and commenting he had more important things to do. This from a man who couldn’t wait to send others into combat in another war based on a lie. What kind of man does this?

World War II united us, but the Vietnam War and our bogus invasion of Iraq divided us. It still does. Before Vietnam, both parties agreed on foreign policy. No more. In Vietnam, Democrats saw a government that betrayed them by a war based on a lie; Republicans felt betrayed by a public they felt was too influenced by the media and the universities to support a war that could have been won. The same applied to our bogus invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. It’s exactly why Lowry’s poll came out the way it did.

Steve McMurray

retired art director

River Ridge