One loves America; one seeks to be loved by America

One loves America; one seeks to be loved by America


John McCain’s convention speech last night contained a small section that cast in stark relief the difference between his worldview and that of Barak Obama’s, as illustrated in something Michelle Obama has said.

After recounting how his imprisonment and torture in a North Vietnamese prison for American POWs turned from a prideful, selfish, and arrogant young man into a broken but resolute, humbler man, McCain revealed this about himself.

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.

Contrast that sentiment with Michelle Obama’s statement that now her husband is poised on verge of being elected president, she’s only now proud of her country.

“People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and … for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

For John McCain, his love for his country blossomed when he realized that he owed it everything he is, while the Obamas have only come to love America when they see it about to do something for them. (Yes, I recognize that Michelle said this and not Barak, but he has never repudiated the statement and much of the rhetoric from both his own speeches and from his supporters echoes Michelle’s intent.)

Who most closely fulfills the exhortation with which John F. Kennedy challenged America during his inaugural address in 1961?

Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

Which one serves—and has served—America and which one asks to be given something, to make him great so that he may make America great in his image? Which one loves American unconditionally and which one has put conditions on that love.

Photo credit: US Navy photo.