A “moderate” posts some view on patriotism and between her attempts to poke those with whom she apparently disagrees also thinks patriotism is synonymous with progressive and that the notions of liberty and freedom are fixed things. Apparently “flag” does not equate with patriotism. This book is an exhaustive and interesting review of how our different definitions of liberty and freedom and the symbols we’ve used to represent them have changed (changed!) throughout last 200 years and that book’s very existence demonstrates that her simplistic rejection of caricatured representations of the ideas of patriotism, freedom, and liberty mean and how they are symbolized by people who are not her.
Those who want a return to small government (e.g., a lot of those in the Tea Party) don’t necessarily want a return to some mythic past. Saying that is their view is a caricature, a straw man. Honoring a symbol of your nation as representing honor to the thing represented isn’t wrong or even hard to understand (really it isn’t). She writes:
The definition of patriotism is love for or devotion to one’s country. To love or be devoted to someone or something usually means to want what is best for that someone or something, to be willing to make the effort, do what must be done to protect that something or someone. Conservatives seem to want the opposite. They seem to want to destroy the very thing they claim to love.
No. Conservatives don’t “want to destroy” the nation. They want to save it from the destruction that they see “progressives” are steering us toward. If you love a ship which is sailing toward ice flows and you see progressives as “fixing” the problem not by steering away from the ice, but by adding pressure to the boiler. The policy differences in left and right is a vision of what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix it, not that conservatives want to break it and liberals want the reverse. Thinking that is naive (or perhaps a result of not actually having any contact with actual conservatives).
If you want to go along with her definition of patriotism, loving someone means also rising to defend the object of your love from attacks, verbal and otherwise. Conservatives see liberals as unwilling to do this, in fact so much as to offer agreement with those attackers. If you are at a dinner party with your beloved wife, and some at the table point out her flaws in insulting ways, whether or not you (and she) are working on said flaws in private, at that dinner her flaws are not admitted but defended. To not do so is a betrayal. This is something the left can’t seem to fathom.