By Joe Conason
If volunteerism is suddenly unpatriotic and even "socialist," that will come as a nasty surprise to many of the Republicans and conservatives who always have supported such efforts, notably including both presidents named Bush.
And if stepping up to help our neighbors and community on 9/11 would somehow dishonor the Americans killed in those infamous attacks — as feverish critics of President Barack Obama now scream — then what do they think actually happened on that day 10 years ago?
The latest outbreak of phony outrage began when the president, following a tradition established by George W. Bush, announced that he and the first lady will mark the upcoming anniversary as a "National Day of Service and Remembrance" and urged Americans to "come together, in their communities and neighborhoods, to honor the victims of 9/11 and to reaffirm the strength of our nation with acts of service and charity."
To Rush Limbaugh and assorted lesser cogs in the right-wing noise machine, that was a deeply controversial statement and an attempt to "politicize" the event — as if the White House had ordered everybody to put on blue caps, join a local Obama for America chapter and then build a solar house for the poor.
Yes, according to the furious wingers, Obama's attempt to inspire volunteerism was in fact a barely disguised appeal to "serve the state," as well as an un-American distraction from what should be, in their minds, a more militaristic commemoration.
But leaving aside their usual bizarre theories about the president and his motives, this pseudo-controversy shows how little these so-called conservatives understand what really happened on 9/11, in New York and then across the country.
On that day and the days that followed, we saw a demonstration of the highest American values, which are apparently no longer comprehensible to the denizens of the right-wing swamp. Read More Here
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