Patriotism and Political Dialogue: Symbol of Pride or Barrier to Debate?

Hosted by

Barack Obama's patriotism is being questioned because he doesn't wear an American flag pin on his lapel. His pastor's sermons are called un-American. Congressional votes on anti-flag-burning bills are considered tests of patriotism, even though the Supreme Court has declared that flag burning is constitutionally protected speech. Do nationalism and patriotism illuminate or confuse political dialogue in America.  Does the Founding Fathers' notion of American exceptionalism control our politics? How does the expression of American patriotism compare to displays of patriotism in other countries?  Do our symbols of patriotism get in the way of real political debate?