The New England Patriots, down 28-3 for most of the Super Bowl, were not supposed to win the game. But they did.
For years, we were lured into believing that it was gauche to wear one’s patriotism on our sleeves, so to speak, or to sing the praises of America. Globalism, instead, was the rallying cry. Make the world better and other countries stronger economically, even if it meant turning your back on your own country in the process -- killing jobs, careers, homes and lives.
Then something happened that was not supposed to happen on Nov. 8. Three months later, almost to the day, the team that won the Super Bowl did it by overcoming similar insurmountable odds. Never in the history of the Super Bowl has there been a comeback to match what the Patriots did. Hate them or not, it was a feat unmatched, and it occurred in overtime, also a first. For 59 minutes, the Falcons had the game in hand, only to be forced into overtime, allowing the Patriots to overcome the largest deficit in Super Bowl history. The game was over at halftime, until the Patriots disrupted all expectations to take control by sheer will. Again, it couldn’t help cast a light on that other event that was also supposed to be over the evening of Nov.8.
Indeed, it was no coincidence that the biggest sporting event in the world was won by a team symbolizing not only a “vigorous support of one’s country” as patriotism is defined, but also the American revolution. Perhaps, it no longer will be a crime to express love of this country unabashedly, as the Asian Heritage Society’s Asian Heritage Awards has been doing the last 14 years.
But this is not just a mere reflection of the times in which we live. Other nations, principally in Europe, have been turning their backs on globalism and embracing their own sense of patriotism. It began with Brexit and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last year and most recently became evident in France, where that country’s conservative party leader Marine Le Pen has seen support rising. “What is at stake this election…is whether France can still be a free nation. The divide is not between the left and right anymore but between patriots and globalists,” Le Pen was quoted as saying.
Coincidentally, one of the most celebrated collections of American paintings, Norman Rockwell’s renderings of the “Four Freedoms” (below), is about to begin a multi-year tour of the United States and Europe. Patriotism, without equivocation, can be good for the soul. After all, commitment did turn the tide of Super Bowl LI.