What is Patriotism?
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." --Theodore Roosevelt
I had started this posting out with the quotation below, then saw the one above at Orcinus and smilingly lifted it. I have used my T. Roosevelt quote before; we need to be able to illustrate that it is the most American act possible to call our leaders to be honest and forthright in their exercise of government. Saddam Hussein's subjects must follow blindly. Americans are free to learn and act on their knowledge.
"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.
It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the
exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country." --President Theodore Roosevelt, 1908
What is patriotism, really? Some people believe that it is a sort of blind nationalism. You'll note that people are pretty polarized about the war and this issue-; typically when folks don't have intellectual footing the name calling starts. If the knee jerk patriots had their way a couple hundred years ago we would be saying " My country right or wrong, Great Britain"... Thinking is patriotic. Dissent is a foundation that America is built upon.
You are probably already aware of the Louisiana DJ, Richard Condon, who incited people to come out and heckle a small peace march. It is fortunate that no one was hurt:
Richard Condon, a morning show host for rock station KOOJ, said he wanted the hecklers to "put these goofballs in their place."
"This has been going on since World War I, and it's the reason they have the right to feel the way they do," Condon said, pointing at the peace protesters marching down Stanford toward LSU.
Despite that right, he concluded, "I think these son-of-a-buggers deserve a bullet in the head."
For information on how to let people at Condon's radio station and the FCC know how you feel about people who promote violence directed toward people that don't think like them here is a link to Counterspin Central that deals with this case (check for updates). You'll see that Condon has a history of giving voice to his hatred.
To write the FCC about this:
ATTN: Investigations and Hearings
445 12th St SW
Washington, DC 20554
I'm guessing that Mr Condon hasn't thought through the fact that what separates the US so far from places like Iraq is that we have the ability to speak our minds in public without fear of violence. We should work to make sure America stays that way; too many of our predecessors fought and died in World War 2 to insure what we think of as the "American Way" in the face of Fascism from abroad. We should honor their memories by keeping freedom alive in the face of creeping American fascism here at home.
I use the term "Fascism" advisedly.
Mussolini defined fascism thus:
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
He also wrapped his mix in hyper-nationalism. His first followers were unemployed and disillusioned veterans, who he gave self respect and power through employment and uniforms, using money given by industry in Italy.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said:
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling power. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing."
(more anti-fascism quotes on my sidebar)
I want you to know that I use the term "Fascism" not as a catch phrase but because I see the symptom and factors that contribute to it's rise on the horizon. To see our nation engaging in pre-emptive aggression while taxes to the richest Americans are being cut, effectively draining the money for America's running and upkeep, has me concerned. No research into 9/11 has me concerned. Our losses of the basic freedoms that define us as Americans has me concerned.
David Neiwart has written a comprehensive study on the subject in 12 parts that will be on a pdf file soon; until then here is a link that will get you to all the articles. I recommend that you read and think about that that series says
I came across The New Patriotism Project which calls people to come together and foster dialogue to base action on that is in line with the principles of democracy and our Constitution. Here is a quotation from their Declaration of Public Responsibility:
We, the people, make this declaration: we need a stronger public life in America if we are to do the unfinished work of our nation and our communities.
Therefore, we seek a political climate in which vigorous and robust debates occur; in which our character is of genuine concern; and in which all people and all perspectives have a place at the public table.
To strengthen politics and public life, all of us must act – political leaders, news media, and citizens. Each of us must assume a posture of ownership, demanding from ourselves and from others the conduct we believe is good and right.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, declare our intentions on this day, setting forth and embracing the following aspirations for how we will conduct ourselves in politics and public life in our community and throughout this land.
Stop on by, read the whole document it is not long, see if its focus resonates with your vision of a patriotic renewal. I'll admit that site looks a bit out of date, the last posting being a few months ago.
I need to let you know I know nothing about the people behind this site.
As The Harwood Institute continues to pursue the improvement of political conduct in America, we have dubbed the next phase of our efforts the New Patriotism Project. We do so for this reason: the word patriotism means to hold a love and devotion for one's country. We believe that such devotion is at the root of improved political conduct. To be truly devoted to something means that you hold such pride in it, that you work to improve it, even when you no longer like what it is, or what it has become. Patriotism flows from a sense of love of nation so deep that one is willing to search for what is good and right, especially when the path is hard.
The history of patriotism in America tells us that we have the ability to make things happen, but that patriotism cannot be exercised alone. For the derivative of the word patriot is compatriot, which means "fellow country people." The fact that such a derivative exists, and that it holds such meaning, should tell us something. It speaks to us. It suggests that we are in relationship with one another. The word citizen gives us the same insight. To have a compatriot -- to be a citizen -- means that you are engaged with someone else in a common enterprise.
We need to live up to the vision our forefathers had for the America they created all those years ago. Democracy is not a pursuit that can be realized in isolation, we need to work together to breathe life into this grand ideal.
The Bush Presidency has been marked by drastic changes in the American socio/political landscape. The corporate influence on/in our government is at is most powerful and blatant point in our history, especially the relationship of the Pentagon and corporations. Since 9/11 such drastic assaults on the Bill of Rights as the Patriot Act and Patriot II, as it is called are robbing us of the very freedoms for which we are bombing others to import to them. Religion is increasingly being brought to bear on statecraft to the point where declarations from Washington sound like very much like those of the fundamentalists our country opposes, just couched in culturally different theological terms.
What is your vision of America? What sort of nation will the generations following us inherit? One embroiled in endless war? Do you see that we need to educate ourselves and share what we know so people can have a factual foundation to base their reasoning about this war on; that the media is doing us a disservice in informing us impartially? If we work together we can reclaim America and help our nation to realize its promise.
Patriotism is inherent in the work required to honor the ideas of liberty, equality and justice that our forefathers framed the ongoing and evolving promise of Democracy in.
People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do. - Dorothy Day
Why would an individual hijacking a plane in Cuba want to go to the United States? Could it have anything to do with Mr Bush's support of other Cuban terrorists? Please read that last link which shows the documented support given to such figures as convicted anti- Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch who blew up a passenger plane taking over 60 lives.
A March 20th report tells of a Cuban airliner being hijacked to the US by six knife wielding hijackers. You'll notice that Standard FAA Emergeny Operating procedure was followed in this case, a US fighter plane escorting/ intercepting the Cuban plane as soon as it got into US airspace; stark contrast to the lengh of time it took Air Force jets to scramble that horrific morning in September.
Finally, it seems, an official investigation into the September 11 tragedy is opening.