First off, I'm really getting tired of hearing about "patriotism". There's nothing wrong with simple patriotism; your dictionary will tell you that it's just "love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it". Nothing wrong with that, right?
George Orwell said it best in 1945:
Most of the "patriotic" fervor I hear today sounds more like nationalism.
I was interested to find this at John Mellencamp's Blog:
While Googling for "Nationalism vs. Patriotism", I came across this from BlogCritics Magazine:
For too many Americans today, the cry of "patriotism" unfortunately seems to stand for that kind of insular superiority.
For most of my life, had anyone asked if I were patriotic, I surely would have answered "Yes". I'd like to answer "yes" today, but given how "patriot" seem to have redefined its meaning, I'm not anxious to claim that tag. I'm definitely NOT a patriot, at least not in the ugly nationalistic sense that seems to pervade "patriotism" today.
I'm also heartily sick of hearing about the "good, God fearing people of.." wherever John McCain is speaking today. Of course there's an unspoken assumption in there: these people aren't fearing just any old "god", no, this is a fairly specific Judeo-Christian god that they are supposedly trembling before. I don't believe in supernatural beings of any kind, so it's plain that I have no fear of any gods, whether of the bird ressurected from the fire kind or the less flamboyant type McCain envisions. I would also suspect that very few of the crowds addressed really are "God fearing" - today's Christianity tends more to milk and cookies than fire and brimstone, at least for those who have drunk the Koolaid (the rest of us are going to Hell where we belong).
But it's the implicaton that I object to: that someone who fears divine retribution is a better sort than someone who thinks that's all a bunch of nonsense. In other words, moral behavior can only be enforced by fear. The person with no fear of divine punishment can't be trusted - well, unless there are lots of cops around to watch suspiciously as we spend our days not going to church.
It's complete rubbish, of course, and worse, I doubt the man even believes that. He just says it, because, like patriotism, the crowd eats it up. Probably a lot of them wouldn't buy the underlying assumption either, and most probably really wouldn't want to be seen as nationalists if they took a minute to think about it. But they don't. So they stamp their feet and whistle and cheer and the show goes on.
In a recent Larry King interview, John McCain said that he does not believe Barack Obama is a socialist. Yet that's another word he and Sarah love to throw to the crowd. Once again, I'm sure most of that crowd understands that if Obama is a "socialist", so is McCain and probably 99% or more of our politicians, but it doesn't matter: they stamp their feet and whistle and cheer anyway.
Maybe that's what I'm really sick of. The mindless foot stomping, wild clapping, hooting bally-hoo over things they really don't think are true.
Maybe I'd just like Americans to grow up and act like adults.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence