Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 83 Astral Silver 280 SL
Location: Planet Houston
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Oh well, life must go on. I was going to start this thread over at MbShop in reponse to someone who claimed one must toe the conservative line to be considered a "true American". It would be nice to hear from those who agree or disgree, and to hear what people think the definition of American Patriotism is. Myself, I think the worst mistake the left has made in this country has been to allow those on the right, especially the far right, to co-opt patriotism and replace it with a new, militaristic, lock-step obedience definition.
My great uncle, like many who served in the Pacific in World War II, was a Roosevelt Democrat. He was one of the most patriotic men I have ever known, as many of them were in the days where Liberal was not a dirty word and they were not afraid to call themselves patriots, especially after shedding their blood by the hundreds of thousands on the battlefields of the world. He said something that has always stuck with me - The American Common Man, the draftees, the enlistees who join the service in times of national crisis, do not fight and die for a particular political party, or to seek glory and conquest, they fight and die for The Bill of Rights. They die to protect a way of life that has only become possible because of those rights eternalized in our Constitution. To ask them to do it for any other reason cheapens their sacrifice, this sacrifice Lincoln so eloquently described as "the last full measure of true devotion". I base my opposition to the Iraq War more on that one sentiment than any other. I have not seen one thing in Iraq that has been worth the kind of ultimate noble sacrifice over a thousand of these men have made, and I believe they have essentially been conned into thinking this war was about those things defined by my uncle as worth fighting and dying for.
We seem to have lost our way now that we have this new, rightwing view of patriotism: Don't ask questions. "Support" The President, "Support" the troops, and don't ask what exactly it is you are supporting. Look the other way and say nothing, as US citizens on US soil are spirited away without charges. Look the other way when the "Patriot Act" becomes law without a peep, without even knowing what is in it, without the government even explaining what is in it, just sign your rights away. If others speak out, ridicule them and call them "unpatriotic", instead of supporting their right to freely speak their minds, no matter how much you disagree what they are sayiny. Support the particular religion of those leading us over the freedom of religion. Support the police in "keeping order" even when they are arresting those legally protesting what they believe is wrong. Say nothing as the government operates in total secrecy, holding no press conferences or not informing the public in any way as it institutes torture and prison camps through out the world.
In my view, being a patriot means more in this country than blindly following some party line or leader - hell, any tinhorn dictatorship does that - it means fighting like hell for the Bill of Rights, at home and abroad. Why does it seem the battle is now here at home? Who are the "real" patriots? Could there be truth on both sides?