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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Leftist patriotism

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?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 09:06 PM
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RE: Leftist patriotism

I'm not an American, but a Scot, so this will not answer you questions, but what the heck.

For me, 'patriotism' is too close to 'imperialism', probably because of the history of GB. Also, if you find any substance in Chomsky's ranting, it is a cattle prod to get the great unwashed to toe the line. Moreover, being a Scot, the old tension between Scotland and England comes into play, but this is more probably described as 'nationalism'. It can be pretty divisive, as we here in Europe have found - just count the number of wars between flag-waving patriots.

That does not mean that I don't get the sentiments of the positive aspects of patriotism - I do, I just wish there was another word for it. And that every weasel politician didn't abuse it.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 10:57 PM
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RE: Leftist patriotism

Patriotism is one of those concepts that is presently being used, like the fear propaganda, to make people's minds up for them, if they are so inclined. There does not seem to be a lot one can do to remind the American people they live in country that was founded on a very revolutionary vision of social order. It was masterfully captured in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It seems too much to expect citizens of America to understand it is their duty to read these documents and identify with their vision of freedom. One of those features of the vision is that you can only be sure you are free if you are exercising your freedoms. Talking about them is not fulfilling the vision. Jim
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-16-2005, 05:01 AM
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RE: Leftist patriotism

'Patriotism', at least in the US version, is a vaemotionally charged term.
I think most people use it interchangeably with " nationalism".
If it means, allegiance to the nation's founding documents, then call me a patriot. )What is it about amendments to the that include the phrase, "Congress shall make no law..." that attracts so much law?)

If "patriotism" is simple an emotional tool used by politicians to increase the power of government while subjecting the people to ever-increasing laws, and taxes, then I'm not patriotic. I object stongly to Judges who render leagal opinions based on their own code of ethics, or their own opinions, rather than the Constitution. To call that abuse of power "patriotism" is just plan wrong. Win at the polls, and pass laws, OK, but to allow a ruling minority to impose laws against the will of the people is tyranny.

I don't see how the McCane-Feingold act on election reform is anything but an abridging of our first admendment guarantee of free speech. I see the "Patriot Act" as an abrdigement of our protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Many drug laws have removed the protection of "due process".
I oppose all these laws. Does that make me unpatriotic?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-16-2005, 09:12 AM
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RE: Leftist patriotism

I’m not a nationalist. Heard a line in a movie once that “It’s too late in the time of the world for flags� and it really hit me. I feel a connection to my local area, but nothing else. I don’t for the life of me know how I can feel a sense of patriotism, but I do. Maybe more a sense of conviction of my ideals. I always thought Mort Sahl was a great patriot, but I guess I’m redefining the English language.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-16-2005, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Leftist patriotism

I really see it in terms of ideals. Nationalism is generally understood to mean being in favor of one's nation over all others. I'd like to think America represented a step beyond that - in so many ways it is the nation thatis supposed to embody the aspirations of all mankind - the principles in the Constitution are universal in nature, they don't speak of homage to a king or allegiance to a particular economic theory - it sets out rights as natural to humans, not given by despots or parties. as Jim pointed out - this is revolutionary in nature, and very few countries have constitutions of this nature. In many ways I see this as the split between the two definitions of patriotism we seem to have now - one is one that hase been around since the Roamns - based on a worship of American power and supremacy, a concept I have seen called "triumphalism", while the other is based on the worship of the ideals America represents as embodied in the Constitution. I cannot help but feel that four the last four years, the idealistic view has essentially been discarded - while the Triumphalist are willing to discard these ideals when they conflict with the aims of national supremacy over other nations. This is not new, it started in the Cold War, and has become more and more intense as time progresses. The question I ask is - if one were to simply base patriotism on American ideals alone, would we see the War in Iraq as patriotic?

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-16-2005, 08:58 PM
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RE: Leftist patriotism

I'll start with your last question:

yes. because America is spreading it's ideals and that is what the ideals of today are...

personally, i feel pretty much opposite. non aggressive "marketing" otherwise let it be approach. you attack i kick your ass out and that's pretty much where patriotism is for me. patriotism is blind - no party affiliation...

what's going on right now is very much along the lines of "blind" patriotism aka. nazism, aka. communism.... sheep...




in political asylum
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-17-2005, 03:52 AM
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RE: Leftist patriotism

Let me add a question to yours.

Was it patriotic for the US to delay its entry into WW2 while Germany set up the machinery for the "final solution"?
( This is not to campare Saddam to Hitler--Saddam was not, nor never could be as much of a threat as was Herr Hitler, Germany was a mighty industrial empire, Iraq was a spot in the desert, and so on...)
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-17-2005, 09:32 AM
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RE: Leftist patriotism

Quote:
MS Fowler - 1/17/2005 10:52 AM

Let me add a question to yours.

Was it patriotic for the US to delay its entry into WW2 while Germany set up the machinery for the "final solution"?
( This is not to campare Saddam to Hitler--Saddam was not, nor never could be as much of a threat as was Herr Hitler, Germany was a mighty industrial empire, Iraq was a spot in the desert, and so on...)
I think any negative points accumulated by the delay were much more than redressed by the subsequent contribution of the US, Canada, ANZ, India et al. Europe would have fallen entirely.

In any event, how much was know about the final solution in the early days of the war? Anyone?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-17-2005, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Leftist patriotism

Quote:
MS Fowler - 1/17/2005 5:52 AM

Let me add a question to yours.

Was it patriotic for the US to delay its entry into WW2 while Germany set up the machinery for the "final solution"?
( This is not to campare Saddam to Hitler--Saddam was not, nor never could be as much of a threat as was Herr Hitler, Germany was a mighty industrial empire, Iraq was a spot in the desert, and so on...)
Given the times, I would say no. We simply were not enough of a military power then to play world policemam as we do now. Also, the world was awash in tyranny at the time, including here in the US itself. Stalin was way ahead of Hitler up until 1941.
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