Saturday, July 5, 2008

True Patriotism?

Patriotism is defined as the expression of loyalty, support, and defense of ones country.

Sometimes, antiwar protesters are accused of being unpatriotic. Are we? Does one have to support all that ones nation is and is doing NOW in order to be patriotic? Is patriotism about blindly loving all things about ones nation at every moment in time? I do not think so.

I believe that what a nation is is the sum and substance of what is represents historically and culturally, and if that nation veers from that, it is ones patriotic duty to criticize the current actions and help steer the nation back on track for what it really was and what it should be again. When a nation is engaged in a wrong war or a wrong embargo or a wrong environmental practice or a wrong alliance or even a misguided and ineffective aid effort, it is the duty of the patriotic to recognize the damage being done to the long term overall culture and bring the actions of the nation back in line with that.

Simple patriotism is blindly loving and defending whatever a nation is now. True patriotism, the kind that requires constant vigilance, constant thinking, constant awareness of what is happening in and being done by ones nation, is loving your country for what it should be and making sure it keeps on track and remains as close to that as possible. Sometimes that requires criticizing ones nation and making a stink to get it redirected back to its true path. That kind of patriotism is more complicated and is more work. True patriotism is pride in the achievements and culture of ones nation, the desire to preserve the character and the basis of the culture of ones nation, for the long haul, and the willingness to recognize when those things are being compromised, and demanding that mistakes be fixed and errors remedied. Sometimes, protesting a bad war is the truest form of patriotism.

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