Monday, June 25, 2007

Rethinking Patriotism

We should all be re-thinking it.

Patriotism isn't about illegal invasions and flag waving. Any damn fool can do that.

Patriotism is making, first, our own country a better place to live for all Americans and, then, sharing our prosperity and philosophy with the rest of the world, if, and only if, they want it.

I doubt there will be any takers for awhile, after the Bush/Cheney disaster.

Rethinking Patriotism -

Several months ago when I wrote an essay questioning the appropriateness of military air shows as a form of community-sponsored family entertainment, I received a number of responses. The gist of most of the letters was that the military defends our freedom and without it, I could not write these words. Indeed, I was told that to criticize militarism is unpatriotic and how dare I impugn the honor and integrity of those who serve in the armed forces defending the American way of life.

But what precisely is this American way of life that our military purportedly defends? We live in the richest country in the world, yet unlike other developed countries that have universal health care, tens of millions of people in this country do not have health insurance and our medical care system comes in dead last behind comparable countries. Millions of children go to bed hungry every night and our educational system is leaving far too many children behind. The standard of living of all but the rich has fallen and people are losing their homes. Our energy use and wastefulness is a toxic disgrace.

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