Patriotism: A poll

I hope people pipe in for this one. It feels like there’s been a real decrease in readership (or at least in comments) on this blog since I moved over from LJ.

In recent Reuters news blurbs, Obama was quoted as saying this about ‘patriotism’:

In the end, it may be this quality that best describes patriotism in my mind — not just a love of America in the abstract, but a very particular love for, and faith in, one another as Americans.”

McCain, on the other hand, says this:

(Patriotism) is putting the country first, before party or personal ambition, before anything.

What about you? How do you define patriotism? Do you consider yourself “patriotic”?  And of course, in the back of my mind, I am thinking about that Krishnamurti quote I excerpted a few days ago…is the concept of “patriotism” a kind of violence? Is there a way it can avoid being so?


~ by realsupergirl on July 3, 2008.

6 Responses to “Patriotism: A poll”

  1. I find “patriotism” to be kind of a slur, if not according to the dictionary then according to the example of most people who call
    themselves “patriotic”. It’s kind of like the word “pious” in that sense: the more often a person uses the word to describe him or herself the the less likely he or she is to back up the professed belief with concrete action.

    I was reminded of the patriotism paradox when I saw Gonzo, the soon to be released documentary about Hunter S. Thompson (which is terrific: everyone should see it). A big part of the movie covers the ’72 presidential election (George McGovern, Gary Hart, Pat Buchanan and Jimmy Carter are all interviewed) and the archival footage reminded me that the way the election was posed to my eight year-old self (at least on TV and in the overheard conversation of my Neanderthal adult relatives): McGovern was the pinko running against the patriot, Nixon. Except McGovern had been a much-decorated bomber pilot in World War II (who wanted the troops out of Vietnam), and Richard Nixon had spent World War II in the Navy reserve where his most notable achievement had been winning at poker–but he had no problem bombing the shit out of Southeast Asia. There were a lot of poignant parallels to the Iraq War which the footage from the movie makes very clear.

  2. As my beloved knows, I’ve recently found myself singing the preamble to the US Constitution (thank you schoolhouse rock) and really finding wisdom and good intentions in the founding documents for our country. I would call myself patriotic only when defined by valuing the ideals set forth in our constitution and our declaration of independence, taking pride in them, and hoping and working for a day we honor and live by them.

  3. I think I will have more to say about this, but my first thought is Obama answered the question for Americans in general, while McCain answered it for politicians–whether or not that was their intention. I also really appreciate kaphine’s response…words to chew on for a while.

  4. we the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, ensure the general welfare and ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this constitution of the united states of america.

    wow. wish that’s what our government were focusing on.

  5. I’m not sure how to answer.

    So much of he current atmosphere has redirected the term “patriotism” to mean something more like “jingoism” with a heavy dose of “dogmatic” and may of the negative traits of “nationalism”. So under the current connotations, no I am not “patriotic”.

    Would I consider myself “patriotic” if its current connotations were true to the Webster’s definition of “actuated by love of one’s country; zealously and unselfishly devoted to the service of one’s country;” … good question. I honestly don’t know.

  6. The Webster’s definition is definitely too zealous for my liking.

    Before realsupergirl posted this, I had been struggling a little with thoughts of Independence Day (why do people hardly call it that?) I’m not very gung-ho for our countries policies, leadership, and behavior currently. Like many folks I know, I’m pretty pissed off and saddened by what the administration had wrought in eight years.

    I find it almost impossible most days to be proud of my country. Thanks to Schoolhouse Rock, I’ve remembered that there are some ideals to hold up proudly. And although we’ve never perfectly embodied them (even the writers of our founding documents were quite imperfect in their behaviors) we do have good goals and intentions laid out before us. I’m proud of these ideals and I hope to see our country get closer to them once more.

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