“Stupid patriotism is the problem.”

Over the past two weeks we have seen Barack Obama berated because of his friendship to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, we’ve been fighting in Iraq for five years, and oh yeah, 4,000 American soldiers have been killed in that shit-hole mess we’ve made.  Grrrrr, frustration.  I don’t like using this blog for my larger political opinions but I feel a need to release some steam.  Probably partially because of talking politics with my dad last night and probably partially because of this article from Salon.com today which, I think, does a very good job at talking about one of our nations biggest problems; stupid patriotism.

It is one of the biggest things that frustrates me sometimes about being an American.  The fact that when somebody decides to exercise their First Amendment right of freedom of speech, and criticize faults in the nation, ignorant people decide to label them as unpatriotic and America haters.  This just isn’t fucking true!  Just because you express disagreement or criticism of this country does not necessitate that you hate America and lack patriotism. 

I for one love this country and feel very fortunate to have been born and raised here but that doesn’t mean I believe our nation is without flaws.  Unfortunately we do not live in a Utopian society.  We have crime and poverty and hunger and disease and violence.  We have suffering.  We have bad politicians in every political party who are more interested in their own personal gains than the wellness of their constituencies.  Let’s be honest, America does have its problems.

We also have a lot of really good things.  Like our amazing and utterly genius Constitution.  Like our strong economy (which even as it is suffering some right now is a hell of a lot better than a lot of nations).  Like the fact that we have public elections so as a whole we can decide who we trust to lead us.  America is definitely a pretty good place to be.  But once more, I repeat, we do have problems that could be worked on.

I don’t agree with a lot of what Reverend Wright has said in his sermons but I also do not believe that because of his association with the reverend, Barack Obama is an unpatriotic person.  I don’t believe if I criticize the war in Iraq and the fact that 4,000 of our soldiers have died there means I hate America and sympathize more with the terrorist.  Personally I believe that there is not a whole lot more patriotic than being willing to express your beliefs and concerns about the state of this nation and the decisions that our leaders makes.  we are a democracy and we pride ourselves as such and in a democracy it is important that we all have voices and express our thoughts.  Single mindedness and unthinking patriotism (perhaps I should call it nationalism — and there is a word that can make people cringe) leads to oppression and a loss of freedom.

So the next time you are about to start calling someone anti-American because they called Bush a really bad president or say the war in Iraq is possibly one of the biggest mistakes this nation has ever made, maybe have the decency to think about how un-American you are being by not being willing to listen to different opinions and views of the matters at hand.  America has a lot going for it, that I never doubt, but I also believe we can always be striving to do better and to right wrongs we have made.  We might not be prefect but the pursuit of perfection is a noble cause.  

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~ by Nathaniel on March 25, 2008.

One Response to ““Stupid patriotism is the problem.””

  1. “And the notion that somehow it’s cute or amusing, or a useful diversion, I think, is something that all of us have to recognize is just not the case. We all have First Amendment rights. And I am a constitutional lawyer and strongly believe in free speech, but as a culture, we really have to do some soul-searching to think about what kind of toxic information are we feeding our kids,”

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