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n229nw
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Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:28 am

This word has become a real buzzword today, especially in the US, where the right puts great stock in this word, and it seems so does the left (opponents of any government policy constantly have to affirm their patriotism...)

I am certainly in the minority, because I believe that this concept, "patriotism," is not only unnessary, but very dangerous.

Before I get completely slammed by everyone, let me clarify what I DON'T mean. I'm not an anarchist. I believe that as citizens with rights guaranteed by the state, we also have important duties to that government. This allows the state to function, and also sets up a framework for the rule of law and solving disputes, etc. Mostly these duties are monetary (paying taxes) and civil (obeying the laws in general, or working in non-violent ways to change them). In rare circumastances the duties of citizenship may even include being drafted to fight in a war (I would emphasize that for me to see this as a duty, the war could not be agressive--even if framed as "pre-emptive," but that's another topic...)

Anyway, what I don't see is an imperative to LOVE one's country or heritage. Love is an emotion, and when emotions take over from logic, bad things happen. Personally, I think the US has a fantastic history in some ways (the force and durability of the constitution, the implementation of democracy in certain forms, etc.) and a shameful history in some ways (the historical treatment of Native Americans, slavery, segregation, much of our recent foreign policy). This balance is true of most countries. Whether or not you agree with me on specific points listed as examples, does anyone agree that people should not be PROUD OR ASHAMED based on the happenstance of their birth and the history of their country (or race/religion, etc. for that matter). Our generation can only work with the present, so we should do the best to be people we can be proud of for our OWN deeds!

Most of this is neither here nor there, as a person can do the right thing because of love for his/her country--or for some other reason. But what about when doing the right thing goes AGAINST that emotion of LOVE for one's country? Which should triumph? That's when I think morals should win and patriotism gets dangerous. "My country right or wrong!" : Why the "or wrong" part? Why not, "Let's work--within the system--to make our country RIGHT!"?

When patriotism is used to bully people, that is when it gets really scary. I'll repost the famous quote from the Nazi Goering at his 1946 trial for war crimes in, brought up in another thread:
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

Oh, and just for the irony, I should add, regarding Sunday's big game: "GO PATRIOTS!"  Wink/being sarcastic

Thoughts?

[Edited 2005-02-02 20:30:43]
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keesje
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:06 am

Mostly agree with you.

Patriotism tends to mystify reason when reason should prevail.

Most large scale crimes during the last centuries were committed by people that thought they were patriots serving/protecting their country/people/race against the bad guys..

IMO it´s mostly not the smartest guys who fall for the clarity / brotherhood / superiority temptations of patriotism.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Stratofish
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:58 am

Excellent post! Agree 100%
I especially like your part about pride. This is one of the main reasons why I am opposed to the very concept of patriotism, apart from those also quoted.

The concept of patriotism incorporates that one must be PROUD of his/her country. This is very illogical. How can I be proud of my (any) country? I can only be proud of something I have achieved or contributed to. I haven't created my country so how can I be proud of it? It would look exactly the same if I hadn't been born here or elsewhere.

Then there is the point of history:
Does anyone really think the achievements of their ancestors lift them any higher than they actually are? It gets even more ridiculous if your (family-) ancestors are from somewhere else (which of course is -otherwise- a non-issue).

It is a concept to go for, for the weak at mind. Which does NOT mean stupid which is why patriotism is so dangerous.
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Arrow
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:30 am

Patriotism is a good thing for all countries. But I agree with N229NW -- when it gets corrupted to that "my country, right or wrong" philosophy, it's dangerous as hell.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
phxairfan
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:57 am

I'm proud that my country rose from 13 colonies into a large prosperous nation.
I'm proud that we don't discriminate and welcome all to our country.
I'm proud of those who worked their butts off to make us what we are today.
I'm proud of those who sacrificed their lives so that our country would be free.
I'm proud that I was lucky enough to be born in this wonderful country.
And I am damn proud to be an American.

What exactly is wrong with that? I don't think any less of someone for not being American. I don't think I am better than someone for being an American. I don't think that all Americans are always right and everyone else is wrong. I don't believe that we have always done the right, or best thing. And finally I don't wish that everyone else should have to be like me.

Patriotism is a love for your country and your fellow countrymen. Nationalism is believing that you are superior and or always correct, and that others are not as good as you. There is a big difference.
 
Staffan
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:11 am

"I'm proud that we don't discriminate and welcome all to our country."

I'd like to see that on big signs along your southern border.  Big grin

Staffan
 
Newark777
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:16 am

I'd like to see that on big signs along your southern border.

They are all welcome to enter, as long as they go through the immigration process and enter legally. I'm sorry we don't let just anyone walk across our borders, and I'm sorry we are worried about the safety of our country.  Yeah sure

Harry
Damn Proud American
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
phxairfan
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:20 am

How many millions of Spanish/Latin Americans are there? I rest my case. Just because you don't open your borders to everyone that wants to come does not mean you are discriminating against them. People from all nations regardless of race, religion, or color all go through the same process in order to be accepted as immigrants. That is what I mean when I say all are welcome.
 
Staffan
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:23 am

That's like saying Cuba is a democracy. Everyone can vote, as long as it's for Castro...
Who gets into the US the quickest/easiest? The wealthy european businessman or the poor unemployed mexican?

This is isn't a dig at the US, it's the same in most places in the world, in Europe too. It's just a reminder that it's easy to say one thing while reality reflects another..

Staffan
 
flybyguy
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:30 am

If nations do not have PRIDE and LOYALTY they will fall to pieces and be susceptible to civil wars and political turmoil. This is the case for a number of African countries to this day. Tribal loyalties far surpass national loyalties, therefore genocides and political unrest are commonplace. The African continent is by far the last region to see lasting peace because of all of these national "dis-loyalties"

It is very selfish for people to live in a country and not have at least some pride in its accomplishments and defend it when it is being attacked either by slander or by hostile armies.

I am very proud to be an American and though my country can let me down from time to time... it is still my country RIGHT or WRONG.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
 
Stratofish
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:39 am

"I'm proud that my country rose from 13 colonies into a large prosperous nation."
That's illogical. You were not involved in this.

"I'm proud that we don't discriminate and welcome all to our country."
Ok, lets assume this is (was) the case (in your or any country), you are proud because your countrymen and leaders do the right thing? That's the least they should do.
"I'm proud of those who worked their butts off to make us what we are today."
Ok, so THEY should be proud of themselves. But nobody about them, it contradicts logic.

"I'm proud of those who sacrificed their lives so that our country would be free."
Hm, grateful yes, proud is again the wrong term and used illogically here.

"I'm proud that I was lucky enough to be born in this wonderful country."
You are proud that you were lucky???  Nuts Yes, you can/should feel lucky you are born in your country, but what kind of logic is that to feel PROUD about it???

"And I am damn proud to be an American."
I do grant you that, but I think it is completely against any logic and it makes me seeing you as potentially dangerous.

NOTE: I would have the exact same feelings if we were talking about the UK, France, Botswana, Mongolia etc. Actually I had the same kind of discussion with a girl from Finland not long ago.

EDIT:
"If nations do not have PRIDE and LOYALTY they will fall to pieces and be susceptible to civil wars and political turmoil. This is the case for a number of African countries to this day. Tribal loyalties far surpass national loyalties, therefore genocides and political unrest are commonplace. The African continent is by far the last region to see lasting peace because of all of these national "dis-loyalties" "
Actually this is the same kind of logic just at another level. Well, it should be added that many of these tribal lords simply misuse their power in order to hold onto it.

[Edited 2005-02-03 00:46:47]
The Metro might be the Sub(optimal)way
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:03 am

It is one thing to be proud of everything you value in life, and another to be a Flag waver.
I'm proud that New Zealand is for the most part a forward thinking democracy that values equality of all it's people, and that we have the choice to believe in whatever we please. I am pleased to travel on a New Zealand passport as an example of a New Zealander to the rest of the world. I'm proud of myself/my family and for what that stands for - It wouldn't make a difference whether we were Kiwi, Greek or Bhutanese. Call that Arrogance or whatever you like, but I am above Flag waving.

I would never fight/die for my country, I don't often support New Zealand on the sports field (I support whichever team I identify more with) and am critical of many things inherent in our culture. I was only by chance born in New Zealand, I did not have control of where I was born, so why should I support the place of my birth on that basis?
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
Stoney
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:06 am

As already mentioned. One can't be proud to be of some nationality, only lucky.

In Switzerland there aren't that many people left who are still proud to be swiss, or extremely loyal to our state. But Switzerland still works and will not fall to pieces and be susceptible to civil wars and political turmoil in the foreseeable future. There's an extremely fine line between patriotism and nationalism. That's dangerous and I think it is already crossed when someone uses patriotism as an argument for anything.

Greetz
Stoney
BAZL - Bundesamt gegen Zivilluftfahrt - royally screwing around with swiss aviation
 
flybyguy
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:24 am

Stoney,

I'm surprised, I would think nationalism in Switzerland would be high due to the fact that so few in the world are privy to Swiss citizenship. And the ability to attain Swiss citizenship is not trivial by any means for European immigrants and non-whites.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
 
JetJock22
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:28 am

Stratofish, it is VERY interesting to read what you post about patriotism given your countries past. Why is it illogical to be proud that we rose form 13 oppressed colonies? Why is it illogical to be proud of the people who worked their asses off to make us the country we are today or to create a better life for their families? Is it illogical that I am proud of my grandparents and my parents for working as hard as they do to provide all they can for us? Is it illogical for me to be proud of my grandfather for serving his country (and helping liberate yours too I might add)? I wear his dog tags around my neck with mine everyday as a reminder of the sacrifices he made so that I can have the life I have today. Is that illogical? I don't think it is. I think it is illogical to say that being proud and being a patriot defies logic. I challenge you to think of patriotism in a different way, mainly through music. Download some of the songs listed below and really listen to them and I think you'll get a sense of what we mean when we talk about patriotic pride here in America. It's not just a "blind loyalty to our government" as some of yall think it is. For me, patriotism is waking up in the morning and seeing the American flag hanging on my wall and being thankful to live in a place like America. It is driving down the main street in my town and seeing the little mom and pop shops, old men sitting out on porches in rocking chairs just reading the newspaper or enjoying a smoke. It is the feeling I get when I go to a baseball game and listen to 30,000 people sing the National Anthem. It is being able to sit on the deck in the evenings with my dad and have a beer and just enjoy a nice summer evening. It's about spending hot summer days teaching little kids how to play baseball, or just fishin with my dad. No, those things don't deal with liberating other countries or fighting tyranny or oppression in a 3rd world country, but those things to me are 100% American and were given to me by earlier generations who sacrificed the things that I hold so dear to me so that I might be able to enjoy them. THAT to me is patriotism, enjoying the American way of life. I AM AN AMERICAN, and I am Goddamned proud of it.

Songs to listen to:
My Town - Montgomery Gentry
American Child - Phil Vasser
Pretty much anything Bruce Springsteen
That's What It's all About - Brooks and Dunn
 
phxairfan
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:36 am

Stratofish,
Rather than respond to each of you points, I'll go after the big issue which is our disagreement over the meaning of being proud of something. Proud is defined as: Feeling pleasurable satisfaction over an act, possession, quality, or relationship by which one measures one's stature or self-worth. By this definition I feel pleasurable satisfaction over the things I have stated, which in my opinion falls under the definition of the word. I respect that you have a different opinion, and being the nature of the subject. Our opinions are just that opinions. What means one thing to you may mean something different to me, and likewise. Lets not argue about something that is subjective to personal interpretation.
 
JetJock22
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:39 am

Stratofish, let me clarify that I agree with what Phxairfan just said. I'm not trying to put your opinions down or slam ya. I just don't happen to agree that it is illogical. Just my opinions and I respect yours too. Just wanted to clarify

Also, since we are on the topic of patriotism, just thought I'd share this. If this doesn't give you chills or make you just the tiniest bit proud to be American, then......I don't even know what to say. The last picture of the Iraqi woman holding up her finger with the tear in her eye pretty much says it all....http://www.gcsdistributing.com/?pv=tr&tf=TDP&DT=OM

[Edited 2005-02-03 01:48:09]
 
Staffan
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:45 am

"Proud is defined as: Feeling pleasurable satisfaction over an act, possession, quality, or relationship by which one measures one's stature or self-worth."

I interpret that as own accomplishments, not what other people have done. I'm thankful for what has been given to me, and proud of what I have accomplished. Big difference.

Staffan

[Edited 2005-02-03 01:45:57]
 
Stratofish
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:11 am

We seem to enterpret the word "pride" slightly differently indeed. I do not feel proud whenever I get a "the world is fine" feeling.
To me pride is a little more than "joy" or "enjoying a certain way of life". And I really have never experienced any deep feelings when driving down a main road either in my or in a rural or any city. Even if I draw it back on a smaller scale: I happen to live in one of the most beautiful cities on earth. And I have seen many cities around the globe, but some cities are way better than my hometown, also I would never say I was "proud" to live here. I feel (well, "felt" due to the current mayor) priviliged, but that's all. I have not founded this city and, according to my interpretation of "being proud", it would be illogical to feel that way.
Btw, I really do not feel anything when our (or any) anthym is being played. Also the sight of a flag leaves me very indifferent.

And my country's past should stand as a very drastic example of how dangerous patriotism is/might be.

I am glad and thankful that I have been born as a citizen of a free "first world" country. I could not care less about what's on my passport.

Edit: 1.)Very well said Staffan. 2.) Sites like that do send chills up my spine, but negative ones. "Celebrating our heritage" Sentences like this are frightening, regardless of the languages they`re in. The Iraq... well this is a too complicated issue that I won't touch at this late hour.


[Edited 2005-02-03 02:18:05]
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aerorobnz
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:18 am

Also try Fortunate Son by Creedance Clear Water Revival, Stratofish... That is also about Patriotism... Wink/being sarcastic
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:20 am

That GCS wepbage... isn't it what the word "propaganda" is usually used for?

...and pretty good business if you open the "products" link

[Edited 2005-02-03 02:32:36]
 
QANTASforever
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:23 am

Patriotism is good, so long as it does not blind one from one's nation's deficiencies.

To be a true patriot is to see the bad with the good and work to achieve your nation's potential.

I believe it is the greatest patriotic act to constructively criticise your country and then to do something to improve it. Acceptance of the status quo at the expense of progress is a travesty.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
Springbok747
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:57 am

Now..THIS is patriotism Big grin



 Big thumbs up
אני תומך בישראל
 
QANTASforever
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:20 pm

Are they......triplets??

*gulp*
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n229nw
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:29 pm

Stratofish, I agree with all your posts, including your (and Steffan's) definition of "pride." Perhaps the disagreement some others here have is partly about the definition of pride, BUT:

One thing that strikes me strongly is that the people who are most "proud" of the accomplishments of others in the past in their country are least likely to be "ashamed" of those in the past. Thus:

Phxairfan, Newark, Jetjock: if you believe "pride" is something you can have just by being born into a place where other people accomplished something, are you also "godamn ashamed" to be Americans? (for slavery? for the treatment of the Native Americans...)? I don't see how you can be personally proud of others' acts and not also be personally ashamed of them? Seems like both or neither, but you can't pick and choose! Can you clarify how you see this differently?

Arrow, Qantasforever, etc.: I'm curious with your claim that patriotism is good and/or important "as long as it doesn't go too far. " How do you define patriotism. I guess we should be clear on our semantics.

For me, patriotism is pride/love for one's country independently of one's own deeds (rather involving its history, etc.). If we agree, do you think this sentiment is important? Necessarily good? Usually good? I still don't see any reason why it is inherently good or important (though it may not always be INHERENTLY bad either).

Flybyguy: If nations do not have PRIDE and LOYALTY they will fall to pieces and be susceptible to civil wars and political turmoil. This is the case for a number of African countries to this day. Tribal loyalties far surpass national loyalties, therefore genocides and political unrest are commonplace. The African continent is by far the last region to see lasting peace because of all of these national "dis-loyalties"

Stratofish hit the nail on the head here. There are two reasons for this problem in Africa, and neither proves that Patriotism is good:

1.) Many of the countries in Africa are the result of artifical political boundaries resulting from European colonization, often cutting destructively across ethnic boundaries etc.. They were not formed from within but imposed from without.

2.) More important to this discussion: the same sentiments that I am criticizing when applied to a country (excessive "loyalty," or pride in group accomplishments or those of others in a GROUP over one's own) are equally destructive when appied to ethnic groups (nationalism), religions, tribes, even families ("family honor"). In other words, the African situation is just another version of the same "problem" of group pride, but on an ethnic/tribal level rather than national...

It is very selfish for people to live in a country and not have at least some pride in its accomplishments and defend it when it is being attacked either by slander or by hostile armies.

Selfish? I simply don't see how that comes into it. As long as one is a law-abiding citizen one has no "duty" to verbally defend one's in-group when it is acting badly. Again, why is "pride" and "saving face" more important that doing what is right?

If you disagree with this, can you state specifically WHY?

[Edited 2005-02-03 05:02:33]
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JetJock22
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:43 pm

I'm not ashamed to be an American. Do I feel sorry for the people that suffered through slavery, the Native Americans, etc? Yes, I feel sorry for them. Do I agree with it? Not one bit. But does that mean I have to be ashamed of my country? No.

"For me, patriotism is pride/love for one's country independently of one's own deeds (rather involving its history, etc.)" - I'm interested in how you view this as unrelated to your countries history. Isn't it tied into your country? Don't you feel an intrensic connection to your country based on its past events? I guess maybe I just don't understand how you can feel pride about your country just based on its name. For me at least, I take pride in its accomplishments, things it has done in the past. The past helps shape my view of the present. I don't think that's being blind or narrow minded, I think it is only human. I'm not disagreeing with you...well ok I am, but I'm just curious what ya think. We can agree to disagree.  Smile
 
QANTASforever
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:58 pm

N229NW:
I'm curious with your claim that patriotism is good and/or important "as long as it doesn't go too far. " How do you define patriotism. I guess we should be clear on our semantics.

I believe that love for one's country in its present state should be conditional
on the nation's willingness to embrace positive change.

I have two major problems with patriotism:

1) It can encourage staunch support for a status quo to the detriment of progress.

2) It has the tendency to promote "glazing over" of historical events that deserve solemn recognition.

I would call myself an Australian patriot - because I am actively working toward a better Australia - it is the relentless pursuit of improvement that make's nations things to be truly proud of. However - improvement is in the eye of the beholder - as are displays of love for one's country I suppose.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
JetJock22
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:02 pm

2) It has the tendency to promote "glazing over" of historical events that deserve solemn recognition.

- I agree with you, but isn't it the responsibility of a good patriot to educate him/herslef about these issues? I really think this is a problem that is getting out of control in our school's today
 
Newark777
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:37 pm

I too feel sorry for things that have gone wrong in our country's past, such as slavery, but this by no means takes away my pride for being a member or this great country. I am a descendant of people that immigrated here in the 19th century, some of the many millions of people who made this country great, and of people that fought in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, among others. I am proud that people who lived here before us were willing to give up their lives for this country and the values it stands for. I am proud to be able to take advantage of these rights that so many before me have fought for. God bless the USA!  Big thumbs up

Harry
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
JetJock22
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:42 pm

N229NW, I am a 5th great grandson of Robert E. Lee, so I have a unique perspective on it. I don't believe in the slavery aspect of the Confederacy, but I do understand why they fought and what they stood for. A 5th great grandfather on my dad's side of the family was captured by the Confederate Army and died in Andersonville. I wouldn't say I am proud to be related to the General of the CSA, but I embrace it as part of my heritage and I try to educate myself as much as I can and understand it. I think for me that is personally my stance. Instead of ebing ashamed of past events, we need to educate ourselves and understand why they happened and hopefully improve ourselves individually and as a country.
 
Falcon84
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:46 pm

Patriotism in and of itself is not a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with love of country, with being proud of it. But like anything-religion, politics, etc, if it gets in the hands of extremists, it is a dangerous thing. The line between good old fashioned patriotism and xenophobic ultra-nationalism is a very fine one.

When "patriotism" is trumpted in things like the Patriot Act (what a misnomer that is), or in invading weak nations, then that line has been crossed, imho. When it's used to justify stopping political expression-as in the proposed flag burning amendment here in the U.S., then it's crossed a line.

When it's used to call those who disagree with you "Un" or "anti" (American, in this case), it's crossed a line.

It's like anything else. When it's perverted, it's a terrible thing.
Work Right, Fly Hard
 
Newark777
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:57 pm

Falcon84:

I agree, very well put.

If anything, I feel bad for those Europeans who have no feelings towards their country, and really feel no connection to their country whatsoever.

Harry
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
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n229nw
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:21 pm

Qantas: I would call myself an Australian patriot - because I am actively working toward a better Australia
If you define patriotism that way, I agree that it can be a positive force.

Falcon: Patriotism in and of itself is not a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with love of country, with being proud of it.
You are probably right that it is not inherently a bad thing. Most people tend to assume that it is inherently a GOOD thing though, and this is what I am questioning here...

Jetjock: Don't you feel an intrensic connection to your country based on its past events?
Well, I feel that by chance I have been born into a situation that makes me quite fortunate materially and politically compared to most people in the world. I feel very lucky about this. I do feel a CONNECTION to my country based on history, because I am living the results of that history. And I am a part of how it continues. But that doesn't equate to the idea of pride for me.

I guess maybe I just don't understand how you can feel pride about your country just based on its name.

So, as said above, I don't feel pride just based on the name. I don't feel pride at all, unless I had a personal hand in something. Similarly, I don't feel any difference of emotion looking at a picture of a dead Iraqi (or any other non-American) versus a dead American. They are both people, and the group they belong to doesn't matter. It's different of course if I know the person personally, or know a lot about his/her life...then I tend to have more or less empathy based on what I know...

For me at least, I take pride in its accomplishments, things it has done in the past.

Maybe this is just about our different definitions of pride. For me "pride" involves not just happiness or pleasure, but a kind of sharing in TAKING CREDIT for something, and I don't see how we can take credit for things in past generations we didn't do.

Instead of being ashamed of past events, we need to educate ourselves and understand why they happened and hopefully improve ourselves...

Here I agree with you completely (and I agree with the way you approach being related to Lee). I feel the same way about being ashamed of past events as I do about being "proud" of them. Shame for me also involves guilt (i.e. sharing in taking credit/blame), so, like pride, I can't feel shame if I don't feel RESPONSIBILITY. Again, though, I personally don't see how one can take one (pride or shame in the PAST) WITHOUT THE OTHER...

As for the PRESENT: responsibily, credit and blame DO enter into things. Right now I feel more shame than pride in terms of how my country is acting in the world (and i suspect we disagree here, though this isn't central to the topic at hand). In any case, based on my own argument about our own actions versus other peoples', perhaps I shouldn't really feel this shame either, as long as I have done all I could to influence or change policy, and it thus isn't my own actions involved but those of others....

Newark777: God bless the USA!
Funny, I have a visceral reaction against this slogan, because, while I don't in theory have a problem with any country being "blessed," most people today seem to use this statement specifically to claim that the USA should be (or is inherently) MORE "blessed" or more "right" than other countries, that it therefore is automatically right in whatever it does. This basically becomes the kind of patriotism that I find very scary...

I think this is the longest post I've ever written. I need to go to bed now. Laugh out loud

[Edited 2005-02-03 07:27:12]
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Arrow
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:25 am

N229NW

Much this has already been said by other posters, but here's my take on why patriotism is a positive thing, within limits.

Love of country doesn't mean love of ideology. Citizens can love their country even if it is governed by a repressive, dictatorial regime. They will work to fix that, hopefully, in any way they can -- and that's what makes them patriots. Their love, or patriotism, revolves around the people, the history, and the land.

But if the patriotism turns to xenophobia -- we're better than everyone else, nobody else matters -- then it isn't patriotism so much as nationalism, and in extreme cases, racism. Witness what happened in Germany and Japan in the 1930s as the extreme, and what happens in many other countries, including the U.S., to a much lesser extent now. That's when patriotism is corrupted, and the practitioners start thinking they should impose their superior way of life on other people whether they like it or not. In the 19th century, the Brits called it "white man's burden" and used the philosophy to justify colonizing half the world -- the half that wasn't white.

Examples? The colonial empires of the 18th and 19th centuries (Britain, France Spain, etc.), the Soviet Empire of the 20th century and, sad to say, the current American empire -- reinforced by a couple of recent presidential speeches.

True patriotism, as has been said here by others, also involves a recogniton and acceptance that not everything done by the country you love has necessarily been honourable or just. That phrase "my country, right or wrong" carries a dangerous nuance that makes it sound like a person doesn't give a damn what the country is up to -- they'll support it anyway. That's not patriotism.

Doubt that I've added much here -- but the thread made me think about this for the first time in many years.
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NumberTwelve
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:39 am

Ok, we Germans aren't that Patriotic because of our past and the Politicians who brought us all the suffer. ("Deutschland Deutschland über alles").

But there is a "healthy" patriotism and a "abnormal" patriotism.

I don't want to generalise but for me a good example for healthy patriotism is Australia and abnormal patriotism (very often racism) is USA.

N229NW, I am happy to see that a US a.net member has critical thoughts against that sort of patriotism.

As long as I think my country is the center of the world, this is no Patriotism, this is Racism.
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JGPH1A
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:41 am

Re: If anything, I feel bad for those Europeans who have no feelings towards their country, and really feel no connection to their country whatsoever.

Don't feel bad, really. Given Europe's VERY long history of nationalistic wars, nationalism and anything that smacks of it is very much best avoided ! Besides, national patriotism is being replaced with something that is more culturally or linguistically based, for instance Spanish citizens from Catalunya express pride in being Catalan - being Spanish is more like an administrative detail. Same in the UK - people identify themselves largely with their English, Welsh, Irish or Scottish roots, and being British is less important nowadays. After all, many of Europe's national borders have moved about fairly wildly over the centuries, and really only settled down to their present form after WW1 (especially in Eastern Europe), so national identity is somewhat of an artificial construct by and large. After all there are Dutch and French speakers in Belgium, German speakers in the Czech Republic, Italian speakers in Switzerland, Catalan speakers in France, and heaven only KNOWS what they speak in Luxembourg !  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

With the exception of football hooliganism and loony fringe elements like UKIP, the more unpleasant aspects of nationalism are a fading memory, thank goodness.
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ussherd
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:16 am

I wonder if the patriotism displayed by the American people today is merely a result of the fact that the US is the only remaining military superpower, and in effect, this is the heyday of the “American Empire.” It seems to me that the same kind of patriotism seen in the US today, used to be fairly typical of the British in the days of the British Empire.

People were proud to see the British flag flying all over the world; proud of the fact that one quarter of the world's map was shaded in pink; proud that "the sun never set on the British Empire." Now, the empire feels like it belonged to some other country. We don't even call ourselves British half the time - unless you're a Northern Irish Protestant! (I live in N. Ireland, by the way.) There was enormous pride in the industrial and military strength of Britain; a conviction that the Empire was unbeatable. These days, I can't imagine anyone singing, “Rule Britannia, Britain rules the waves; and the British never, never shall be slaves” without feeling slightly ridiculous. "God Save the Queen" used to mean something to the British people, in the same way that "God bless America" is heartfelt in the US - nowadays the national anthem means nothing to most. There was the belief that to be British was the best thing that anyone could possibly be; the feeling that (to quote my true-blue British grandmother) "foreigners may be very nice people in their way, but they're not quite the thing. I remember seeing a period movie, where an English lady said that "the ways of England are the ways of the world" People really felt that way. To be sure, some segments of Middle England probably still believe, in their heart of hearts, that to be British is to be special; a cut above the rest - hence the aversion to all things EU-esque. But even they probably wouldn't get teary eyed for love of country.

Its funny how patriotism can work – just look at the UK and Ireland. I know there are differences between the English (and between the English regions), Welsh, Scots, Irish, Manx, etc… but we’re not really all that different. We share a common language (complete with a myriad of accents), an intertwined history, a fairly common culture and heritage (come on; no-one experiences culture shock by moving from Belfast to Manchester, and if they do, it’s probably because they’ve let a very narrow existence back home.) All that’s different is the label. The same hold true for other parts of the world - We Venezuelans are brought up to despise the Colombians, who, apart from the accent and the fact that they're much better mannered, are just the same as Venezuelans. Go figure!

On a personal level, would I give my life for queen and country? No. If I went to war, it would be because I felt I had to, to protect my way of life and to safeguard the safety of the people I love. For me, patriotism is being a law-abiding citizen, a responsible member of the community and a decent human being.
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slider
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Fri Feb 04, 2005 5:17 am

Funny, I have a visceral reaction against this slogan, because, while I don't in theory have a problem with any country being "blessed," most people today seem to use this statement specifically to claim that the USA should be (or is inherently) MORE "blessed" or more "right" than other countries, that it therefore is automatically right in whatever it does. This basically becomes the kind of patriotism that I find very scary...

Without getting off-track too much, I would like to address this:

When one invokes God in terms of talking about their country, it is a recognition of the fact that it was in fact a common set of IDEALS, not geographic accident or a singular race that unites Americans. We are in fact blessed that the rights we recognize are in fact granted by God and manifested in (prior to 1776) an absolutely never-seen-before notion that all men are equal, and that it is their talents and abilities that separate them from another, not simply birthright.

What I find patriotic is the idea that it is that very ideal of freedom and responsibility that for over 225 years has been unparalleled. Where do oppressed peoples come? To whom do they see as a beacon of freedom and opportunity? America.

That's NOT to say that America is infallible...certainly not, nor would I imply that. But as above posters have mentioned about slavery for example- I think it's also important to note that it is our heritage of freedom that enables America to rip off it's own scabs, reveal it's own weaknesses and flaws and correct them. There are few nations in the history of modern civilization that have acted in such a manner.

The whole concept of "E Pluribus Unum" is so profound that it's miraculous that a nation so diverse can be as wildly successful.

As far as patriotism, Phxairfan made the perfect point about patriotism VS nationalism. I'm not an advocate of blind followership in the name of knig or country, but for those who recognize and appreciate the ideals for which our nation stands, it's humbling. Patriotism is hardly the refuge of those less intellectual than others.

And I'm not ashamed to admit that I've cried hearing our anthem, I breakdown on occasion when I hear or see soldiers sacrificing for our nation, and (call me crazy) but I do believe there are some things worth fighting and dying for. And one of those includes your nation--more importantly--the ideals that nation seeks to reflect.
 
Stoney
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:02 am

The way patriotism is described by some people (Slider, Ussherd, Sprigbok747 Smokin cool) it really is something good, productive and can keep a nation together. And judging by many replies, there are still many persons who know where the line between patriotism and nationalism lies.

For me this line is crossed as soon an patriotism is used as an argument for anything, or as soon as unpatriotic starts becoming an insult for persons who don't do as the majority does.

Greetz
Stoney

@Flybyguy (nice name BTW): This is a problem we won't be able to solve in the near-future. But we'll surely try. What is to say is that it's hard become a Swiss citizen (it's a public vote), but it's hard for everyone, regardless of wealth, race, or origin. And talking about not very patriotic: Is a country where:
- you get laughed at when you are in the military
- politicians aren't all too much respected
- nobody thinks too much good of the police
- probably not even every tenth person knows the national anthem by heart and
- saluting the flag is a sign of nationalism and connected to the farfar-right (almost Nazi-style)
really that patriotic and proud?? All the people who would have to lead, protect and hold our nation upright are just that, people, no more and no less.
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n229nw
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:29 am

For this whole discussion, I think it is worth defining the difference between patriotism and nationalism better. Historically, nationalism is the belief (arising through Enlighenment-period ideas) that ethnic-linguistic ties are what bind people most closely, and that such ties should determine who forms together into self-governing countries rather than the earlier idea of allegiance to a monarch with divine right. Meanwhile, patriotism is generally an attachment to a government or system independently of specific "nationalist" concerns. In this respect, patriotism was around long before nationalism really existed as an idea.

Nationalism is not really a problem in the US (outside of some small racially determined fringe-groups), while it has been the major force behind most of the wars in Europe over the past 200 years, and has since become a driving force behind wars in Asia as well, and around the world.

Obviously, however, there are many shared elements in nationalist and patriotic mindsets: the idea of pride in group accomplishments etc. Patriotism and nationalism are perhaps two facets of the same basic human drive (as family allegiance, tribe allegiance, etc.).

Slider: Interesting post: I don't think it is at all off-topic. I agree with some of what you write, especially: The whole concept of "E Pluribus Unum" is so profound that it's miraculous that a nation so diverse can be as wildly successful.. I also like the "rip off the scabs" analogy, though I would argue that many, many other countries have done the same thing over the years.

Still, I see things somewhat differently from you.

When one invokes God in terms of talking about their country, it is a recognition of the fact that it was in fact a common set of IDEALS, not geographic accident or a singular race that unites Americans.

But 1.) Having a supposedly shared set of ideals does not make people right, and the "God bless us" mentality seems to suggest that it does.
Amd 2.) In any case, that doesn't seem to me how most people use this invocation. God is called upon to bless or defend pretty much any in-group against any out-group. God is supposed to bless one sports team playing another, etc. And God is invoked--in this country and across the world--in just the same way when people DO mean geographic accident or when they are talking racially.

We are in fact blessed that the rights we recognize are in fact granted by God and manifested in (prior to 1776) an absolutely never-seen-before notion that all men are equal, and that it is their talents and abilities that separate them from another, not simply birthright.

Well, although we are the first Western nation specifically FOUNDED on these ideas, they were certainly not "never-before-seen" prior to 1776. Those ideas rely very heavily on the thinking of Brits like John Locke at the start of the 17th century, the fallout from the English civil war in the mid-17th century-- and, perhaps most directly, French, Swiss, and Scottish Enlightenment thinkers from the middle of the 18th century, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and later James Beattie (who for example was passionately against slavery long before it became an issue here in the US). Ignoring these precedents seems itself a distorition resulting from a patriotic viewpoint, just what I am talking about when I criticize patriotism in general.

What I find patriotic is the idea that it is that very ideal of freedom and responsibility that for over 225 years has been unparalleled.

And similarly, while the US is certainly a free country, there are plenty of other countries just as free on various measurement scales, and a good handful that are MORE free in different ways, such as freedom of the press...

JGPH1A: With the exception of football hooliganism and loony fringe elements like UKIP, the more unpleasant aspects of nationalism are a fading memory, thank goodness.

Hope you are right. But those parties appear to be GAINING strength rather than losing strength (as with their counterparts all across Europe). The issue of immigration seems to have awakened a dormant strain of nationalist rhtetoric in Europe that scares me too, whether it is LePen, Haider, Fortuyn, or the watered down version in the Daily Mail and the Sun and Kilroy.
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stlgph
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:23 am

Yes, I am proud to be patriotic. So I just forget my country that goes against its own constitution and wants to minoritize groups or populations that goes against unjust or unfound Christian right wing principles.

But of course being a Patriot, my main duty is to support unjust military actions, but hey, all that doesn't matter as long as soccer moms can continue to off-road.
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SlamClick
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:38 am

Staffan it is obvious that you know very little about the demographics of the US.

Whether their entry was legal or not, if we gave the Spanish-speaking immigrants their own state it would be one of the most heavily populated in the USA. Our treatment of them, while it does have its rocky spots, is among the most generous treatment of any immigrants to any nation in all of human history. All they have to do is have a baby born here and they never have to leave because their child is a citizen. Can I do that in Sweden? Can a person from Chad do that in Sweden?

They come here and get low end jobs (or better if they have a trade) they buy cars from individuals and never license or insure them. They get away with it by selling the cars to their brothers or cousins after a couple of months. It becomes untraceable. I've heard of a construction site that had six or seven illegals working under two or three identities each. José didn't show up today but 'Nando did. It is the same person and I still haven't figured out what kind of scam I'm seeing there but it is getting common.

So no matter what our laws say, our actual treatment of them is mostly to look the other way.

On the other hand, I was denied entry into Canada because they got the idea that I was coming there to work when all I was going to do was deliver some printed matter to a group of people. I'd say our borders are too open.

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ANCFlyer
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:19 am

Patriotism . . . . interesting concept. What does my Patriotism mean to me . . . .

My Patriotism is being proud to be American. Yes, proud. Damn proud. Lucky to have been born here; lucky to live here. I have been to all 54 US States and Territories, and 27 Foreign Countries, been shot at in a few of those countries as they have not been very friendly given my past profession. Having looked at all that I have seen in this world, I'm PROUD to be American and LUCKY to have been born American. If that makes me dangerous as someone said above, then, so be it.

My Patriotism is being able to support this country and it's democratically elected government and to equally be able to question actions of that government without fear of being jailed or killed for my actions; without fear of my family being jailed or killed for my actions.

My Patriotism is borne from many years defending the country and it's ideals and the citizens in this country, without regard for personal comfort or convenience. It was, IMHO, my duty and it was an awesome ride. It is, IMHO again, everyones duty. There are those that disagree, and I support and defend that, just as I have for my adult life. That is defending this country's ideals.

My Patriotism is to wish well on every other nation and their citizens. In turn, I hope they wish well on my country and I.

My Patriotism is to question that which I find disturbing, support that which I do not, and defend the right of others to do the same whether we agree or not.

My Patriotism is flying my US Flag on my house, on my camper, on my truck and any damn where else I see fit, and to dare anyone to deface or burn that flag. It's not fascism, it's Patriotism. I am not, as was suggested above and in another thread, weak of mind or morality, I am an American Patriot. When I go to other countries, I expect to see that country's Standard flying high. I do not think them fascist for doing so, exactly the opposite, I think them proud of their nation and their heritage. That is their Patriotism.

My Patriotism is realizing that with all good things, comes some bad. There is a line to be drawn. I must understand when issues colored as Patriotic are truly not so, that I have a Patriotic duty to raise question about those issues, lest I become no better than those involved with the issue.

My Patriotism is the love of this country. Although love is an emotional state not logical, it is possible to love a country, as it also possible to 'love' an inanimate object. It isn't physical, it's not like loving a dog or a good woman or family. It is a love of an a set of ideals. When those ideals are attacked they must be defended, whether they are attacked from within or without.

And as Forrest Gump said, "That's all I got to say about that".




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174thfwff
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:33 am



That's on my arm. I love my country, I love the values (for the most part) that we collectively share as a nation...I want to be a cop when I'm older. Came to school for business, but I never wanted to be rich. Never found myself happier then when I help out others. Wanted to become a firefighter/medic as I've been volunteer for a few years now, however I'd prefer to just look at the blood rather then clean it up and fix the war wound.

My Patriotism is the love of this country. Although love is an emotional state not logical, it is possible to love a country, as it also possible to 'love' an inanimate object. It isn't physical, it's not like loving a dog or a good woman or family. It is a love of an a set of ideals. When those ideals are attacked they must be defended, whether they are attacked from within or without.


ANCFlyer, very powerful post. I agree with everything you have said.
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Klaus
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:48 am

ANCflyer, if everybody had the same concept of patriotism as you presented it above, nobody could have a proplem with it, I´d say.  Smile

I´m happy for every country that has its citizens support it while recognizing any possible failings and trying to rectify them, and still respecting other nations at the same time.

As the saying goes, you can´t really be called a patriot if you´re not ready to love or at least respect somebody else´s home country at the same time!  Big thumbs up


If we could only get rid of the mindless, frenetic nationalism that´s afraid of looking reality in the eye and is instead wallowing in delusions of imagined superiority over others much like being drunk or high on drugs... We could be close to heaven!
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:51 am

Klaus - the other country I thoroughly enjoy to no end - Duetschland! I spent a lot of time there - and have been back to visit - it's my favorite place on earth other than Alaska. . . . .

Regards!
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
Klaus
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:58 am

ANCFlyer: Klaus - the other country I thoroughly enjoy to no end - Duetschland! I spent a lot of time there - and have been back to visit - it's my favorite place on earth other than Alaska. . . . .

Well, thank you!  Big thumbs up
One thing I´m certainly a little envious about is that we still haven´t got proper snow again, over here... But there´s no shortage of that over there, I guess...  Wink/being sarcastic
 
SLC1
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 8:45 am

I'm proud to be an American, just as I'm proud to be a Canadian. I'm patriotic in that I celebrate my heritage and nationality. Does that mean I should get behind my country's government all the time, or its leaders, of course not! For example, I feel uncomfortable saying the pledge of allegiance, I pledge allegiance to the ideals of America, but that doesn't mean I'm always going to support the government, for who knows what they'll do next. I'm from Utah, and I make fun of Utah all the time, but when someone from outside the state says Utah sucks, I'm liable to kick their ass (figuratively of course). Now, the Utah state legislature is a joke, as is the new Governor by Nepotism moron, and my ideology is contrary to about 70% of the Utah population, but I still proudly call myself a Utahn.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:33 pm

I'm a Patriot & respect another Patriots view.
Guess its difficult to explain But a patriot would understand  Smile
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
dl021
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RE: Patriotism: Your Thoughts?

Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:50 pm

I'm a patriot. I say the pledge with pride. I exercised my priviledge to serve my country.

I did it all voluntarily, and thats probably why I do or did it all.....


because I live somewhere I don't have to.

Patriotism is not blind following, nor is it jingoistic crap. It's recognition of the greater ideas that our country represents, and our constant effort to realize those goals.

I'm a patriot because we can have these debates on our streets knowing that our rights to voice our opinions will be defended to the death even by those who disagree with us.

You guys who don't like patriots, or even fear them. Thats your right.

You're welcome.
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