Neo-Liberal Revolution

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Patriotism and Hypocrisy - Hand and Glove

Heh. Is that subject title provocative enough for you?

Yes, this is my 4th of July post. I'm going to lay it on the line here: A whole bunch of people should take this opportunity to get their heads out of their rears. They should, they probably won't, but I have to believe that they will.


Patriotism is about ideals and myths. It's about hopes, dreams, and starry eyed longings.

Patriotism is about what we STAND FOR, it's not about what we ARE. It's about liberty and justice for all... even if it's never ever been that way. And unless and until people internalize that vision of liberty and justice for all, of freedom, of equality for all people... it not only won't happen. It CAN'T happen. The ideal always precedes the reality. Always.

When the pilgrims established the colonies for religious freedom, those colonies had none. But they had the ideal. That ideal made it possible to gain true religious freedom and tolerance. We still hold to that ideal and it's what allows us to work for justice.

When our country made a grand proclamation that all men are equal, there was no equality. But there was the ideal. That ideal made it possible to end slavery and get votes for women and minorities.

Rule of law didn't exist when even a win in the Supreme Court failed to stop the theft of land from Native Americans. But the ideal was there. The ideal was not abandoned because reality was lacking.

When Hitler was sending Jews to gas chambers, both the US and England were at the forefront of the eugenics movement. Argument could be made that Hitler was only taking what was preached by us to it's logical conclusion. Should our guilt require that we do nothing?

Among sinners we are foremost. Well, not really. When Paul said he was the biggest sinner he wasn't comparing himself to others and seriously saying that he sinned more. Nor is the US the worst sinner in the world, far from it. That's not the point. The point is that any imperfection is total and we should remember and remain humble.

Humble, but not trapped into a vegetative state of enforced inactivity. Not using that imperfection as an excuse to abandon the ideal that wasn't reached. The ideal, justice and freedom and equality... perfect justice and freedom and equality... is not reachable by flawed human beings, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

We're not pledging allegiance to what is, we're pledging allegiance to what should be.

We are, in fact, claiming something about ourselves that isn't perfectly true. Which means we are hypocrits.

That's a good thing.

Linked on Wizbang... read Lorie Byrd's post about patriotism.

Correction: And to the republic for which it stands... I knew I was missing part of that. I can't believe that no one left a note calling me on that one. (sounds of crickets chirping)


  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger Joe said…

    Excellent post. Too many seem to think that if we are not perfect, they cannot be proud. Recently saw a comment from a KOSsack that said they could not be proud to be an American since a Marine was alleged to have raped an Iraqi woman. Actually, he did not say "alleged." Notwithstanding the fact that we are actually trying to do something about such possible atrocities, which sets us apart from just about any country in history. In any event, I thought you captured the sentiments very well. Good job.

  • At 10:11 PM, Blogger Synova said…

    Thanks, Joe.

    I think that the older I get the more I value the real world consequences of idealism and optimism. It's so much healthier than cynicism and negativity.

    As for reports of the rape and murder by one of our soldiers. I hope it's not true. Some people have questioned how it's even possible, not that someone in uniform can't possibly be a rapist or murderer, but along with motive there has to be opportunity. Our soldiers simply don't wander about on their own, if for no other reason than it's not safe.

    There are criminals in the military just like there are in the regular population. While I was in the PI someone at Clark had his wife murdered. A bunch of wives ran a prostitution ring. Several parents abused their children. And someone impregnated a 12 year old. The military police don't just guard the gates, they act like any other police department. The office of special investigations acts like the FBI. (How they caught the guy who had his wife murdered was fascinating.)

    But I digress.


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