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Monday, September 9, 2013
When questioning so-called slogans of patriotism (“Support the Troops” is receiving attention), let’s not create new slogans such as “American Patriotism.” Americans, and their definitions of “patriotism,” are diverse, and that diversity is one of our greatest riches. It also provides one of our greatest frustrations, but democracy is fueled by frustration that seeks change for the world.
Claiming that “American patriotism” is one massive groupthink gesture is as ill informed as suggesting that all Christians are kind, or all Buddhists are pacifists, or all Muslims are nonviolent. For some Americans, patriotism is only waving the flag; for others, it is only challenging the flag.
For most of us, patriotism is a blend of identity and investigation of that identity as we make our way through considering, rejecting and reassessing our world and America’s role in it. Look at how we argue and struggle and change our minds over electing men and women to represent America and its understanding of itself.
Do some hide their corporate and political agendas behind the guise of patriotism? Of course, just as Christians, Buddhists and Muslims have hidden their agendas behind the guise of faith. That’s not patriotism. That’s not most of us.
JANE A. WEMHOENER
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