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My Patriotism is Bigger Than Yours

I keep hearing a lot about how Sarah Palin is ‘patriotic’, & that trumps her lack of qualifications and general awfulness. I’m usually quick to dismiss this as lazy thinking, since patriotism is a love of country, and a country is a set of principles (or truths that we hold self-evident ), and the current Republican party has systematically flouted these principles in a base grab at power & money.

I can understand, intellectually, how corporate news and media can manipulate and instill opinion. It’s one thing to laugh at ‘talking points’ of political parties and the soul-sapping ridiculousness of Fox News, but obviously they are strategies that have been proven to work.

I think one of the most stunning achievements of the 20th century is how political and media outlets have convinced the average American that the movements that our grandparents fought for, such as working rights (unions, labor laws, minimum wages, corporate responsibility ), women’s rights, and civil rights…all of which, by the way, spurred on by progressive or ‘leftist’ leaders and principles…are now somehow equated with dirty words (liberal, elitist, socialism – oooooohhh).

And financial policies that reward the rich, the famous, and the lucky are somehow more ‘American’ than the progressive policies (like the New Deal, GI Bill, et al) that actually did allow this country to develop and grow to be a world superpower. Meanwhile, citizens that oppose war – no matter how it started (lies, manipulation, etc.) somehow hate the troops and are not, in a word, patriotic.

That supposedly free-thinking American patriots can easily discover that they were lied to (it is a matter of factual, public record, afer all) yet still accept the assurances of these evil men, their mouthpieces, and their war profiteer allies again points to the effectiveness of fear, propaganda, and cynicism.

Perhaps they’re just selling a perverted brand of the future: You might be rich one day, so keep on supporting the rich folk…Why fund health care for kids or the poor when it’s their parents responsibility?….Why pay 10% of your income for national health care today when you can go bankrupt from your own medical crisis in a few years?

No…they’re selling selfishness, enabling egotism, and fostering fear and hatred. And playing us for saps.

I went looking for some clarity on the meaning of patriotism from those wiser than me…trying to shy away from famous Nazis (despite their expertise)…and came across this from Rabbi Sherwin Wine:

There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers
and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very
suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to
science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It
sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance
to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our
constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to
millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding
revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of
reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and
affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as
a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It
defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it
strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational
conformity.

This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free
society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to
defend it against all its enemies.

Well said.

And speaking (light-heartedly) of un-patriots…

Follow the breaking Sarah Palin-is-an-anti-american-facist news at Dickipedia:

“As mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin went to work immediately fighting
big government by cutting funding to the city museum and shaking up the
“Alaska old boy network” by firing the town librarian (who was, in
fact, an old woman). Re-elected in 1999, Palin shook up the old boy
network even further by working with Ted Stevens’ chief of staff to
obtain tens of millions of dollars in federal earmarks. Term limits may
have prevented her running a third time, but they didn’t stop her from
totally dicking over her step-mother-in-law in the 2002 Wasilla mayoral
election by endorsing her opponent. The opponent won.

Palin made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in
2002, spewed further offspring, and was then appointed by arctic dick
Governor Frank Murkowski to chair the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation
Commission. She repaid Murkowski by unseating him less than three years
later in the Republican gubernatorial primary, running on a
clean-government platform, opposed to earmarks—like the ones she
garnered for Wasilla—and political nepotism—like her appointment to the
Oil and Gas Commission.”

[thanks to clayton cubitt]

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