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View Diary: I am not a patriot (42 comments)

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  •  easy (4.00)
    My diary tried to focus on patriotic DISSENT. Like the difference between 'my country, right or wrong', and the quote somebody gave of 'Our country -- when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right'. Critical,  patriotism.
    Without that essential ingredient, we do have the rabid nationalism you mentioned, which already IS a problem with the neocon men.  

    Fyi.. I recommended this diary, because I feel BOTH viewpoints are correct in a sense.. and should be discussed. I had to laugh when I saw the title!

    •  I do appreciate the recommend =) (none)
      I was hoping you'd post here -- this diary started out as something I was going to post on yours, but it got too long and I didn't want to disrupt that conversation.

      I get that you're focusing on the idea that dissent is patriotic -- and I'm certainly not wanting to accuse you or indeed much at all of what I saw in the comments on your diary as espousing the neocon brand of patriotism.

      But I do think it's a mistake to invoke patriotism in support of dissent -- to try and frame dissent as patriotic. Partly it's that dissent and a politically critical stance not particular to any one nation, so why frame dissent as a 'patriotic' value rather than as a human value? Why not frame it in terms of responsible citizenship (although even that's not without its problems IMO), say, rather than patriotism?

      But it's not just that. One of the big problems with patriotism is that it is not just about love for the place where you live -- it's also about inclusion, exclusion and ownership.

      So, for example, I lived in the States for quite a few years, and I sure as hell dissented lots while I was there. And I guess I've continued to dissent in a number of ways since leaving. If dissent is patriotic, does that make me a U.S. patriot? Did my dissent count less because I'm not a U.S. citizen? I'd say 'no' and 'no' on both counts, but I met no shortage of people who would have answered 'yes' to the last.

      Hmm, coherency is evading me tonight.

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Wed Feb 23, 2005 at 03:27:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  worthy of thought at least (none)
        Thing is, I was bringing up the topic of patriotism not because I'm rabidly for it, but because its a potent political tool. The power behind patriotism is really about ownership, as you note. Romans would say they are a citizen OF rome.. that they were 'owned' by the empire. Modern patriots would talk about 'MY America'.. that they owned it. subtle, but massive difference.
        As others brought up, this can be applied in different ways, through  patriotism to the the state or the 'national' ideals. I chose ideals, believing that the true values of america are not just ours, but humanities.
        Most values are important to people only when they can 'own' them. So among other things, I was showing how to stand behind a set of values and 'own' them.

        You are right in that this is dangerous, and divisive. But the more dangerous alternative, blind nationalism is already quite prevalent in country these days. I thought re-directing this patriotism towards our true ideals would be at least worth a shot on political terms.

        •   Yeah (none)
          I think I know what you mean -- I used to fight about this with a friend when I lived in the States. His argument was essentially that the concept of patriotism has such emotive force and potency that tactically, we can't afford to cede it to the Republicans -- that we have to reclaim it in order to win.

          I don't see that as being quite what your argument is, but it seems to me that they are somewhat akin?

          I totally agree that patriotism is a hugely powerful political tool. But I don't think the left can use it. The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house and all that.

          Hmmm. Have you read Robert Jensen's essay Saying Goodbye to Patriotism? He addresses the issue of using the language of patriotism as a tactical move -- I found what he had to say really compelling when I read it. And it's a great essay -- it's particular to the U.S., but the general ideas apply more broadly I think.

          I also think you're absolutely right about people needing to feel a sense of political ownership -- my hope is that there are places they can get that sense of ownership other than patriotism.

          I think that part of the strategy needs to be figuring out how to get people to own internationalism.

          I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

          by dove on Wed Feb 23, 2005 at 06:00:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Very interesting article (none)
            I read the article, and I actually thought it hit rather hard, although it missed a few key points.  Critical is the conclusion. I don't feel you can push your values without convincing people to listen.

            It all comes back to politics in the end. What do you do when your entire cause and everything you say is dismissed as the ranting of a traitor? Because that is what republicans are doing right now.

            I WANT to say I am for humanity. But that would just be mocked, derided and ignored. I want to say I am for freedom, for liberty.. all the ideals that america has, but belongs to the world. But that would also be ignored, ranting of a traitor. It is deplorable when a country comes to such ends. So I will fight with every tool in my arsenal to oppose it. If it needs patriotism, I'll use it. Its not quite the same argument as your friend, as I'm using patriotism in more than one way. But it does essentially boil down to that, yes.

            Thing is, thats the only tool I can see to oppose such blind nationalism. If I can take back the mantel of patriotism from extremists, maybe they will listen this time. And once they listen, I'll bring out my other tools.

            You might note that I did go on as .. I believe.. then say I'm a patriot. My values define my patriotism, as it should be. But there's a twist. Pushing "American" values along with patriotism both makes the argument harder to ignore, and pushes our values.

            Nothing is ever black and white though.. and more than one way of approaching a problem usually works best. I though that article failed to mention a counter proposal besides getting rid of the 'rude' patriotism. Do you have an ideas how to do this?

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