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Sure, there has been and still is, plenty wrong with the Great Republic.  The struggle to improve is eternal.

American liberals who celebrate the inherent greatness of the country's political system - who look beyond its failures and look to its strengths for support - will convince more of their countrymen that progressivism is innately American.

But to do that, they have to choose love, over the grudge.

http://davidkeithlaw.wordpress.com/...

It seems that there are so many stupid patriots, some people have decided that it is stupid to be a patriot.

This I think captures a great weakness of some American liberal thinking – the habitual denigration of the country and fear of celebrating its marked advantages over other countries.  A shying away from the glories of the country’s history, cultural legacy and institutional strengths, because large swaths of that history were harshly injust.  Or because the current politcal climate is so toxic.

But if Americans have inherited such great possibility and historical achievement, how smart is it to ignore that while critiquing the nation’s flaws? It is neither fair nor accurate.  It is like hating your sister for life, because she stole your boyfriend in high school.  If you choose your grievance over your sister, what you will have is a bad memory and grudge where love might be.

This error robs liberals of their most powerful argument: that America was meant to be progressive. That the Enlightenment tenets of the Founders were radically liberal – not conservative, not collectivist, not socialist, but humanistic and individualist. A philosophy and government structure imbued with the seed of liberty- which inevitably translates into a lifting of burdens from the oppressed.  As it has done and will continue to do.

But to express that, one must believe it, and to believe it, one must choose love over the grudge.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm not a fan of American Exceptionalism (4+ / 0-)

    I see it as an impediment to an honest look at the problems facing the country and the world, and from what I've seen the people who are the biggest cheerleaders for American greatness tend to be uninterested in learning new things because they already have all the answers. I don't see how this type of attitude can be helpful to progressives in any way.

    Furthermore, the notion that people on the left have a "grudge" against America that resembles high school drama is foolish and insulting. Good luck with your diary.

  •  Love them drone bombings (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar, Icicle68

    and the kill lists and murder of civilians, and the needless wars, and the curtailment of rights under NDAA, and the Military industrial complex, and the imperialism, and let's not forget the lack of universal health care and being forced to buy private insurance that I can't afford.

    I love the disparity of income, the inexorable push to enslave the less fortunate to the wealthy class.

    But most of all, I love the destruction of the global environment, and our lack of leadership to keep from (possibly) driving ourselves to the very brink of extinction.

    What's not to like?

    Oh, and let's not forget torture of prisoners. And rendition. And indefinite detention.

    And the way dissenters are spied upon as if terrorists.

    America! Almost perfect!

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:38:58 AM PDT

    •  Ah, but the diary speaks to the complete (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen

      glorious history, of genocide at home and in the philippines, of imperialism, colonialism, a history of torture and murder since day one combined with an anti-eaglitarian undepinning, the franchisee limited to white male landholders, etc. Ahh, what a great and glorious past, with government helping capitalists murder strikers, lefties, union organizers and the like, you gota just love the place, because "Patriotism" - the last (first & continuing) refuge of the scoundrel. - blind devotion to one's country not for anything it is, does, or has done, not for any good qualities it possesses, but simply because one lives there.  Ah yes, wave that flag & drink that Bud, 'cause we're number 1.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 01:29:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It seems your call to patriotism and love (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    is falling deaf ears here. Not surprising, but still frustrating.

    •  There is no connection between patriotism and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost and Found, terrybuck

      love, sorry. They are in many cases antithetical, in fact.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 01:30:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  Sure. Sad to come to Daily Kos and imply that... (0+ / 0-)

          ...liberals are not sufficiently patriotic.

        •  Sad indeed that somebody equate love with (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrybuck

          unthinking devotion and worship as well as supporting and aiding in all things, including heinous wrongdoing.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 06:43:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  IS that how you define (0+ / 0-)

            patriotism? Wow.

            •  Uh, that's what it means. Some sources (0+ / 0-)

              reference "love" of one's country, but that is sick. One loves persons and perhaps other life. One who loves things, clothes, jewelry, wealth, a plot of dirt, etc. have problems. In short, it is not a correct choice of words. But unquestioning support and "devotion" are what it is all about - "My country right or wrong". It is brother or handmaiden to nationalism and jingoism, to imperialism and militarism,; read a little history, please.

              It is not illiberal to love, care about and for and support people instead of place, humans over hegemony, and global wellbeing over greed based imperialism.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:10:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I read plenty (0+ / 0-)

                and you have particular definition, which is fine. There is nothing wrong to me and most, to love one's country and be proud of the good things inherent in our society and history.

                And i see no definition that says 'unquestioning support and "devotion" are what it is all about - "My country right or wrong".

                •  Do you also love your shoes and other (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  terrybuck

                  inanimate stuff, maybe some photos or icons?

                  And i see no definition that says 'unquestioning support and "devotion" are what it is all about - "My country right or wrong".
                  Perhaps, but that is how it is used and always has been used, so perhaps that's what "devotion" to an inanimate object entails.

                  That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                  by enhydra lutris on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:55:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  really? (0+ / 0-)

                    "... and always has been used". There is no other definition or usage you can come across? And you said i should read? Wow.

                    You have a taken a few extreme uses of the term, which rightly offend you, and decided that is what it means. You are going to let the names of two bills define your terminology?

                    A country isn't inanimate. It is made up of people.

                    •  The country is inanimite, (0+ / 0-)

                      part land, part water, with specificied boundaries and airspace, embassies, treaties, laws and a history, a history of genocide, murder, unprovoked aggression, colonialism, imperialism, and, since WWII, if you include proxy wars, endless warfare and endless assaults by the "patriotic" on peaceniks, socialists, lefties and other "unpatriotic" types for not towing the "My country right or wrong" line which, since you seem unfamiliar with it, is from one of our early and very famous heroes, famous in part for that little bit of "patriotism".

                      The patriot missile (not a bill) and the patriot act are simply examples of how the word is really used, as are the actions and statements of the extreme right wing, not causess of anything. I knew that I was not a patriot before I even learned of Viet Nam, because I don't like unthinking devotion to anything, especially an inanimate object. What a word means, fwiw, depends upon current usage whenever that deviates rom dictionary usage for a sufficiently extended period, such as happened in this country since at least the fifties.

                      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                      by enhydra lutris on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 05:14:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Jeez if you hate this place so much (0+ / 0-)

                        I hope you have some meds to get you through the day.

                        •  You should have just used your 'whatever' retort. (0+ / 0-)
                        •  No hate involved, don't project. (0+ / 0-)

                          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                          by enhydra lutris on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:53:49 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Ok, dislike? Unhappy with? (0+ / 0-)

                            I certainly didn't see anything positive in the responses.

                          •  It may surprise you to learn that there are (0+ / 0-)

                            many of us whose emotional responses are not limited to a simplistic love or hate dichotomy, but who are capable of a wide range of complex emotions.

                            More importantly, many of us are capable of something other than a purely emotional response to things, even completely non-emotional responses. As I have tried to indicate, many of us consider emotional responses to be completely inappropriate for inanimate objects. I do not love or worship or feel devotion to, or hate or abjure things; shoes, diamonds, ikons, clothing or bits of territory.

                            Some of us also try to be objective and hence not good cheerleaders. If the truth is objectionable to you, fine, but it is not wrongdoing of any type to tell it. If you prefer some alternate reality, fine, but that is not my problem and does not make objectivity wrong in any sense whatsoever. Such is life, sorry.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:39:43 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  dude (0+ / 0-)

                            I get it. You don't love anything but people.

                            Ot may surprise you but some people DO have pride in the good things about this country including the millions of great people that are a part of it. We are not cheerleaders. We don't make emotional responses. We are objective. And seek and treasure the truth. The truth is that this country, for all its flaws is also a great place. This country is based on a great idea, not the whim of the current caretakers.  If that isn't something you can comprehend then I am sorry.

                          •  The great idea of murdering the indigenous (0+ / 0-)

                            population to steal their land and importing slaves from abroad to work it? Perhaps the idea that all free males are equal, unless indentured, and that any such who are landholders should vote to elect their government? Manifest destiny? 54-40 or fight? The only good (   ) is a dead (     )? Which of these is the great idea?

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 10:51:18 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  All men are created equal (0+ / 0-)

                            Representative democracy
                            Three coequal branches
                            Federalism
                            The Constitution
                            The 27 amendments
                            Freeing billions from oppression
                            The capacity to progress socially, politically, and policy wise peacefully.
                            I could go on.

                            Now I'll ask is there anything you DO like about this country?

                          •  Yes. But real stuff, unlike freeing billions (0+ / 0-)

                            from oppression which never happened.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:09:44 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  BTW, as evidence of what it really means (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  terrybuck

                  I submit to representative U.S. centric uses, the Patriot Missile, and the Patriot Act.

                  That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                  by enhydra lutris on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:01:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  disliking criminal govt. IS loving the country (4+ / 0-)

    tell me, what makes you think there is anything but love for the U.S.?

  •  This is a critical point we would do well to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Mister T

    remember.  Liberalism has a very positive and uplifting vision to offer that we should emphasize over finger pointing and insult.  IT is particularly true because we are dedicated to writing injustices, which naturally draws our attention to the flaws and anger toward those who perpetuate them.  So, being an angry liberal is totally natural, but I think that we will catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  Thus, we will probably have more success and also feel happier if we try to remind ourselves to steer ourselves in that positive direction.

    I know because I am TERRIBLE at this.

    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

    by Mindful Nature on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:02:57 AM PDT

  •  I think Americans need to love the planet (4+ / 0-)

    and its environment, and to learn to love other people of other nations a little better. If anything, we have a bit to much self-admiration, and far too little respect and love for all that is outside our borders.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:12:18 AM PDT

  •  some of us have different taste (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lost and Found, terrybuck, ZhenRen

    some of us love Chuck Berry. Some of us love Chuck Norris. I suppose Norris is considered a "patriot". If so, that's a misappropriation of love of country.

    In fact the idea of "patriotism" is often used to cover some extremely anti-social behavior.

  •  and thank you for the link (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrybuck

    which leads us to a copy of what you posted here. Do you want to discuss this at all?

  •  Would very much disagree with this diary and... (4+ / 0-)

    ...diarist and point out that Liberals and Progressives are the people who truly love this country and are actual patriots.

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