Archive for July 4, 2016

Modern Patriotism

Posted: July 4, 2016 in News and politics

It’s been awhile since I’ve been inspired to write at length about anything. Yesterday’s Kitsap Sun Opinion page included a column somebody decided to headline “Patriotism as it is now”.
Robert Reich seeks to distinguish “exclusive patriotism” from “inclusive patriotism”. As he describes the “traditional” patriotism has “… ideals we share in common: democracy, equal opportunity, freedom, tolerance and generosity” i. e. “inclusive patriotism.

He goes on to expand on these ideals, then he presents “By contrast, we’re now hearing a strident, exclusive patriotism. It asserts a unique and superior `Americanism’ that’s determined to exclude others beyond our borders.”

Robert then gives us the supreme example of the most famous proponent of exclusive patriotism, Donald Trump. His idea is to keep certain ethnic and religious groups out.

While I agree that our best “traditional” ideals are inclusive, tolerant, free, generous, I see this as a continuous struggle with the evil opposites that creep up from the corrosive alternative.

In an attempt to understand the meaning of liberal and conservative, I am often challenged to distinguish one from the other. These kinds of patriotism fall into one of the other classifications, liberal or conservative. But, if Mr. Reich’s description of traditional values falls into a conservative ideal, and the “new” patriotism fits into a “progressive” (dare I call it “liberal”) then isn’t he giving credence to allowing conservatives to be the rudder (in my “Ship of State for the 21st Century”) and the progressive be the propeller (“screw” in maritime terminology) needing the guidance of the “rudder”?

Many years ago there was a semi-political cartoon series “Pogo Possum”. Probably the most famous utterance by the subject is “We have met the enemy and he is us”. Doesn’t that apply very well to Mr. Reich’s observation that “Exclusive patriotism tells us to fear foreign terrorists in our midst – even though almost every terrorist attack since 9/11 has been perpetrated by American citizens or holders of green cards living here for a decade or more.”?

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