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Who is a patriot?

Original post made by Norm on Oct 23, 2007

Recently there was a topic regarding the "Pledge Of Allegiance", or the lack of it in schools. The exchanges shifted to whether it should/must be recited in schools. The opinion of some posters seemed to reflect that requiring it, or not, hinges on the definition of "patriotism" (noun: Love of and devotion to one's country. [The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company.]).

Like so many, far too many, words, the fundamental (basic) meaning has been clouded (corrupted) by proprietorial usage by one group or another for divisive, denigrating purposes. All meanings become "black and white" with no room for gray; all is linear, no curves. I share information to educate, you spread propaganda to indoctrinate; I follow principles, you cling to dogma; I misspoke, you lied; I was mistaken, you were wrong; I was ignorant, you are stupid. I misunderstood you, you won't listen to reason.
Worst of all is – I love "X", so I can disapprove of some of it; you don't like part of "X", so you hate it in toto.

Perhaps these questions should be pondered before attaching the "patriot" label, or some cutesy tag:

1.Is criticizing the government unpatriotic?
2.Is an anti-colonial rebel a patriot?
3.Is it patriotism to take up arms in rebellion against those in power?
4.Is it patriotism to follow, believe whatever those in power say, simply because they say you should?
5.Is someone who subscribes to the mythology about their country the patriot, or are they the one who seeks the truth?
6.Is not re-electing an incumbent president unpatriotic?
7.Is the choice of candidate – a multi-party democratic process – unpatriotic?
8.Are you unpatriotic if you do not exercise all your constitutional rights?
9.Is it patriotic to review our mistakes, examine our flaws?



Comments (46)

Posted by Russell, a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:00 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter determine who is a patriot and who is not.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Is is very interesting to me to hear leftists defending patriotism. In the 60's and early 70's, when I came of age in the political foxholes, the left sneered at patriotism. They used to like to quote Johnson ("Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.").

I doubt that the left has suddenly found a patriotic heartbeat. I think they have found a political tactic, one that they can spin, especially following Reagan and 9-11. Pigs don't fly. Pretty amusing stuff, though.



Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:36 pm

So, Gary, are you saying that "leftists" are not patriots?
The quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.", perfectly describes people like O'Reilly, Limbaugh and Coulter for example.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Marvin,

All I can say is that leftists from the era I describe absoulutely denied being patriots. They despised the term. Now, leftists have not changed, as far as I can tell. Their basic agenda is the same (socialism). Either they were lying then, or are they are lying now. Which is it?


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Gary--what's your definition of a "patriot"?


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Marvin,

Johnson's original definition seems to fit: "One whose ruling passion is the love of his country."

Most of the serious lefties I know don't beieve in countries. They are internationalists. They don't believe in borders, if they are to be enforced. They like the notion of world government (the UN with teeth, or the Hague).

Marvin, why are you trying to defend patriotism? Do you really believe in the nation-state? National pride? If so, you might need to question your lefty underpinnings. Dare I say that you may NOT be a lefty? It happens to many of us, as we age. It happened to me.


Posted by Peter, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 23, 2007 at 1:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by peter, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2007 at 1:12 pm


America first

America love it or leave it

just read the constitution and the federalist papers


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 23, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Gary--my feeling is that the term "patriotism" has been hijacked by certain elements of our society to use as litmus test for their set of beliefs.
A perfect example of this is in recent political campaigns the patriotism of decorated soldiers, who happen to running as democrats, has been questioned by certain republican candidates
I think you can be a patriot and question the direction a country is going in. I think you can be a patriot and still question the leaders of the country and how they are leading. I think you can be a patriot and question whether a war is justified or not.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Marvin,

If arguments, such as you suggest, are done respectfully, and honor the office of the Commander in Chief, during war, I might agree with you. For instance, if you say, "Despite the overhelming evidence that Saddam was a monster, and that he violated numerous international resolutions, and that he was firing on our planes, I don't think that he rose to the level of a real threat", that would be respectuful. However, if you say something like "GWB gets his amusement by sending kids to get their heads blown off", that is very disrespectful of the office (and the man).

Patriotism is not blind, but it is respectful. If one's arguments are primarily about hatred for the man/woman in office, that is not patriotism. As Russell said (above), it is hatriotism. BTW, that is such a good word. Thanks, Russell...I had not heard it until recently.


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 23, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Part of patriotism is concern with national self-interest and with national security. You cannot be a patriot and argue against these. For instance, you cannot argue that the US give up its sovereignty to the UN and be a patriot; you are a multiculturalist, but not a patriot.


Posted by peter, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2007 at 2:57 pm

well put RWray,

Look at the disaster created by a policy of multiculturalism in Europe and particularly England, the capital of which is now referred to as Londistan.

There is now an attempt to reverse the
muticultural nightmare but the effort is probably hopeless apart from in Switzerland.

Elsewhere else in Europe the cancer has metastasized.

In the US we can prevent this disease if we act quickly, decisively and PATRIOTICALLY




Posted by karen, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Gary,

I believe I am a patriot and a leftist. I love the principles on which the United States was founded, but I find them sadly lacking in our present government, and not just the Bush administration, but they seem to have been degrading for a long time.

Back in the 70s, people who were waging an idiotic, tragic war called themselves patriots. And many of those of us who opposed it denounced that type of patriotism. Now it's deja vu all over again.

It is still inconceivable to me how people can claim that it is right to support the actions of their county when those actions are despicable.

And no, I don't feel that I owe George Bush any respect. He's an idiot who's cost this country thousands of lives, tens of thousands of injuries, many more Iraqi civilian casualties, and hundreds of billions of dollars in debt that has put us in the power of the Chinese. That's not only idiocy, it's treason.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Karen,

The Consitution names the President as the Commander in Chief. I assume, from your post, that you agree with that determination. Am I correct?

Many people hated FDR, yet they put a pinch to their lips, once the Commander in Chief went beyond the water's edge. Why? Because they were patriots.

The left in this country was completely silent about the killing fields in Cambodia (other than to blame Nixon/Kissinger for Pol Pot's hollcacust). Many red diaper babies still cannot come to terms with the horrific crimes against humanity by Stalin, becasue their parents supported him. Yet these same leftists throw vitriolic rhetoric at any U.S. presidnet, in any war they don't like.

You say, "I love the principles on which the United States was founded". Really? How about the Second and Tenth Ammendments? How about free economic pursuits?

I come out of the left. I feel that I understand its arguments (ad nauseum). The left is about socialism. Always has been. It is not about patriotism. Even in WWII the propaganda machine, run by Hollywood leftists, held there noses when they made patriotic films...they did it only because they wanted to defeat fascism.

Patriotism is pretty much the property of the middle and right in this country. The left refuses to accept the notion of an America worth fighting for, unless it is in a fight to spread socialism.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2007 at 4:53 pm

dictionary definition:
"a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors."

That puts everyone on this thread in the category of "patriot", because there are only subjective cases to be made about who is right.

You're all owned...


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Patriot,

The most critical word in your definition is "country". Leftists don't believe in nation states. They are internationalists.

One cannot be a patriot, if one does not agree to belong to a country, and to defend that country.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2007 at 6:20 pm

I believe a patriot is someone who believes in the sovereignty, legitimacy and inherent value of the distinct nation known as the USA. That's the core. There's lots of issues that separate people here, but if you believe in that one core principle, you are a patriot.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Pariot,

Then you believe in defending our borders, right? And the rule of law, right?


Posted by Peter, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 23, 2007 at 8:25 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by BlindAlligenceDemanded, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 23, 2007 at 10:09 pm

The right's definition of patriotism:
"Blind allegience to King W"
or equivalently
"You're either with US (right) or against US (left/moderates)"


Posted by Patriot650, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Maybe this is why this board should require some sort of registration. Just to clarify the debate, I'm the "Patriot" who posted this:
"I believe a patriot is someone who believes in the sovereignty, legitimacy and inherent value of the distinct nation known as the USA. That's the core. There's lots of issues that separate people here, but if you believe in that one core principle, you are a patriot."
I'm a different person from the prior "Patriot." I neglected to look at the made-up names before mine.
I DO believe in protecting the borders and the rule of law, Gary!

2nd, to BlindAlligenceDemanded, I consider myself to be a conservative and on the "right," and I have no blind allegience to King W - I think many on the right are extrememly critical of the prez for many different reasons. Couldn't the same be said about the left? Blind allegiance to MoveOn.org and King Soros? But lets face it - there's probably leftists who are critical of them too, which is why such broad statements are, in my opinion, grossly innaccurate and just fan the flames of ugly political rhetoric.


Posted by karen, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2007 at 5:35 am

Gary,

The President is indeed the Commander in Chief. In this case he's an incompetent Commander in Chief. Apparently you think in order to be a patriot, a person has to overlook he disastrous consequenes of this incompetence, not only on the rest of the world but on our own country.

I don't know what portion of the left you inhabited, but certainly nowhere in my vicinity were people silent about Cambodia, etc.

I don't really care about the second amendment, and I think it's interpretations are still unclear. As to the tenth amendment, we'd all be a lot better off with a less strong federal government.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2007 at 11:39 am

karen,

In the leftist circles I had previously run with, the Pol Pot genocide was called a CIA disinformation campaign. There was a deafening silence about Cambodia, from the left, as it was occurring, and afterward. Only several years later, when movies were made about it, did some on the left say that it was a bad thing. They never criticized the socialist underpinnings, though...that would make them an infidel among their own.

FDR made many mistakes during WWII. These mistakes cost tens of thousands of American lives. From the beginning, he moved war assets away from the Pacific theatre to the European theatre...but it was Japan that attacted us, not Germany. My own father and uncle served in the Pacific, and they suffered because of FDR's incompetence. Yet, they, and many others, did not openly criticize FDR about his war failures...it was war, and patriots don't do that.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 24, 2007 at 11:55 am

Didn't the US government recognize and support the Khmer Rouge because they were against the communist Vietnamese government?
If that is the case, it would not have been "patriotic" to oppose the Pol Pot regime


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2007 at 1:08 pm

No Marvin, the U.S. recognized Prince Sihanouk, who led a coaltion of anti-Vietnames (nationalist) forces including both non-communists and remnant Khemer Rouge. This was in the late 80's, well beyond the killing fields period. It was realpolitik, and it seems to have worked.

I'm sure you know this, but your leftist revisionism is no surprise.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 24, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Gary--I know a lot more about Cambodia then you think.

You can choose to believe this article or not:

Web Link


Posted by karen, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2007 at 1:34 pm

Gary,

".it was war, and patriots don't do that." - Sorry, that's just rubbish.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2007 at 2:10 pm

"Gary--I know a lot more about Cambodia then you think."

Marvin,

Probably not, if you use "October Surprise" Jack Colhoun as your source. He is like the JFK assasination conspiracy nuts...selective details without context...no proof...paranoia. Fringy, even for a lefty true believer.

You gotta do better than that, Marvin.

This is fun!


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2007 at 2:12 pm

karen,

Yes they do.

Name some major voices that criticized FDR's war efforts during WWII...who weren't criticized for being anti-patriotic.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 24, 2007 at 2:27 pm

Based on my many trips to Cambodia, I will stand by my comment that i know more about Cambodia then you think, but glad that I am providing some enjoyment for you!!

I am sure you will discount the following sources as well:

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2007 at 2:53 pm

"June 1982 Under pressure from China, the United States and other backers, the three Cambodian guerrilla factions form a coalition government in exile with Prince Sihanouk as president, Khieu Samphan of the Khmer Rouge as vice president and Son Sann of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front as prime minister. Despite its opposition to the Khmer Rouge, the United States recognizes the rebel coalition."

(the above from your NY Times link).

Marvin,

You need to read your own stuff!

The U.S. was opposed to the Khmer Rouge, but yielded to a coalition that included it. So what? It got the job done, and the KR are no longer a serious threat in Cambodia.

If you want to argue about patriotism (or the lack of it), you will need to pick some better examples.

Lots of fun, though!


Posted by Joan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 24, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Reading this thread reminds me why I decided weeks ago to give up on this so-called forum.

Thank you, Norm, for your excellent, thought-provoking post. I'm sorry that your effort to begin an intelligent discussion on an interesting topic was hijacked by the usual suspects. What a pity. Addio Town Square.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 24, 2007 at 3:14 pm

well, gary, if the US opposes the Khmer Rouge yet supports a coalition made up of khmer rouge leaders, the conclusions to me are very simple--you and others can talk out of both sides of your mouth, but if you support khmer rouge leaders you are tacitly supporting the khmer rouge as well.

You forgot this part from the second link:

"The Khmer Rouge would likely not have survived without the support of its old patron China and a surprising new ally: the United States. Norodom Sihanouk, now in exile after briefly serving as head of state under the Khmer Rouge, formed a loose coalition with the guerillas to expel the Vietnamese from Cambodia. The United States gave the Sihanouk-Khmer Rouge coalition millions of dollars in aid while enforcing an economic embargo against the Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government. The Carter administration helped the Khmer Rouge keep its seat at the United Nations, tacitly implying that they were still the country's legitimate rulers.

The U.S. government's refusal to recognize the new Cambodian government and its unwillingness to distance itself from the Khmer Rouge was motivated by several factors, primarily animosity toward its former foe, Vietnam, and Vietnam's Soviet backers."

I guess this does not fit with your scenario.

What happened to Cambodia is not fun and you should be ashamed of yourself for taking pleasure in the misery endured by the Khmer people.

The bottom line is that no argument that I will bring forward will satisfy your standards. I do not need to "pick better examples". i needto stop wasting my time with you.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2007 at 4:01 pm

Marvin,

Now really! I take no pleasure, whatsover, in Cambodia's misery. I do take pleasure in some of your revisionist explanations about the era!

Socialist ideology was a huge albatross hung on the necks of so many in Asia. Pol Pot brought that ideology to its logical conclusion. The U.S. fought against socialism in Vietnam. We lost. Cambodia was a domino that fell, after S. Vietnam fell. Vietnam's Soviet masters, flush with victory, wanted to surround its socialist ideological competitor, China, so they had Vietnam invade to overthrow Pol Pot. Nixon played the China card. Sihanouk wanted his country made whole, again. He formed a coalition, played various cards...and, in the end he won. The U.S., in the end, helped him, even though it meant agreeing to his coalition with the KR. To the extent that the CIA was involved in all this, they did a fine job. They are patriots.




Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Joan,

I thought Norm's original questions were a baiting exercise (hardly "thought provoking"). You claim to have given up on this blog...cleraly, you did not (you are back). Just to amuse you, here my answers to Norm's stuff:

"1.Is criticizing the government unpatriotic? "

Depends on the cirumstances, and how it is done. Usually not during war. Beyond war, no problem.


"2.Is an anti-colonial rebel a patriot?"

If he/she is successful in forming a new country, yes (for the new country). If not, no...that would be a traitor.


"3.Is it patriotism to take up arms in rebellion against those in power? "

No, if those in power support freedom. Yes, if not. Either way, expect to be hanged as a traitor.


"4.Is it patriotism to follow, believe whatever those in power say, simply because they say you should? "

If your country values general freedoms (like the USA), you are honored to folow at the water's edge. That is what patriots do. If there is no war, go for it!


"5.Is someone who subscribes to the mythology about their country the patriot, or are they the one who seeks the truth?"

If it is true (like those who have fought for this country), then they are patriots. Those who describe as myths, the truth, then no, they are not patriots.


"6.Is not re-electing an incumbent president unpatriotic? "

No. Free people make free choices in a democracy. Rules of the road.


"7.Is the choice of candidate – a multi-party democratic process – unpatriotic? "

No


"8.Are you unpatriotic if you do not exercise all your constitutional rights?"

No. Just don't try to stop others from exercisng theirs.


"9.Is it patriotic to review our mistakes, examine our flaws?"

After the war in over, yes. Before, depends on context, but generally no (except by the internal circles that are running the war).

Have fun, Joan!


Posted by D, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2007 at 9:12 am

Gary,
It's important to differentiate between the nation and the government, and between the people and the government. It's an important distinction to make. No president or congressman or diplomat *is* America. Each of them may represent the U.S., but none embodies the U.S.
It's possible to love the country without loving the leaders, to support the country without agreeing with the leaders. I recall that Bush said essentially that to the Iraqi people in his State of the Union in 2003 -- that his gripe was not with Iraq or the Iraqis but with Saddam Hussein.


Posted by A critical Patriot, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2007 at 12:00 pm

D: Good point..the problem is that with many in our country, there is such a hatred going on that they will say and do anything to try to embarrass our President, regardless of the effects on our Country at home, abroad in peaceful zones, or where we have military and civilians in danger. They criticise with an investment in harming America, not helping it.

THOSE are not patriots.


For example, I am a patriot. I have no doubt.AND I was able to say during the last couple years that I thought we shouldn' be so concerned with a "light footprint", that it wouldn't matter if we left a heavy footprint but not many of them and GOT OUT once we won, versus this "light footprint" stuff that drags it out. Coming from a position of "we are going to win, I want us to win, and I disagree with how we are trying to win" is different from "we are going to lose, it is hopeless, just give up and get out" THOSE are not patriots.

I criticise Bush a lot. Frankly, he is too far to the left for me. I am still quite patriotic about it. It is about how I believe some of his policies have hurt our country, like trying to push through essentially amnesty, not enforcing our border, doubling our Medicare Drug bill unnecessarily, putting in NCLB without hooking it to reasonable NATIONAL standards. I have thought he hasn't vetoed nearly enough, he isn't articulate, he assumes people are smarter than they are and doesn't explain what he is thinking, he gave up far too quickly on allowing people to put even just a small percent of Social Security into retirement accounts. He didn't defend some of his employees enough, he hasn't prosecuted classified leaks enough ( finally begun), and he doesn't fight back the completely absurd and false statements of the Left in Congress and the Senate. I am pretty sure he is counting on the American people to understand how silly some of these guys are, but I doubt that is true.

Trust me, there are many of us who find GWB to be a good guy, but he leaned far too far to the left too many time.

We always criticise him and our Republican fellows for giving up.

Yet, it is always with the intent of what is good for America for the future generations, not with the intent of embarrassing our Country or anyone that we are criticising.


Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Ouch!

Sorry I couldn't look back in sooner, and this is only a quick peek. I'm saving this off to read at home and hope to weigh in tomorrow - if this doesn't get locked before then.

Civil discourse was a practice fostered by our forefathers.
I leave you with this -
"You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.

Your affectionate friend and fellow-citizen,

THOMAS PAINE"

But then, some would say he was a leftist - like the rest of them.


Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Before someone has a stroke, I better add this -

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

left1

PRONUNCIATION: lft
ADJECTIVE: 1a. Of, belonging to, located on, or being the side of the body to the north when the subject is facing east. b. Of, relating to, directed toward, or located on the left side. c. Located on the left side of a person facing downstream: the left bank of a river. 2. often Left Of or belonging to the political or intellectual left.
NOUN: 1a. The direction or position on the left side. b. The left side. c. The left hand. d. A turn in the direction of the left hand or side. 2. often Left a. The people and groups who advocate liberal, often radical measures to effect change in the established order, especially in politics, usually to achieve the equality, freedom, and well-being of the common citizens of a state. Also called left wing. b. The opinion of those advocating such measures. 3. Sports A blow delivered by a boxer's left hand. 4. Baseball Left field.
ADVERB: Toward or on the left.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old English lyft-, weak, useless (in lyftdl, paralysis).

Noun 2 a. fits, does it not?


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Norm,

Actually your provided etymology is more apt:

"ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old English lyft-, weak, useless (in lyftdl, paralysis)."

Your number 2a noun actually sounds like George Bush with respect to Iraq. Hmm....


Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 26, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Wow!!!!!
My net access is limited (none at home, what time available when I can hit the library), so I only got a quick peek a few hours after my original post, enough time to save off those postings to read at home. And then there was what I pulled off Thursday afternoon.
Some people I know said I was stupid to throw the thought.
I guess they were right: It ain't the meat, it's the smell of the blood.
Dozens of comments, and barely a direct sniff at my initial posting. A most folks go a bit off topic. Some postings do imply answers to the questions, but the clues are mixed in amidst the sniping at other posters. I'll resist comments on the attitudes and rudeness – they have been addressed by other threads.

Well, I suppose before further input, out of courtesy, I need to start with the directed question:

Russell –
I find our question regarding Pete Stark amusing. It creates a false dichotomy built on a faulty premise, and in clearly baiting intended to draw me into a tangential argument rather than a debate on the original topic. A negative proof based on one case does not provide positive proof for all cases (e.g. an emu is a bird and does not fly, ergo, birds don't fly).
That being said - I can't answer your question because I don't buy into your premise. If you look at my opening post, I define my position of the "hatriot" concept – "Worst of all is – I love "X", so I can disapprove of some of it; you don't like part of "X", so you hate it in toto."
You either did not fully read, or chose not to acknowledge, my topic – defining a patriot.
Love is an emotional process that has many forms – I loved my mom and I loved my cat. However, I didn't sleep with my mom when I was 18, or bury her in the backyard next to cat. (Non seq. – it was humane to euthanize the, and inhuman to give my mother the same respect. Both had terminal cancer – the cat was gone in minutes, my mom had to suffer for weeks. Whole different topic.)
Does anyone love anything the same as someone else. If they have similar conclusions for different reasons, are the conclusions at odds?????
Is Pete Stark a "hatriot" (to address your premise)? Logic says no – he participates in our governmental system in the same fashion as Larry Craig does. (Like it or not, that's a fact. The truth is, they do it differently.) Is Stark an ill spoken buffoon? Personal opinion - Yes. But because I love our system which allows those he represents to re-elect him, he will be there. I really think he needs to burn his copy of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and retire. (Lived in his district in the '70's, voted for him then, wouldn't now.) Do I agree with him? In sentiment, I 'm inclined to agree that the needs of our country are more important than what we believe another country needs. The constitution at the very least alludes to that being a part of why we have a federal government. And then there's the warning from Washington about staying clear of the entanglements in the affairs of other countries.
(BTW – Stark apologized for his rude comments. Is reciprocity forthcoming?)
As one poster said "America first". Is it a patriotic position to say Iraq is more deserving of being terrorist free and having a problem free electric power grid for their nation than we are?
Russell – closure on Stark tangent: who was less patriotic; those who voted for Stark, those who voted against Stark, or those who did care enough to vote either way?
(Non seq. for Russell – do you know Gary who posted above? He didn't participate in the pledge debate locked behind your deleted post, but he had paraphrased your points re FDR and Pol Pot from it rather well after you dropped from this discussion. Hm.)

Maybe this is a bit rude, but since I introduced the topic, started the discussion which has flowed like a ball in a pachinko machine, but could I ask that the earnestly introduced subject be addressed by posters?

I'll start with "1. Is criticizing the government unpatriotic? "

We, by the constitution, are the government. Not "them", it's us. If we can not criticize ourselves, are we ignoring our own failings? Who can we say is wrong if we refuse to review ourselves and our own flaws? If we were perfect, we would not need a group process to protect us from ourselves, we could function as isolated individuals who would not intrude on the unalienable/inalienable rights (the former the DIC, the latter Jefferson's original text).
Gary cited support for FDR during his tenure as patriotic. Even though a "there's a war on" mind set was prevalent, in the '44 election over 46% of the votes said "No" to him staying in office. Perhaps they may have supported the war (no proof either way), but obviously they did not support him. Does that mean they were unpatriotic, or maybe they thought Dewey (patriot or not?) or others were more representing of their views – like those who did not vote for Ford, and then didn't vote for Carter. Are minority voters patriots, or are their motives and beliefs suspect?

I guess I have actually touched most, if not all, of the original questions.

This session has run a bit long, but...............

To the anti-"them" references by Gary on this run, and Russell on the pledge thread, regarding the Pol Pot allusion – IF there was a Nixon flaw, it was not supporting Lon Nol enough after Sihanouk trotted off to China (1970). He wasn't ousted by Pol Pot until the Ford administration (1975). (BTW GHW Bush was in Beijing at the same time as Sihanouk before his return after Nol was booted out. It was between Bush's tenure at the UN and heading the CIA.) The ensuing genocide was ended when Pot was deposed by the COMMUNIST Vietnamese (1979) who followed the principles established Ho Chi Minh. (Was the pumping of money into VN by US based multi-national, global corporations a "thank you" tribute to the Vietnamese government?)
Call me leftist if you will (that's on you) but Ho believed in the same principles as Washington (who he admired); and oddly paralleled his achievements – both fought a war against the French, were anti-colonial rebels who took up arms against the governing power, lead their army into war, and became leaders of their country. Apparently, both loved their land of birth enough to die for it. Sounds patriotic to me.
{Sorry, for the personal vent, had to do it. Some stuff can't be left to slide by.)

Points to ponder - could Washington and other founding fathers be considered the leftists of their time?
Teddy Roosevelt supported trade unions – which some characterize as a socialist concept. Was he
a leftist?
Is the concept of a global economy – driven by the multi-national corporations – a step toward global government (ala the EU)? Is it the left or right who control those dollars?
If we should be defending our borders, why are so many of our guardians defending someone else?
Does supporting corporations who are shipping jobs and money to other countries benefit our sovereignty?
Should "Gary" start his own thread on the Cambodia/Khmer topic?

Have I said anything untrue, or just uncomfortable (I'm hoping for discomfort – that is the true test of belief)?


Posted by D, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Norm,
The Founding Fathers were clearly liberals. Throwing off a monarchy for a representative democracy with a balance of power among three equal branches of government? Declaring oneself independent from the colonial power? That's liberalism.
To call them leftists, though, would be an anachronism. The left-right division dates several years later to the French Revolution. In the Estates General, the representatives of the Second Estate (the nobility, the wealthy conservatives) sat to the right of the presiding officer. The representatives of the Third Estate (the commoners, the working class) sat to the left.


Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 26, 2007 at 3:59 pm


I tried not to, but I couldn't not have a go at this.

Biggest names I could find opposed to our involvement in Europe regarding WW II: Herbert Hoover, Sen. Harry F. Byrd (D. Va.), Henry Ford, and Charles A. Lindbergh. (I'm having trouble verifying it, but some have said Prescott Bush was not a big supporter of us going into Europe.)


RESPONSE TO "GARY" POSTING (addressed to Joan) ANSWERING ORIGINAL QUESTIONS:

Joan,
I thought Norm's original questions were a baiting exercise (hardly "thought provoking"). (PROVOKED YOU ENOUGH TO THINK OF ENOUGH RETORTS FOR MORE POSTS THAN ANYONE ELSE) You claim to have given up on this blog...cleraly, you did not (you are back). Just to amuse you, here my answers to Norm's stuff:
"1.Is criticizing the government unpatriotic? "
Depends on the cirumstances, and how it is done. Usually not during war. Beyond war, no problem.
WHAT IS YOUR REFERENCE FOR THE CONCLUSION THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM CRITICIZING THE GOVERNMENT DURING WAR (BTW – TECHNICALLY WE ARE NOT IN A STATE OF WAR, NO DECLARATION OF WAR HAS BEEN ISSUED)?
"2.Is an anti-colonial rebel a patriot?"
If he/she is successful in forming a new country, yes (for the new country). If not, no...that would be a traitor.
DOES THAT DISTINCTION ONLY APPLY FOR A NEW COUNTRY, OR DOES IT APPLY FOR A NEW GOVERNMENT FOR AN EXISTING COUNTRY? I'M THINKING OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA, SOME CARIBBEAN NATIONS, MOST OF AFRICA, PARTS OF WESTERN EUROPE, A LOT OF EASTERN EUROPE, AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF ASIA. WERE HO CHI MINH AND MAO PATRIOTS LIKE WASHINGTON AND COMPANY?
"3.Is it patriotism to take up arms in rebellion against those in power? "
No, if those in power support freedom. Yes, if not. Either way, expect to be hanged as a traitor.
FREEDOM CAN BE A RELATIVE CONCEPT – OF, FROM, FOR WHAT? JAPAN WAS SEEKING TO FREE ASIA OF EUROPEAN AND AMERICA CONTROL, LENIN AGAINST OPPRESSIVE CONTROL OF THE CZAR. THE SOUTH WAS SEEKING FREEDOM TO MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO, AND AGAINST CHANGE ROOTED IN THE NORTH.
"4.Is it patriotism to follow, believe whatever those in power say, simply because they say you should? "
If your country values general freedoms (like the USA), you are honored to folow at the water's edge. That is what patriots do. If there is no war, go for it!
YOU SAID IN ONE OF YOUR POSTS "PATRIOTISM IS NOT BLIND" BUT THAT DOESN'T FOLLOW WHAT I THINK YOU TRIED TO SAY ABOVE.
"5.Is someone who subscribes to the mythology about their country the patriot, or are they the one who seeks the truth?"
If it is true (like those who have fought for this country), then they are patriots. Those who describe as myths, the truth, then no, they are not patriots.
I'M REALLY HAVING A PROBLEM UNDERSTANDING YOUR REPLY TO #5. PERHAPS I'M MISTAKEN, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE TURNING THE QUESTION AROUND (OR INSIDE OUT) TO PROVIDE AN RESPONSE WITHOUT SUPPLYING ANY SUBSTANCE FOR AN ANSWER.
"6.Is not re-electing an incumbent president unpatriotic? "
No. Free people make free choices in a democracy. Rules of the road.
BUT ISN'T THAT BLATENT CRITICIZM?
"7.Is the choice of candidate – a multi-party democratic process – unpatriotic? "
No
SO I GUESS YOU SUPPORTED THE PRESIDENCY OF CARTER AND CLINTON. (BTW, FDR GOT FEWER POPULAR AND ELECTORAL VOTES IN '44 THAN IN '40. APPARENTLY THERE WAS A FADE IN PATRIOTISM.)
"8.Are you unpatriotic if you do not exercise all your constitutional rights?"
No. Just don't try to stop others from exercisng theirs.
SO, BASE ON WHAT YOU'VE SAID ABOVE, IT IS MORE PATRIOTIC TO NOT VOTE THAN TO CRITICIZE, LIKE VOTING IN A WAY EXPRESSING DISSATISFACTION WITH THE GOVERNMENT.
"9.Is it patriotic to review our mistakes, examine our flaws?"
After the war in over, yes. Before, depends on context, but generally no (except by the internal circles that are running the war).
I BELIEVE YOU ARE TAKING A REALLY NARROW VIEW OF THINGS. APPARENTLY CONGRESS SHOULD NOT BE INVESTIGATING BLACKWATER, SHOULD NOT HAVE ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING THE WMD ASSERTIONS (WHICH BUSH ADMITTED WAS AN ERROR), OR SADDAM'S TIES TO AL-QAIDA (ANOTHER FAUX-PAS THE ADMINISTRATION COPPED TO). I GUESS THERE'S A LACK OF PATRIOTS IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS – ON BOTH THE "LEFT" AND THE "NOT SO LEFT".

Sorry, couldn't get it out of my system.
(BTW - did Gary actually conclude that the Bush policies in Iraq are left-wing in nature?0


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Norm,

Russel: Nope, not me. I like some of his stuff, though. Good minds think alike sometimes. His post has been taken down, but I think he is spot on with respect to Pate Stark (hatriot). Especially since Stark is a national respresentive, and used his office to spew hate aginst our Commander in Chief, during war. Russell refered to an egregious statement by Stark. If someone intentionally use the 'f' word to refer to homosexuals, and the 'n' word to refer to black people, it is reasonable to infer that that person is probably homophobic and racist. Perfectly consitutional, of course, but best to describe the obvious. No need to invoke silly syllogisms, Norm.

The lefties I have known always like to control the definitions, if they get caught in a tight spot. They also love syllogisms. For instance: Washington was the father of his country; So was Ho Chi Minh; therefore Washington and Ho are basically equivalent. They always forget to mention that Washington went on to lead a free country, one that allowed for a national change in leadership each four years, and Ho went on to impose a comuunist slave society. Sound familiar, Norm?

I will leave it there. I have heard it all before, ad nauseum.




Posted by richard dawkins, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 3, 2007 at 9:55 pm

heres my definition of a patriotic president: a president who supports the military and wins wars. BUSH HATES THE MILITARY AND HE LOST THE WAR.


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