On being over-patrioted

1. Fourth of July
2. Memorial Day
3. Patriots Day
4. Veterans Day
5. Thanksgiving
6. Presidents Day

All days on which we celebrate the Americans we’ve managed to kill in recent wars (2, 4), or praise God for his foresight in signing-on with such an obviously successful nation (1, 5), or disseminate propaganda on how it’s our patriotic duty to obey the government (3), or buy linens (6). To those of us who grew up in post-WWII America, served in her mid-century wars, and held what really was a bulwark of freedom against the Soviet Union, today’s government-sponsored, MSM-supported patriotism is a distorted, fun-house-mirror projection of what we served for.

Back in the 60’s, as I recall, there was a Senate hearing on some non-DoD budget topic, basic science research, support for the arts — memory fails, as does the Internet. At one point, a Senator asked a witness about what contribution his program would make to the defense of the nation. The response was “It’s part of what makes it worth defending”. One could make the same response when asked what enforcing all these Constitutional restrictions on DHS and NSA will contribute to the defense of America. We have come to a sorry state of affairs, when Germany feels it has to chastise us for failing Democracy, for abandoning good government in favor of power-grabbing paranoia and fear.

As Der Spiegel (The Mirror) editorial says, we’re losing the bedrock reasons for supporting patriotism in America. At one point, patriotism meant taking up arms to free our country from colonial exploiters. At one time it meant leaving our ploughs in the field and going off to defend America and the world against evil that was not only real, but effective. Now, it means joining the ranks of our huddled masses, yearning to be safe.

I like to use patriotic dates like this as an occasion for commenting on the state of the nation and the moral standing of our politicians, but I’m not going to comment on every day listed for every year that rolls around — there’s too many of them, the evil remains banal, and one can only remain mad for so long.


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