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What is this country?

This country is 316 million people. That’s what this country is.

It isn’t an extension of your ego. It isn’t the team you root for during televised sports events. It isn’t an abstraction. It isn’t a flag or a fireworks display or a jet-fighter formation flyover. It’s you and 316 million other people who are your fellow Americans.

And if you love your country that means you love those 316 million fellow citizens. You care about them and their well-being. You don’t condemn a law that helps millions of them obtain affordable, quality health insurance. You don’t try to undermine that law because it wasn’t your idea, or because you don’t like to be proved wrong, or because you hate the guy who pushed to make the law a reality.

If you are pushing to repeal a law that helps millions of Americans live better lives and makes our citizenry healthier and happier, don’t tell me you love this country because you don’t. You don’t even know what it means to love your country. In your selfish mind you’ve so completely twisted the idea of patriotism that you couldn’t be a true patriot if you tried.

Go buy a flag made in China or watch a John Wayne war movie or something. Go clean your gun and fantasize about one of your fellow Americans giving you an excuse to shoot him by coming to take your gun or wearing a hoodie or whatever. Whatever it is that deludes you into thinking you love your country; whatever it is that makes you think you have the right to call yourself a patriot.

Just stop trying to interfere with your fellow Americans as they try to look out for each other and work together to make your country a better place.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm so glad you wrote something I have been (6+ / 0-)

    trying to say for some time.
    Those who advocate for the elimination of health care, or support for those who are unable to work, or who have lost jobs to "outsourcing," should be tried for treason.  Then made to live on the streets wondering what dumpster their next morsel will come from.
    Those who try to disenfranchise voters; those who would tell women they know what's best for them; those who would denigrate the President of the United States for no reason other than he has a skin color different from theirs should also be included in that.  (That is an awful lot of old white men, ain't it?)
    The rational, humane mensches of this country need to take it back from those who are - and have been - destroying it and its people.  Even Jefferson and the other white slave owners would be appalled at what these cretins have done to their vision.
    Are these pipe dreams?
    For the sake of my grand children, I hope the hell not.

    "Takes more than guns to kill a man" Joe Hill

    by sajiocity on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 05:57:14 PM PDT

  •  That's what corporate ownership (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag, Just Bob, aseth, unfangus

    …of the government does to a nation.

    There used to be a word for that -- the blending of corporations and government….

    What was it?

  •  Shorter: I endorse the Reid Hypothesis: (0+ / 0-)

    If you don't endorse policies I like, you're anti-American.

  •  I don't call myself a patriot. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Max Udargo, tuesdayschilde, unfangus

    you know, one of the things that constantly bothers me is the disconnect of some people because they were, by chance, born in some geopolitical boundary.

    for instance, I am appalled that so many make so much of the fact that 4000 Americans have died in Iraq, but seem to ignore the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died. As much as I feel for the loss of our soldiers, and the pain of their families, the horror that was rained down on women, children, men whose only crime was being born in Iraq is every bit as inhuman.

    As disgusted as I am by the energy companies that are turning America into a toxic waste dump, I know the same companies have devastated parts of Africa, and made desperate lives completely untenable.

    Yes, i agree with our good diarist's premise, and it does seem that there is a political faction that claims to love America, but hates a whole lot of Americans. They are not patriots, they are fearful, power hungry people who think that any one who doesn't look like them worship like them, think like them, is not a "real" American. yes, they are frauds.

    I look, and I see the harm we have done, and feel shame. I can't accept that non-American lives are by definition less worthy. I ache for the foolishness of all of us, no matter where we claim allegiance.

    I don't claim personal superiority. I am as foolish, as flawed, and, if only because I haven't fought against it, as guilty of inhumanity as anyone. Patriotism is just an expanded tribalism. Wouldn't it be nice if we were a little more interested in humanity.

    I am part of that demographic that is so frequently belittled here, and on some other liberal sites. I'm a 64 year old white man, raised in the suburbs. I have no children, but I am deeply concerned about what we are doing to the planet, though I will probably not live to witness the worst of it, yet younger people, with children, have called me foolish to worry about climate change.

    So, don't call me a patriot. I worry about this country, because I live here, and care about its people, but I care about all of us. We're ALL in this together.

    •  First, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      furrfu, unfangus

      I would never call you foolish for being concerned about climate change. And I would hope I'd never belittle you, although you might be asking for trouble calling yourself "The grouch."

      And I understand what you're saying, but I don't think a healthy sense of being a citizen of the world contradicts the idea of loving your country.

      One can care about humanity as a whole and still care about his country as a subset of that whole, just as you can care about your state or the town you live in. Just as you can care about your neighborhood or your home. These are concentric circles with ourselves at the center, but that doesn't imply that the smaller circles are more important than the larger circles. Unless you're an egotist, the opposite would probably be implied. Still, my role in making my neighborhood better is a different role with sometimes different challenges than my role as a citizen of the State of California.

  •  I've been thinking along the same lines (4+ / 0-)

    I want my government to take care of it's citizens.

    I want taxes collected for the general welfare of my country. And- just like my country used to be- the more you make, the more you pay. (Period)

    I want leaders who will work for the betterment- not the destruction of-all that could make my country great. (Like saving the environment)

    I want my government to educate it's citizens so we can compete on the global market. Not put graduates into debt that they try to pay off with minimal wage jobs. (I know two college grads who could not 'quit their night job' and are still waitressing.  For shame!

    I want my country back!  A country with those ideals that made her the best in the world.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 06:42:49 PM PDT

  •  I love my country, but I detest loyalty oaths. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Max Udargo

    When I was a school teacher, I told my homeroom class that they didn't have to salute the flag, because some of them weren't even US citizens.

    I only salute the flag in Lodge, and only then because I am an officer of the organization and I know that everyone else also happens to be a US citizen.

    But I don't like taking oaths like that. I've taken many, but it shouldn't be a requirement of US citizenship except ONE TIME.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 07:02:29 PM PDT

    •  When you think about it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Just Bob, unfangus

      the Pledge of Allegiance is such a strange thing, and such an unlikely expression of "patriotism."

      Why do we want children to affirm their loyalty every morning? Are we telling them we doubt their loyalty? Do we really think loyalty in America should be the product of rote indoctrination rituals? Shouldn't it be a free and private choice arising from an appreciation of the values and benefits you are bequeathed as a citizen? Shouldn't our educational efforts be geared toward that goal rather than demanding unthinking allegiance?

      That time would be better spent having children recite the preamble to the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights (one for each school day, in two week cycles - why not that?)

      •  The Pledge of Allegiance was a marketing device (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DerAmi, unfangus

        to sale flags. Strange but true.

        http://www.lib.rochester.edu/...

        "Think of it. A flag over every school to remind the children that they belong to the nation as well as the town. Then, the children every day uniting before the flag in patriotic exercises which will stir up their love of country."

        That was the programmed work actually undertaken in 1891. It was never talked about in the newspapers. It was never advertised outside of the promotion notices of The Youth's Companion itself. It was a still hunt, one school after another. The usual method was to offer to any pupil in any school, free, a hundred cards on which were printed the words:

        This Certificate, representing a 10 cent contribution, entitles the holder to One Share in the patriotic influence of the School Flag.

        Those hundred cards at ten cents each covered the wholesale cost of the good-sized, substantial flag.

        And from that day forward politicians had something to wrap themselves in.

        I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

        by Just Bob on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 08:12:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mark Twain said. . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . .and I am paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact words. But this is pretty close.

    "A patriot is someone that wags the flag furiously over things he knows nothing about."

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