01
Jul
08

On air: Is patriotism poisoning politics?

In a speech to mark Independence Day Barack Obama said

“We must remember that true patriotism cannot be forced or legislated with a mere set of government programs. Instead, it must reside in the hearts of our people”.

Few would disagree…..he then went on:

“The question of who is – or is not- a patriot all too often poisons our political debates, in ways that divide us, rather than bringing us together.”

He was responding to retired Army General Wesley K. Clark who on a a TV programme questioned John McCain’s abilities to hold office :

”  I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become a president “

According to this article in the Washington Post :

“Polls have shown that a small but statistically significant slice of the electorate continues to question Obama’s patriotism, especially in white, working-class regions”

Now i don’t propose we should discusss (yet again) the upcoming U.S presidential election but i wonder, wherever you live, do your politicians make too much of patriotism ? Is Sen. Obama right when he says it “poisons” politics and debate ?

I spent Sunday evening watching the final of the European Championships. For those who don’t know, Spain (deservedly) beat Germany for their first trophy in 40 odd years. This is how Ha’aretz in Israel looked on the tournament  :

“Europe taught the world that patriotism and nationalism are not necessarily declarations of war. In other words, we have seen an entire tournament where no one scored an own goal.”

In Turkey, a court is investigating whether the ruling Islamist AKP party is anti-secular, therefore anti-Turkish. In effect it is asking whether Islam is incompatible with secularity  – and if it is UNPATRIOTIC to be guided by religion only. But the AKP party won a strong mandate in elections only last year, and it is this Islamist party that has sought to bring Turkey closer than ever to Europe -is this obsession with nationalism and patriotism destabilizing the country?

Is patriotism over-rated or something to be celebrated ? And do you value it in your politicians ?


248 Responses to “On air: Is patriotism poisoning politics?”


  1. July 1, 2008 at 11:12

    Hello, it’s Priya again…

    I was thinking too, during the Euro 2008 championships, about patriotism. Is it is important to support your country in sport? As a British born Asian, I wonder if I SHOULD support England? And what if I don’t? Does that make me any less English?

  2. 2 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 11:18

    Patriotism is like anything else. Used in moderation it’s healthy but, taken to extremes, it CAN be poisonous.

    I have the feeling that, to quote from above, “a small but statistically significant slice of the electorate” take it to extremes.

    Clearly you want a leader that loves the country he leads–but too often what’s taken for patriotism can be synonymous with “blind to the country’s problems”.

  3. July 1, 2008 at 11:59

    Anytime one accepts fact with out question there is an overall danger of being manipulated. Blind patriotism is nothing more then religion where the faith lies in the words of men instead of a deity.

    A good question that should be discussed in more depth is, “which is trump? If your religion says it is wrong to kill, but your country says they need you to kill, which holds more weight in guiding your actions?”

    Then of course, why?

  4. 4 Mark Sandell
    July 1, 2008 at 12:05

    Dwight, we actually did this issue the year before last- “your country or your faith” – it proved so popular we ended up discussing the subject for a week…

  5. July 1, 2008 at 12:09

    you know I thought I had heard it before, but couldn’t remember if it was here or elsewhere. So what did we decide? lol just kidding.

  6. 6 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 12:12

    Uh oh, it’s Canada Day today, I guess any excessive celebrations should be frowned upon.

  7. 7 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 1, 2008 at 12:23

    I am not not about patriotism but my favorite quote is “American by birth and Southern by the Grace of God.”

  8. 8 Robert
    July 1, 2008 at 12:25

    True patriotism is vitally important to politics. Patriotism is wanting the best for your country, which everybody will agree should be prerequisite for being elected to office. Would we really want a Prime Minister or President who didn’t care about the country?

    Most people are biased and what they call patriotism is best described as blind adherence to their own beliefs. They see that their ideas and their philosophy for government is the only way that a country could be run efficiently. McCain thinks that the status quo of US politics is the best way to govern the states whilst Obama thinks that fundamental changes are needed. Both are aiming to provide the best for their electorate: both are patriotic in their intent.

    To use the patriotism as an argument without backing it up with by showing how your opponents policies will cause harm is pathetic. Unfortunately we live in a world were sound bites are more important than detailed analysis so this shoddy form of debate (akin to name calling) is allowed to continue.

  9. 9 Katharina in Ghent
    July 1, 2008 at 12:28

    @ Steve

    Haha, they celebrate, all right, but when it’s time to go home you just have to politely tell them so 8)

    It’s fine to be proud of your country, in the end probably noone can avoid at least some pride. The problem is that as soon as you critizice something about it, justified or not, somebody else can always come up and shout that you’re not a patriot. Don’t like the healthcare system/schools/army/taxes/bird migration? How can you call yourself a citizen of our country??? A lot of irrational idiocy is spilled out in the name of patriotism…

  10. 10 Mohammed Ali
    July 1, 2008 at 12:36

    Extreme patriotism is like faith were nothing is questioned but beleive as it is. It poses serious danger to civility just as religious extremism.

  11. 11 parth guragain
    July 1, 2008 at 12:39

    patrotism can never be poisonous.it is different groups who use it for their selfish resons make it look poisonous sometimes.

  12. 12 Julie P
    July 1, 2008 at 12:39

    Patriotism proud of your country. Nationalism = hyperbolic.

  13. 13 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 12:48

    Patriotism CAN be poisonous when it degenerates to “my country right or wrong”. If you’re blind to your country’s faults how can you ever fix them?

  14. 14 Lubna
    July 1, 2008 at 12:51

    Hello my Precious Mark… Such an interesting thread ! In my opinion we have to differentiate here between one’s opinions and attitude towards his/her government and his/her opinions and attitude towards his/her own country or homeland… If I criticise firmly the attitude of my own government regarding a certain domestic or outside matter, then does that make me any less patriotic ?! And why is patriotism in most circumstances related to standing by your own government blindly in getting involved in, and even starting wars, whether justified or not, whether fair or not ?! Why is patriotism in most circumstances related to the quantity of innocent blood on your both hands ?! With my love.. Yours forever, Lubna..

  15. 15 Uzondu Esionye
    July 1, 2008 at 12:52

    Patriotism was the term used in the bloody 14 year civil war, by those who started the war. people were introduced to the worst form of violence in oder to show patriotism. Now Liberians do not talk about been patriotic anymore,because the term is associated with bad flash backs of the civil crisis.The debate on patriotism has started again,let’s hope this time it leads to us truly loving our country. I love my country though.

  16. 16 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 13:02

    @ Bob

    I noticed when I was in Australia, in grocery stores, there was this brand, an Australian brand, with a flag on it, and I think a drawing of the owner, and the message was to buy his brand, not Kraft, because Kraft was American (or better, not Australian). I’ve never seen any product in the USA that tries to discourage people from buying domestically made items owned by a foreign company. Virtually every food I eat is from a company owned in another country. What isn’t made by Nestle anyways? I think Budweiser is the only major domestic brewer left now..

  17. 17 Vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 13:36

    Flags,Anthems and Uniforms ,how 19th century nation-state.
    The USA has a lot to offer the world but one the most digusting aspects of its society is blind patriotism .(insularity isn’t far behind,)
    Patriotism is hammered into Americans from the day they are born,pledge of allegiance ,flag worship ,standing for the national anthem with hand over heart,July 4th ,reverance for the Declaration of Independence(blacks 3/5ths human, whites 7/5ths) and obsession for a Constitution that’s out of date(still no Equal Rights Amendment)

    The brain washing and conditioning is reinforced by collective myths such as Columbus discovering America and the people winning independence( rather than a coup by oligarchs who did not want to pay taxes backed by the French and Spanish who did most of the work).
    The historian Simon Schama wrote a book about Revolutions that sycophantically said all revolutions had failed apart from the American Revolution , I wonder if CANADA is not a better country than the
    USA.

  18. 18 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 13:46

    @ Vijay, are you in the USA? I do hopeso, because if you aren’t what are you basing this off of? When you’re citing things about how horrible the US is, you’re citing to things that are no longer valid. Should I start describing current Germany by talking about the Nuremberg Laws and the death camps? Or is this only about bashing the USA?

    “Still no equal rights amendment” omg, I had tea come out of my nose for that one. Can you name me ANY country that has that? Then of course you had to single out USA again. I hope you don’t mind sharing bathrooms in public with the opposite sex.

  19. 19 Justin from Iowa
    July 1, 2008 at 14:10

    Patriotism usually means extremism, in today’s day and age. Extremism is the bane of all rational, well thought discussion – which is or should be the core of politics.

  20. July 1, 2008 at 14:20

    “Is patriotism over-rated or something to be celebrated ? And do you value it in your politicians ?”

    Who came up with this question? What have we come to as a society when we question the very essence upon which our nations are built? How can patriotism be overrated? Is loving your mother overrated?

    Patriotism is such an instrinsic quality that I cannot comprehend how it can be questioned so non-chalantly.

    If as citizens of a nation we do not have patriotism, then we disrespect the thousands of our ancestors who have died building the place in which we live and securing it from our enemies. We are show appreciation for the freedoms and economic prosperity we enjoy by being patriotic. Being a citizen entitles one to rights AND responsibilities, that so many tragically forget.

  21. 21 John in Salem
    July 1, 2008 at 14:24

    I have to agree completely with Obama on this. In the context of a presidential campaign any questions about patriotism can only be poisonous.
    It’s a desperation tactic nowadays employed under the guise of an unofficial “527 group” and has become a standard tool when one party wants to throw up a smokescreen to distract voters from the issues when it senses it might be vulnerable to their opponent on some point. Most voters see it for what it is but it always has some impact on the numbers.
    I was saddened to hear this comment come from General Clark, a man whom I respected greatly at one time.

  22. 22 1430a
    July 1, 2008 at 14:25

    i do actually agree to the point made by Bob:
    “Patriotism is like anything else. Used in moderation it’s healthy but, taken to extremes, it CAN be poisonous.”
    An example is of the great Indian patriot ‘Bhagat Singh”if you do know him.It was ok when he was doing the propagandas and the rallys but when he started the voilence-it cost him not only his life but India lost one of its bravest solders.

    I remember a famous quote by Albert Einstein:
    “Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -how passionately I hate them!”

    i hope u understand:)

  23. July 1, 2008 at 14:33

    @1430a

    “Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -how passionately I hate them!”

    You mean that very same Einstein who was rescued by the USA from the clutches of Nazi Germany who, after using him to built an atom bomb, would have murdered him? That very same man who compromised his “unshakalble” pacificism to create the world’s most destructive weapon?

    Everything but the scientific works of Einstein are nothing but nonsense and the scattered thoughts of a fickle intellectual. Such is the nature of those who reject the notion of patriotism; the very same people who depend on their country to protect their rights while stabing it in the back under the guise of “criticism”. Patriotism is not poisonous, such people are.

  24. 24 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 14:48

    @ Steve

    I’m not sure exactly what your point was meant to be but, yes, there is a general feeling here in favour of buying Australian food and produce rather than foreign equivalents. I see nothing wrong with this–indeed, it works out (in carbon footprint terms) to be good for the earth.

    On top of that, depending on when you were here, there was indeed an anti-Kraft sentiment a few years back (before I got here but my wife has told me about it). This has to do with a very Australian issue: Kraft bought out the the company that produced an “iconic” Australian product called Vegemite and this created a fair bit of bad feeling which I’m sure any “crafty” competitor was happy to capitalise on.

    However, it’s interesting that you say Americans are never discouraged from buying foreign products. This certainly doesn’t ring true to me.

    At a basic level, in my professional life I participate in a number of forums to do with live sound equipment. One of the most frequent types of post there comes from American contributors explaining why they won’t buy various brands of equipment because they’re made in Germany/England/Denmark/China or wherever. Without getting into a technical discussion, suffice to say that an awful lot of the gear purchased in the USA is selected because it is American even though foreign options are generally considered better by most professionals. Fair enough. Support your own industry.

    Beyond that though, didn’t a good many Americans boycott French products because France refused to support the war in Iraq? Even ignoring the fact that France was proven right on most issues, wasn’t this exactly the sort of mis-placed patriotism that might be considered “poisonous”?

    I hope you enjoyed your “Freedom Fries”! (Although, ironically, they’re only called French Fries in the USA and Canada anyway!)

  25. July 1, 2008 at 14:49

    Patriotism is just a word. It can mean anything you think it is.

    Some say it is Patriotic to speak strongly against a political policy you do not like. or a person you don’t like.

    Some say it is Patriotic to call for the impeachment of George W. Bush. It means nothing. Everyone alive get up, usually eats, then goes about doing what ever it is that they do. If you are a community organizer like Barak Obama, that is patriotic. If you ally with Preachers who talk “White Hate” against the society they are a part of, that may be Patriotic from your perspective.

    Whatever!!!!

    troop

  26. 26 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 14:52

    @ Bob

    Boycott French products? If anything, French wine sales went up.

    So if a foreign company buys up any country’s iconic product, then it’s okay to use patriotism to say “buy our products, don’t buy theirs because it’s foreign!”??? rather than the normal competition,”buy our’s because it’s better!”. That’s patriotism, extreme patriotism, and I was pointing it out to you. I’ve never in my life been discouraged by any person or company to buy products made in the USA by foreign owned companies.

    Jaguar, Land Rover, etc were owned by Ford. Did the British go into hyper patriotic overdrive mode and avoid buying them because an American company owned those companies?

    The australia thing is anti foreign, that goes beyond just normal competition.

  27. 27 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 14:58

    @ John Crichton

    Historical “point of order”.

    Einstein was in no way “rescued from the clutches of Nazi Germany” by the USA. Einstein moved to the USA completely of his own volition in 1931.

    Also, although his theories were used to create the atomic bomb, Einstein himself had little or nothing to do with the practicalities of building such a device. He was a theoretical physicist, not an engineer.

  28. 28 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 15:00

    @ Bob

    I’m sure the nazi’s policies had something to do with Einstein’s “own volition in 1931”.

  29. 29 Lubna
    July 1, 2008 at 15:01

    If I claim that I do love my country dearly, then I must speak out very strongly everytime I see my country committing wrongful acts… If I claim that I do love my country dearly, then I must speak out very strongly everytime I see my country getting involved in or even starting a dirty conflict in which huge numbers of innocent civilians are murdered senselessly for no fault they’ve made except being the ‘OTHER’, being ‘DIFFERENT’ from who I am… If I claim that I do love my country dearly, then I must not rush to find justifications for every wrongful act or every horrific crime against ‘OTHER’ innocent civilians my country commits… If I claim that I do love my country dearly, then I must aspire to seeing my country on the international stage a force for good, a moral example that stands always by the side of those who are being treated unfairly anywhere around the world, not a destructive power with double moral standards… With my love.. Yours forever, Lubna..

  30. 30 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 15:07

    @ Steve

    Your memory is a bit selective on this. The boycott of French products was widely publicised and, compared to most such political actions, very successful. At it’s peak, consumption of French wine in the USA went down by over 26% and, over the whole six month term of the boycott, the total reduction was about 13%. Source: http://www.decanter.com/news/80538.html

    The effects on other products, notably cheeses, were similar.

    I mention this again because this action was nothing to do with simple brand competition…it was a political action….patriotism if you like.

  31. 31 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 15:10

    @ Steve regarding Einstein

    Of course his choice was due to his awareness of the developing political climate in Germany after Hitler’s election. No argument there.

    However, my issue was with the rather dramatic description of him being “rescued from the clutches of Nazi Germany” which, compared with the mundane reality, is a rather skewed view of history.

  32. 32 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 15:10

    @ Bob

    How is it a boycott unless sales went down 100%? Did the US competitors put on their wine labels “Don’t buy that Merlot, it’s from France! Buy American!”???

  33. 33 Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako, London
    July 1, 2008 at 15:11

    It is not partriotism that poisons politics; rather, what poisons politics is the deliberate attempt by some politicians who don’t understand what patriotism really means, to exploit the ignorance voters for their selfish ambitions. Patriotism, to me, is the love for one’s country – and by country, I mean the people/citizens of that nationality. Patriotism is deep affection for fellow citizens to the point that you will do everything to ensure or promote their welbeing. I have a problem with any politician who claims to be patriotic and yet go about destroying fellow citizens (political opponents) just so they can win power. Those are the people who poison politics.

  34. 34 Omunyaruguru
    July 1, 2008 at 15:19

    Let me put down a set of interesting words:

    Patriotism, Racism, Religionism, Tribalism, Nationalism, classism, ……ism.

    These …isms are as powerful as atomic energy, and one can use them for destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki (as Eisnten thought they should when he wrote to the President) or providing electricity to a nation in need (as the good Iranian engineer would like to do).

    Man by nature will always have a basis for saying ‘they’ are different from ‘us.’ It is that element in man that is POISONOUS

  35. 35 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 15:20

    @ Steve

    1. Compared to most “consumer boycotts” 26% is a huge result.

    2. My point is precisely that. The boycott wasn’t corporate competition. It was politcally motivated action started by “extremist” patriots, such as the ones running this site: http://www.usenvy.com/boycott.html

    However, I fear I have allowed you to divert me onto a discussion of a fairly inconsequential detail rather than the general question about whether patriotism, when taken too far, can poison politics.

    Which it clearly can.

  36. 36 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 15:22

    @ Bob

    Did US products, on their own label, say “don’t buy that! It’s not American! It’s from FRANCE!” Did they?

  37. July 1, 2008 at 15:23

    @Bob in Queensland

    Of course it was by his own volition! Yes, it had nothing to do with the peaking anti-semitism in a Germany already dominated by the National Socialists who widely announced its intentions to exterminate and expell the Jews and hang its opponents. They said the same thing about Einstein and other prominent intellectuals.

    As for the atomic bomb, Einstein’s ideas were instrumental in constructing it, no matter how one considers the matter. Although he may not have been an engineer, he laid the foundation for it.

    The reason why I dismiss Einstein’s commentary on patriotism is that despite being a very talented scientist, he was very politically naive and should have stuck to what he knew best: physics, not social commentary.

  38. 38 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 15:30

    @ Steve

    Not having been in the USA at the time of the boycott I can’t answer that but, from your tone I suspect not. However, as I said before, this sub-topic is really just a diversion from the general question about whether or not too much patriotism can be a bad thing.

    Are you saying that patriotism is always a good thing and can never, in excess, be a bad thing? Is blindly supporting your country’s government even if you believe it to be wrong justified?

    Those are the more important questions.

  39. 39 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 1, 2008 at 15:37

    @Bob

    I do not believe in blindly supporting my government. I do not agree with many of our administration’s policies, but I am patriotic and I believe I should still support my country. A country should not be defined by its policies but the people. I compare it to a friend who has different beliefs but I will support their decision to perform a particular act, even though I disagree.

  40. 40 Julie P
    July 1, 2008 at 15:42

    A quick obervation about how patriotism can be poisoning; it can cross the line into nationalism and pit one against another.

  41. 41 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 15:47

    @ Julie P

    What is nationalism though? Today is Canada Day in Canada, except Quebec, I believe. If you meet Canadians, for the most part, they tend to identify themselves as a culture by how they aren’t Americans, so it’s almost a hostility, an insecurity of people thinking they are American. If you ever travel abroad, and meet a Canadian, the first thing they will do is say Canada in the first sentence they’ll say to you. If you ever suggest a Canadian is American, they go ballistic. I was in a bar in Sydney back in 2003, and the bartender was incredibly hesitant to ask where I was from and he straight up asked “are you Canadian or American?” becuase as I later found it, Canadians would go absolutely nuts if he said “where in the US are you from?”… That’s pretty hostile. Is that nationalism or insecurity?

  42. 42 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 15:49

    There seems to be something of a divine mandate ideology that is incumbant for people to embrace here in the States in order to be considered patriotic. “God bless America” does not seem to mean so much “God grant us wisdom and guidance” as it does “God, we expect you to show favour to us now that we have carried out Your divine Will.” Our military has God’s backing. Our President has God’s backing. Question them, and you are a faithless heathen. If anyone doubts that this patriotic theology has invaded our soiety, try attending a patriotic celemration in Small Town America. They practically call you to the altar after declaring God’s blessings on certain Republican politicianss (a la Buckley) and military operations. It is scary.

    You are not patriotic if you demonstrate against the war(s). You are not patriotic if you are not pro-life. You are not patriotic if you favour taxing the wealthy. You are not patriotic if you oppose sending missionaries into schools. You are not patriotic if you appreciate the United Nations.

    When patriotism is whittled to such narrow definitions, then yes, it is poisonous. And deeply frightening. When I am exposed to it, my blood turns to ice in my veins, and I sense this resounding urge to flee the room.

  43. 43 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 15:52

    @ Shirley

    “You are not patriotic if you demonstrate against the war(s). You are not patriotic if you are not pro-life. You are not patriotic if you favour taxing the wealthy. You are not patriotic if you oppose sending missionaries into schools. You are not patriotic if you appreciate the United Nations.”

    Isn’t that your problem if you let that get to you? It’s like what Eleanor Roosevelt said, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. Who cares if some people say you are unpatriotic if you oppose a war?

  44. 44 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 15:52

    Okay, a question then (and let’s try to move this away from a discussion about the USA and on to more general grounds).

    You are a citizen of Whysland and a Sergeant in the Whysland army. President Atkins decides it is time to invade the Republic of Radiofour with a view to ethnic cleansing a substantial number of the people there. You deeply disagree with this on both moral grounds and because you are fairly sure that this military action could lead to the destruction of Whysland by a coalition of other armies.

    Is it more patriotic to support President Atkins despite your misgivings or to openly and vocally express your disagreement and refuse to participate in the invasion despite your military status?

  45. 45 Ogola Benard
    July 1, 2008 at 15:53

    Patriotism is a weapon for good governance, because you cannot be a leader with out love for your own country. However patriotism for cheer thirst of power leads to bad politics. a politic that troubles the world and causes concern to everybody.
    I did not read Mugabe manifesto!

  46. July 1, 2008 at 16:03

    @Bob in Queensland

    “Is it more patriotic to support President Atkins despite your misgivings or to openly and vocally express your disagreement and refuse to participate in the invasion despite your military status?”

    As a soldier bound by oath, you have two choices in this situation:

    1. Resign your position in the army and criticize all you want as a civilian

    2. Follow President Atkins’ orders and do your job since he, presumabely is the Commander in Chief.

    All other actions would be dishonorable. Besides one can never be sure of the outcome of a war, and with the current political climate a nation like Whysland has a fairly high chance of succesfuly carrying out the invasion without any interference and, after a short round of “sanctions”, carry on as before.

  47. 47 Julie P
    July 1, 2008 at 16:06

    @Steve,

    Nationalism is placing one nation above all others, with emphasis on promoting its culture (as an example the five arts, and film) over other nations. When practiced it can create environments where one believes their culture is better than another. Nazi Germany promoted their entire as superior to all others. Other damaging outcomes of nationalism are tariffs, or as this forum had been debating, boycotting other nations products because it did not meet the approval of another nation’s goal. It became evident to me as the debate went on because I saw it happening here, even among people who would otherwise like each other.

  48. 48 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 16:12

    @ John Crichton

    Okay.

    However, since you mentioned Nazi Germany a few posts up, what if I’d said Adolph Hitler instead of President Atkins? (And, for the avoidance of doubt, in no way am I comparing Ros to Hitler!)

    As I recall, the “I was only following orders” defence didn’t work very well at Nuremburg.

    Obviously there has to come a point where extreme patriotism goes wrong–Nazi Germany is an example of this. The grey area is deciding where to draw the line.

  49. July 1, 2008 at 16:20

    @ Bob,

    That’s called a “Nuremberg Defense” and it did not work. Saying Adolf Hitler would not have made much of a difference in my view. As an oath-bound soldier, your loyalty is to your superiors and your profession mandates that you follow their orders. That is why one has the choice of resigning, whatever the consequences of that might be, if one is morally opposed to committing certain actions.

    I agree there is a point when patriotism becomes self-destructive, such as in the case of Nazi Germany. But that does not mean that patriotism is “the refuge of a scoundrel”, it means that one must keep a level head on one’s shoulders.

  50. 50 Mohammed Ali
    July 1, 2008 at 16:34

    Patriotism and love for country are two words Liberian politicians used to cajole the youths in destroying Liberia for 14 years. Charles Taylor was “Patriotic and had love for Liberia” and there formed the National Patriotic Front of Liberia and launched a war that killed almost 300,000 people and destroyed every fabric of our society.
    It was also in the name of the same “patriotism and love” of that led Samuel K. Doe and his colleagues to brutally killing President William R. Tolbert, one of Liberia’s best presidents and his cabinet. Patriotism in the Liberian sense especially politics connotes something related to war and destruction.

  51. 51 John in Salem
    July 1, 2008 at 16:41

    I agree with Julie on this.
    Patriotism is a sentiment. Nationalism is patriotism with a purpose..

  52. 52 VictorK
    July 1, 2008 at 16:44

    I agree with John Chrichton’s statement about the foundational and essential nature of patriotism, and the oddness of questioning it. Iraq and Somalia are two good examples of what happens when patriotic sentiment is either non-existent or is less powerful than tribal, clan and sectarian loyalties. Similarly with the Palestinian Authority. Another example comes to mind with the now well-establiushed habit of Arab armies of dropping their weapons and showing their backs to the enemy (how, in the absence of patriotism, can any country ever defend itself?). Any country in which citizens massacre fellow citizens in political riots or with car- and suicide-bombs suffers a patriotism deficit. Only those who enjoy the benfits of a widely diffused and powerful sense of patriotism can indulge in the luxury of questioning it.

    Patriotism needs to be distinguished from nationalism: the first is about loving your country, taking pride in its history, its achievements, its character and reputation, its future greatness, and wanting what’s best for it. It’s entirely consistent with holding a critical attitude towards elements of your country’s past or present practice. Nationalism is about exalting your country at the expense of some other national group (internal or external). It’s blind, fanatical, bombastic, rigid, and often murderous (the Nazis, the Italians in Ethiopia, etc). By contrast, the two most patriotic peoples in Europe – according to a survey a couple of years ago – are the British and the Spanish. They are also two of the most undemonstrative peoples when it comes to expressing that patriotism.

    Obama is one to talk. His wife, by her own admission, has spent most of her life not loving her country. His 20 year membership of a black nationalist (sic) church, a church which practically included as an article of faith hatred of America, makes it perfectly reasonable for people to question his patriotism. Of course he doesn’t want the issue raised.

    Patriotism is a difficult subject – when it’s not a dirty word – for parties of the left. Most of them – from New Labour to the Democrats – are more inclined to view things from a global and internationalist perspective, and often look down on what they regard as backward, provincial and outdated national ways of thinking and feeling. They are citizens of the world who sometimes seem to find it difficult, or unnecessary, to distinguish between their compatriots and everybody else. So to this anti- or unpatriotic class inmates of Guantanamo must have the same rights as American citizens, illegal immigrants are ‘undocumented workers’ who just need to be regularised into ordinary citizens by issuing them with the right forms, the lack of democracy in Zimbabwe is regarded with as much outrage as if members of this globally-minded class had personally suffered from its consequences (I’m beginning to sympathise with Mugabe in his attacks on Western governments), terrorists must not be extradited to countries where they will be less favourably treated than they would be in a country like Britain, wealthy countries should be taxed for the benefit of poorer countries, not to mention the countless programmes they usually support to eradicate disease and poverty and to extend educational opportunities on a global basis.

    The real issue is: why does the left prefer cross-national initiatives and ways of seeing things (note how an issue global warming gets them really excited) and have such a problem with patriotism?

  53. 53 Gretchen Eldrich
    July 1, 2008 at 16:44

    Since 9/11 gave the US a case of shell shock and dementia with which it still struggles, “Patriotism” has been twisted and misused in the most pernicious manner.

    Patriotism for most of US history meant defending your country, and yet questioning your government, demanding transparency, speaking up against injustice, protesting if you saw wrongdoing.

    Now, in the post-9/11 atmosphere, Patriotism has been co-opted to mean defending the country but never questioning your government, giving the administration everything it wants, submitting your private affairs to unfettered unauthorized government intrusion and control (because, if you are a true Patriot, you have nothing to fear, right?) Anyone who speaks against the expansion of the unitary executive, the reduction in our freedoms and rights, the ceding of our privacy, and the slow establishment of a Big Brother/police state, is branded “unpatriotic,” “unsupportive of the troops” and “soft on terror.”

    Most of the terror is coming from the government anymore. In a country that astoundingly has reconciled itself to extraordinary rendition, secret prisons, torture and illegal eavesdropping, how short a trip is it to the Argentinization of America? Will we have families marching around the Mall in DC protesting the “Disappeared?”

    True Patriots will pull us back out of this insanity and recover the dignity and grace we experienced before we started behaving like a wounded animal in a corner.

  54. July 1, 2008 at 16:47

    @ Mohammed Ali,

    Although I sympathize with the victims of these wars, I also must note that rejecting a notion simply because it has been used for evil in the past is illogical.

    Free speech is often used by people to bring on acts detrimental to humanity. Should we then, reject the notion of free speech because of that? No, of course not.

    Free speech, just like patriotism are necessary for progress as a nation and people.

  55. 55 John in Salem
    July 1, 2008 at 16:55

    Viktor~
    Why does the left have such a problem with patriotism?

    Ever hear of the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities?

  56. July 1, 2008 at 16:55

    PATRIOTISM is not just words, it is action! Obama has only empty words and rhetoric to describe his PATRIOTISM that he does not have.

  57. July 1, 2008 at 16:56

    VictorK,

    Very well said.

    “The real issue is: why does the left prefer cross-national initiatives and ways of seeing things (note how an issue global warming gets them really excited) and have such a problem with patriotism?”

    There is a Russian expression which I think describes the situation with those left-wingers well, it basically translated to: “going mad with their fat”. What that comes down to is that these people, having rarely left their country (for which they nevertheless feel little or no patriotism), selectively studied history or not at all (“let’s give Socialism or Communism another chance!”) and having never faced hardship are literally so bored with their well-off lives that they have the luxury to abandon their duties as citizens and love for their country to engage in academic discussion on the merits of patriotism, while those on whom they look down, protect them from the Islamic extermists with whom they’d like to find a diplomatic solution and sing “kumbayah”.

  58. 58 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 1, 2008 at 16:59

    @Gretchen

    I admit that things have changed since 9/11 but you can’t really think the government is movement of terror. People became more patriotic because it was the first time in this generation that something happened on our soil.

  59. 59 archibald in oregon
    July 1, 2008 at 17:09

    Why can’t we all become global patriots and better the world we all live in, rather than split hairs on the individual better than, worse than of each country. This may sound naive, but after reading the tit for tat squabble surrounding this question of patriotism, the answer seems obvious from the get go. Patriotism is poison because it subverts informed support of a government, cause or society, by placing manufactured pressure on decisions that must be individual to be authentic………

  60. 60 Mohammed Ali
    July 1, 2008 at 17:15

    @John Chrichton,
    Noit should remain, patriotism is good idea. But the point from I am speaking is that this idea has been misused in the past to bring our country to its knee.
    Of course at times ideas and symbols that connoted and denoted to be good can be scrapped out if they are used to desecrate society and comit crimes against humanity. For example the swastika was used as a symbol of peace in the days of old, but when the Nazis used it as their symbol and comitted such hineous crimes against humanity, it was scrapped.

  61. July 1, 2008 at 17:22

    Dissent is the purest form of Patriotism. The problem is in the definition. What is a Patriot? Well, if you asked different people, you would get different answers. Ask someone like George Bush if he is a Patriot and he would say of course. To me I think he is a Nazi. Ask Bush what is a Patriot and he would tell you it’s someone that is a good citizen and does what they are supposed to do. What are they supposed to do? Well anything their government tells them of course. To me a patriot is someone that is willing to hoist the black flag and start slitting throats when need be. As Thomas Jefferson said-
    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

    I am ready to hoist the flag…

  62. 62 Peter Gizzi UK
    July 1, 2008 at 17:27

    As you all know I hate The European Union and will only consider myself British. My Italian Grandparents naturalised in the early 1900s. My Grandfather fought for this country in WW!. That’s patriotism. Now I have to consider myself European until of course The Olympic Games when suddenly I’ll have to be British again?

    I buy Autralian wine as they are part of The Commonwealth. Good value too!

    Patriotism it’s all a load of tosh.

  63. 63 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 17:27

    @ Mike Wasdin

    I juge pet peeve of mine is when people call something “nazi” when it isn’t. Nazi is an abbreviation of the NSDAP = Natzional Sozialisten Deutschland Arbeiter Partei (National Socialist German worker’s party). i assure you, George bush is NOT a member of that organization, not does he share remotely any views they have. so Don’t call someone something they are not. That would be like me hijacking a word, say lesbian, and using it to mean something it’s not. There is ONE use and one use only for the term Nazi, and that is Nazi era Germany and the people that ruled it and the people that constituted it.

  64. 64 Will Rhodes
    July 1, 2008 at 17:28

    Happy Canada Day to all who would be interested. Today is the day when Canada does celebrate what Canada does stand for – and those celebrations are largely ignored around the world.

    Yet even on this day we draw ourselves to American patriotism. What Obama did also say was it was very patriotic for the citizens to speak up when the government isn’t leading the nation in the direction the people want to go.

    The Turkish AKP are almost on the verge of being labelled illegal because of some of the policies that they are pursuing – this will, of course spark a general election in Turkey. Attaturk never foresaw religion in politics.

    Congratulations to Spain for winning, deservedly so, it was a good match and they out-played Germany.

    What you find in the UK is patriotism is down played so much it is frowned upon by the majority of politicians – even to this day it is seen as uncouth to fly your flag, well in England anyway.

    You see, say at an international cricket match young Asian men and women, who are obviously British born fly the flag of their ‘home’ nation – is that showing patriotism to the country of your birth or you ancestral home?

    Having lived in so many nations it is a pleasure to see all these different levels of patriotism – and the least patriotic government is the UK one – overtly anyway.

  65. 65 Julie P
    July 1, 2008 at 17:32

    @Will,

    Are you going to any fireworks displays tonight? I would think in NB there would some place where you can see them getting shot off over some water; always a beautiful sight. While you’re at it knock back a few Molson Goldens for me!

  66. 66 Jaroslav, Slovakia
    July 1, 2008 at 17:37

    Patriotism itself is not poisonous, but the things one can hide behind patriotism are.

  67. 67 vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 17:37

    I love Mark Twain on patriotism

    “Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man”- with his mouth.
    – “The Lowest Animal”
    and
    “We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter–exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place–the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else’s keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan.”
    – Mark Twain, a Biography

  68. 68 VictorK
    July 1, 2008 at 17:44

    @Archibald: I sympathise with your point about making a better world but I really don’t think that ‘global patriotism’ will ever get the job done.

    There’s a proverb about how if every person sweeps the front of their house, then the whole street will be clean. And if every nation works to manage its own affairs for the best, then we’ll be closer to having a better world. Working to improve your own country is surely a more manageable and realistic task than working to improve the world. As a rule (and a few ideologically driven people excepted) it’s just not in human nature to feel for another country what you feel for your own. We should work with human nature in co-opting those natural affections for country and countrymen into a force for patriotic good, and not work against human nature by trying to encourage feeelings and motives that have no natural root in it.

    I also disagree with your last point. Patriotism does not imply or inescapably lead to loyalty to the government. The government can be the enemy of a society and a nation (unfortunately the governments of the European Union countries fall into just that category, at least as regards the Lisbon Treaty), and patriotism is about loyalty to the nation, its traditions and its prospects; it’s about loyalty to the government only insofar as it is also patriotic in values and conduct. A government like that of Zimbabwe deserves not the loyalty of its people but to be overthrown forcibly by them, in an act of supreme patriotism. The kind of patriotism that I espouse is one that believes in limited government and that sees politics as a very small (and unimportant) part of the life of a society.

  69. July 1, 2008 at 17:47

    Steve,

    I use the term more as a rhetorical trope than an actual definition. It’s sad really that I had to explain this, most people get it.

  70. 70 Jens
    July 1, 2008 at 17:49

    patriotism has to be seperated from politic, just as much as religion has to be. Both religion and patriotism are more of a spiritual thing. I am not american yet but do feel patriotic towards this country, because i chose to live here. On the flip side I do support switzerland and england playing football/soccer, since i was born in one of the countries and lived in the other for a substantial time. in addition, i was supporting germany in the finals, since i started my life with a german passport (congrats to spain they were a beautiful and much better team to watch).

    i think patriotism should be used to pull a country together in terms of supporting one another, as in case of the floods, hurricans, tornados etc or simply rooting for your team. i do not think well of flag-lapel patriots, they are just the same as people having bumper stickers saying “god loves you” and they drive to meeting to screw the opponent over. both smacks of hypocracy.

  71. July 1, 2008 at 17:49

    I think partritism is killing politics in Africa more than any other country in the world.African leaders should understand that it’s always wrong to be self conscious.

  72. July 1, 2008 at 17:52

    Patriotism is like an intoxicant. When administered properly it can be a rallying point for good, but the other way round it is very destructive. History is replete with examples. I think it is a concept that should be allowed to come to a citizen of it own accord not by means of imposition and indoctrination.

  73. 73 vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 17:53

    Barack Hussein Obama should be scared of patriotism ,with an “Unamerican” muslim sounding name and going to school in an Indonesian madrasa, the average us joe might be wary of electing him ,he has bound to down play that angle and play up the first black man angle.

    @steve what did you mean by “I hope you don’t mind sharing bathrooms in public with the opposite sex”

  74. 74 Ian from Arizona
    July 1, 2008 at 17:54

    General Wesley Clark asked a valid question that people are afraid to answer.

    General Clark did not question Senator McCain’s patriotism. General Clark made it clear that Senator McCain is very patriotic and served his country well. General Clark asked whether Senator McCain’s service made him fit to be the Commander in Chief.

    This is a valid question that people are afraid to answer because questioning Republicans, in their eyes, means that you are unpatriotic. Senator McCain makes claims that his experience makes him the best choice to be President. His own arguments open the subject to review.

    We should never be afraid to ask a question.

    ~ Ian from Arizona

  75. 75 Will Rhodes
    July 1, 2008 at 17:57

    @ John Chrichton

    That’s called a “Nuremberg Defense” and it did not work. Saying Adolf Hitler would not have made much of a difference in my view. As an oath-bound soldier, your loyalty is to your superiors and your profession mandates that you follow their orders.

    Using this analogy – would this then not dispose of the need for the 2nd Amendment in the US constitution?

    As we know the ruling has now been declared in favour of those who support gun ownership, fair-dos.

    But, if the army is supposed to follow orders as you have stated, for fear of being disloyal, dishonourable, then this would mean that those who were in the US armed forces would be patriotically bound to help a tyrannical government take away any rights that the US citizen has.

    So if orders were given, by the commander in chief, to sweep away the constitutional rights and bring about a coupe de ta in the US – for the citizens own good of course, the soldier would be honour bound to follow orders.

    That isn’t patriotism – that is nationalism, of which some in the US political arena are exceptionally good at evoking in the guise of patriotism.

  76. July 1, 2008 at 17:59

    Patriotism is what holds a country together. Without it there can no sense of belonging to it. But it shouldn’t be used as a political tool by some political leaders to reach their political ambitions and anyone opposing them is considered as a traitor. There were many human rights abuses because of the exploitation of patriotism as a pretext to jail or kill political opponents.

    Through the use of patriotism some governments wage wars and consider sacrifices as an honour. Anyone opposing such a war is considered as traitor.

    But real patriotism is that when one asks what he has done for his country and not what their country has done for them. There should be a competition for its best. A country belongs to all its citizens. Zealous and blind patriotism on the part of political leaders can lead them to taking excessive measures regardless of the expectations f their people or the international community.

    Immigrants, especially in Europe and the United States still have attachments to their countries of origin. In 2002 Football World Cup, the Americans of Irish origins were supporting both the USA and the Irish teams, for them either winning was for them a victory. In Florida, Americans of Cuban origin are still attached to Cuba, by actively opposing the communist government there.

    In short, patriotism and politics go hand in hand for people living inside or outside their countries. But patriotism shouldn’t poison politics to the extent of making a country victim of its zealous patriots, through wars, international economic sanctions and human rights abuses.

  77. 77 Will Rhodes
    July 1, 2008 at 18:00

    @ Julie P

    I drink Keiths! LOL

    We will be going out to see the fireworks – but they won’t be going off over water, but that would be a brilliant sight!

    In the village we live in we can state, truthfully, that we have the best display outside of Fredericton! 🙂

  78. 78 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 18:01

    @ vijay

    one of the consequence of the Equal Rights Amendment would be that you could not justify having different bathrooms for the sexes, as that is segregation, and you cannot segregate and be equal. So I hope you enjoy, in youw onderful nation with equal rights, sharing a bathroom with women.

  79. 79 Dr.James
    July 1, 2008 at 18:05

    Barack is right the patriotism question has been an achilles heel for Democrats. If you look back at 2000, 2004 the Republicans have been effective in raising doubts about the Gore and Kerry. Its are to believe a decorated military guy like Kerry was swiftboated and Barack needs to watch his back or it will be done to him.

    Thanks for having this discussion.

  80. 80 Jens
    July 1, 2008 at 18:05

    we will not have a fireworks display in ABQ, since it has not rained for 3 months. 😦

    but i guess we shall have some rio grand outlaw beers.

  81. 81 Jens
    July 1, 2008 at 18:06

    Steve,

    what is wrong sharing a bathroom with women?

  82. 82 Alison
    July 1, 2008 at 18:06

    I think patriotism drives politics, not poisons it. If people hated this country and didn’t care how it was being governed, why would they bother going out to vote in the first place? When I visit the polls, I know my one little vote won’t really matter, but I go anyway because I see it as my chance to tell my government what I think. I usually vote for a third party (even more useless), but it’s my opportunity to make my views known to my government. I don’t agree with what my government is doing around the world, but I feel a sense of patriotism knowing I can say what I think without getting my hand chopped off….maybe my standards are low these days.

  83. July 1, 2008 at 18:08

    @ Einstein – So people can make the connection of Einstein and the nuclear bomb, but not our lust for oil and the problems facing that part of the world now? His connection to the atomic bomb is equivalent to that of the guy who invented chocolate to obesity Eleanor Roosevelt is deserved in quoting, but not Einstein? I do think Einstein was pretty smart if he chose to move from fear of the party that ranked 12th and retained 2.6% of the governmental power when he decided to move. In reality he had been traveling back and forth to the US for years and at one point decided that working conditions were too restrictive in Germany. Far from needing saved. I am very glad that he was not “a patriot.”

    Could you imagine if there were a few million Germans who questioned the logic of their government and refused to persecute Jews. Many of them were just “answering the call of their country.” Imagine if they were not just “protecting their buddies.” “Doing the job they were sent to do.” “Following orders” Or “fulfilling my obligation to my oath”. Lots of people would not have been needlessly killed if Germans weren’t so patriotic. Those that act without question are as responsible for their action as those with who act with “evil” intent.

    It turns out that in the history of man, the most dangerous weapon we have developed is the man who acts with out question. The most patriotic thing one can do is to ask the leaders, “Why are you requesting my service?” “What is threat to my family and home?” “Are you, dear leader, willing to steak your life and liberty on the validity of your reasons?” If the leadership can not answer those three questions then you may not be serving your country.

  84. 84 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 1, 2008 at 18:10

    Jens

    There is a lot wrong with sharing a bathroom with the opposite sex. I can’t even share a bathroom with my boyfriend. Some sexes are just cleaner.

  85. July 1, 2008 at 18:11

    @ Will Rhodes,

    The soldier would be bound to follow the order of superior officers within the context of the oath they took. However, soldiers are also bound by laws governing their actions. But yes, to a certain extent the soldier would be bound to commit certain actions at the behest of the superior officer which may or may not be unconstitutional. That is not for the soldier to decide.

    As for the 2nd Amendment, very nice attempt at bringing that back into the discussion, but this case proves the ABSOLUTE need for the individual to bear arms. It is the ultimate and only reliable safeguard of the citizens against tyrannical government. Abolishing it would destroy the private citizen’s last bastion of defense and autonomy as a person and leave him vulnerable to any and all abuse by the state.

  86. 86 CJ McAuley
    July 1, 2008 at 18:12

    Unfortunately, George W. Bush has made his response to 9/11 and his invasion of Iraq an “you’re either with us or against us” thing and has also carried that demeanour into internal as well as external politics. This has also infected politics here in Canada. I refer to this new way of framing “patriotism” as hyper-patriotism, and it is akin to xenophobia. Such a “patriotism” is extremely dangerous and every person who truly loves their freedoms should reject it out of hand!

  87. 87 Chris
    July 1, 2008 at 18:13

    Patriotism is all too often the gateway to oppression and fascism. It has been used as an excuse by the Bush administration to slowly eat away at privacy rights and while it does belong in politics, it can not be used as a mud-slinging tactic. anyone running for president is obviously a patriot.

  88. 88 Venessa
    July 1, 2008 at 18:14

    Well said Lamii Kpargoi!

    Unfortunately in the US I think patriotism has been used to mask the real agenda of the current administration. In this regard it has been very poisonous.

  89. 89 Andre
    July 1, 2008 at 18:14

    What a silly comment by Senator Obama! Patriotism is a basic requirement for any country’s citizens and it is absolutely right that our elected leaders are seen to be strong patriots. Ultimately, it is the love of country and its people that should guide political decisions. Without patriotism, the US President (or any other head of state/government position), could easily act against the national interest – either through hostility or indifference.

    Patriotism is absolutely required for politics and politicians.

  90. 90 Bob Howard
    July 1, 2008 at 18:15

    I absolutely hate this emphasis on patriotism that has crept into our politics because in many instances it seems to manifest itself as blind nationalism – the idea that America is noble and good and cannot possibly act in an unjust manner. It curtails thoughtful examination of our policies at the time when we most need it.

  91. July 1, 2008 at 18:16

    @ Dwight in Cleveland

    Einstein’s connection with the atom was very much direct as his work laid the foundation for the practical application of splitting atom.

    Also, the Nazi party in many cities around Germany literally controlled the streets with the SA and enjoyed a very wide popularity in local and municipal elections. Moreover, in conjunction with other nationalist and Volkish parties at the time, it created a climate of extreme anti-semitism forcing many Jewish people, including Einstein to move abroad for fear for their property and their lives.

  92. July 1, 2008 at 18:16

    The American revolutionaries were not very patriotic. Turns out they hated their country and government so much they were willing to kill them.

  93. 93 Andre in Portland
    July 1, 2008 at 18:17

    Dear BBC:

    What a silly comment by Senator Obama! Patriotism is a basic requirement for any country’s citizens and it is absolutely right that our elected leaders are seen to be strong patriots. Ultimately, it is the love of country and its people that should guide political decisions. Without patriotism, the US President (or any other head of state/government position), could easily act against the national interest – either through hostility or indifference.

    Patriotism is absolutely required for politics and politicians.

    Andre, Portland. Maine, USA

  94. 94 Julie P
    July 1, 2008 at 18:17

    @Will,

    I grew up three miles from Lake Michigan. I loved seeing fireworks getting shot off over the water there. I miss that, since Atlanta is an inland city. The best fireworks display I’ve seen here are a private country club that I crash every Fourth of July. I get to sit almost right under where they get shot off and I get do an “up yours!” at the country club. I think it’s fitting! 😉

    Enjoy your fireworks. Drink your Fredericton tonight. I’m going toss back a few mint juleps on Friday night.

  95. 95 Chris USA
    July 1, 2008 at 18:18

    Patriotism is all to often the gateway to oppression and fascism. It has been used as an excuse by the Bush administration to slowly eat away at privacy rights and while it does belong in politics, it can not be used as a mud-slinging tactic. anyone running for president is obviously a patriot.

  96. 96 Michael in Portland, OR
    July 1, 2008 at 18:19

    It seems to me that patriotism means different things to the left and the right.

    To the right, patriotism means something like loyalty TO THE COUNTRY. Are you loyal to your country in a similar way that you would be loyal to your family?

    To the left, patriotism means something like loyalty to the country’s PRINCIPLES. I often hear American leftists say that they “love this county’s principles,” etc.

    Those are two very different things, and part of the fight is over which one does the word “patriotism” mean.

  97. 97 Kadian in Jamaica
    July 1, 2008 at 18:19

    Good day,

    I believe that patriotism poisons every aspect of life. It divides and antagonizes. Patriotism has been the underlying factor in many if not most wars in the world’s history. Patriotism makes us forget that “the world is but one country and mankind its citizens.” We had better remember it or sadly we will continue to destroy ourselves.

    Kadian in Jamaica

  98. 98 Bob USA
    July 1, 2008 at 18:21

    Dear World Have Your Say:

    I absolutely hate this emphasis on patriotism that has crept into our politics because in many instances it seems to manifest itself as blind nationalism – the idea that America is noble and good and can not possibly act in an unjust manner. It curtails thoughtful examination of our policies at the time when we most need it.

    Sincerely,

    Bob H

    Northern California, U.S.A.

  99. 99 vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 18:21

    The question of patriotism is a rite of passage for any aspiring presidential candidate ,a mere formaility,
    It doesn’t matter what they say ,it is how they say it and the perception of what they say that matters.

    More Twain

    Patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest.
    – Education and Citizenship speech, 5/14/1908

    Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
    – More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

    The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice–and always has been.
    – Mark Twain’s Notebook

    We have a bastard Patriotism, a sarcasm, a burlesque; but we have no such thing as a public conscience. Politically we are just a joke.
    – marginalia written in Clemens’s copy of The Future in America; A Search After Realities by H. G. Wells

  100. 100 Mason Utah USA
    July 1, 2008 at 18:21

    Patriotism is far too politicized.  It has been used to bully, coerce and silence those who do not support the aggressive policies that the United States has clung to throughout its history.  Recently, Congress has bent over and accepted George Bush’s funding request for the wars, they can not refuse because of patriotism, if they turned it down instead of pulling the troops out, they would be decried for not supporting the troops…the real way to support the troops would be to bring them home to their families….
     
    Mason
    Park City, Utah

  101. 101 Craig
    July 1, 2008 at 18:22

    “God bless America” is required to be a patriotic president? Please read the Constitution. While there is nothing wrong with saying it, requiring it is unpatriotic.

  102. July 1, 2008 at 18:22

    Patriotism shouldn’t be limited to boisterous speeches, statutes, museums and military and other spectacular parades.

    For many countries in the third world, patriotism is linked to fighting for liberation and independence.

    Patriotism should be about the present and not a eulogy of the past in an exaggerated and selective way, especially when it comes to the glorification of a leader that should be regarded above question.

  103. 103 L. Walker
    July 1, 2008 at 18:22

    a flag and a pin are empty symbols without the actual emotion and action behind them.

    politicians are in the game for themselves. bush could wear a dress of flags and i wouldn’t believe he was a patriot because of his actions..

  104. 104 Venessa
    July 1, 2008 at 18:22

    I care about my country but I don’t put my hand on my heart when I say the pledge of allegiance or sing the national anthem. Does that make me unpatriotic? If so, why?

  105. 105 Hana Z
    July 1, 2008 at 18:22

    Exaggerated patriotism is one of the things about the USA that makes Europeans slightly nauseated.

  106. 106 Elizabeth
    July 1, 2008 at 18:22

    I think it’s very important to distinguish between patriotism and religion. One caller said that if someone wants to be president they should be willing to say “god bless america” As far as I know, belief in god is not a legal qualification to be president. (It’s probably impossible to get elected without being religious, but its not a precondition)

  107. 107 Martin M Delaware, USA
    July 1, 2008 at 18:23

    The partisan debate that has spawned dangerous untruths, malicious rumours and irresponsible rhetoric surrounding Barack Obama’s candidacy is yet another chapter in the hijacking of coherent and substantive political discourse to attack the candidate.

    It is sad to see the process sink to such lows, evidenced by the Swift Boat attacks that plagued John Kerry’s campaign in 2004.

    Once again, the United States electorate is in danger of being mischieviously sidetracked onto petty issues at the expense of the issues that matter most in this election.

    This brouhaha over superficial and highly subjective definitions of patriotism is not only unnecessary, but an unfortunate commentary on the how American voters reason.

    Thanks.

    Martin M Delaware, USA

  108. 108 anne
    July 1, 2008 at 18:24

    As an American I cringe when I hear the speaker talk about blindly waving flags and wearing pins and calling that patriotism. Why do Americans have to equate partriotism with nationalism and with superiority. That is why so many people and perhaps Obama as well, reject this kind of “America is the greatest” nationalism. I love America and am proud of its accomplishments. I don’t think we’re better than anyone else. Patriotism involves meaningful actions, spouting nationalist tripe is not meaningful.

  109. 109 Bart USA
    July 1, 2008 at 18:24

    Patriotism shouldn’t be confused with nationalism. Patriots are proud of what their county could be. Nationalists believe their country is the best form of government, not only for themselves, but for everyone else too.

    Bart
    Oregon USA

  110. 110 PT
    July 1, 2008 at 18:24

    When we cite the US “founding fathers” as patriots, we need to remember they were also considered to be traitors by the British Crown. Supporting a view, ideology, or system of government often means opposing something else. Are you a patriot or a traitor if you live in Zimbabwe and oppose the current government?

  111. 111 Banks
    July 1, 2008 at 18:25

    Bush and Cheney wrapped themselves in the flag as they waltzed the country to corruption and ruin. The cosmetics have nothing to do with real patriotism.

  112. 112 Richard France
    July 1, 2008 at 18:25

    The difference is fairly simple
    Patriotism is inclusive the love of one’s countryin the ultimate the readiness to die for it, pride in its achievement and honest shame for its shortcomings and the recognition of the rights and achievements of other nations.
    Nationalism on the other hand is exclusive, is the the glorification of one’s country combined with a refusal to accept when it puts it’s foot wrong and failure to recognise the rights and achievements of others and to see them as equals.
    The problem as far as the USA is concerned is that they have confused nationalism with patriotism.

    Richard C
    Vovray en Bornes, France

  113. July 1, 2008 at 18:25

    @ Vanessa

    I think if by care you mean love and are willing to fight and die for your country, then you are patriotic regardless where you put your hands during the Pledge of Allegiance. Also, some people (like me) are better off not signing anything, much less something as sacred as the National Anthem.

  114. 114 Jake Joseph
    July 1, 2008 at 18:25

    I suppose that the current caller would rather substitute meaningless platitudes for action and behavior.

  115. 115 Anthony
    July 1, 2008 at 18:26

    That stupid song they are talking about was some shmuck capitolizing on our emotions at the time (9/11). He just wanted to make money!!! Thats why I hate that song, but I LOVE America 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  116. 116 VictorK
    July 1, 2008 at 18:27

    @ Abdi: you wrote, “I think partritism is killing politics in Africa more than any other country in the world.”

    I’d argue the very opposite: a lot of the problems of African countries stem from the lack of patriotism amongst both governed and governors. Most African countries are artificial creations without any genuine identity or roots in history. Many of them are also multi-ethnic and multi-cultural to the nth degree. Put these all together and you have a situation in which patriotism is impossible because there is no ‘nation’ and no natural sense of ‘we’ as a people with a common destiny who need to work and sacrifice together to make that destiny as bright as possible. Most African countries are prisons with borders in which hostile ethnic groups are forced to live together because they can’t escape from each other.

    Look at the things that African leaders do that no genuine patriot would ever countenance: stealing from the national treausury; granting contracts to foreign corporations that are often disadvantageous to the nation; following on from the last point, accepting bribes from foreign contractors; using the army not to defend the people but to intimidate and control them (African armies often seem a lot more like heavily armed police than soldiers – as soldiers they usually flee when confronted by anything more menacing than unarmed civilians); maintaining themselves in office indefinitely, regardless of the wishes or welfare of the nation; placing their office at the service of their family and tribe, and so on.

    It’s the absence, and the impossibility, of patriotism in much of Africa that contributes to a lot of its problems.

  117. 117 Rachael VR
    July 1, 2008 at 18:27

    I think it is far too easy for patriotism to become blind national allegiance, and frankly I agree with the guest who commented that he doesn’t see the point. Patriotism in America, where I live, is so often used to deny criticism of American actions, at home and abroad – and so frequently, airing such criticism is deemed “unpatriotic.” I’d rather we focus on our common humanity. Citizenship is an accident of birth, unless one has become a naturalized citizen of another country.

  118. 118 Stephen
    July 1, 2008 at 18:28

    I think that this splitting of hairs about patriotism is completely missing the point that Obama is making with his statements about the pin or the pledge of allegiance.

  119. July 1, 2008 at 18:28

    As a Vietnam veteran, I think I’ve demonstrated my patriotism in a way that most of our leaders who took us into Iraq did not. They have turned patriotism into gingoism — the fallacy that “American interests” trump everything else. We must begin considering world interests. An epidemic that starts in one country can spread around the world, as can an economic catastrophe — as can a terrorist movement!

  120. 120 Will Rhodes
    July 1, 2008 at 18:29

    @ John Chrichton

    It also absolutely proves why the 2nd amendment, like so much of the US constitution, does not reside in the real world. I have yet to see how a 9mm pistol could bring down a fighter jet or sink such things as a aircraft carrier. But if you want to believe in such things then that is your choice. Maybe patriotism has clouded your view of things.

    This is why I believe patriotism is a matter of the people correcting a government and not blindly following them – opening up a real freedom such as one of expression and speech not to be denounced by those who hold on to what cannot be justified. A pretence of personal freedom does not make a patriot – it makes that citizen a sheep.

  121. 121 Chris McVay
    July 1, 2008 at 18:29

    My country, right or wrong? Roger seems to think that’s “patriotism”. I don’t think so.

  122. 122 Michael
    July 1, 2008 at 18:30

    This man’s patriotism leads to the US aggression and the torture we now see. “My country right or wrong”.

  123. 123 viola
    July 1, 2008 at 18:30

    Patriotism is similar to the requirement to honor your father and mother. And honor must be given regardless of whether we approve of every single thing our country does, just as we honor our parents for the simple fact that they are our parents.

  124. 124 Denny
    July 1, 2008 at 18:30

    I hear the Patriot Museum gentleman say, continually, “you had better” show the flag, wear the flag, say god bless america, etc. This sounds like a threat. Yet he says Americans have freedom to not believe in god, not wave the flag. How is it freedom if people like him are threatening those of us who don’t agree with him, about patriotism, flags, god, or anything else?

    Thank you.

  125. 125 Ron in Oregon
    July 1, 2008 at 18:31

    Ambrose Bierce wrote that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Wearing flag pins and jumping up with hand over heart at the first bars of the Star Spangled Banner can as easily be a cynical mask as a sincere act of love of country. Most of our current leaders wear flag pins as they eviscerate our Bill of Rights, are they the “biggest” patriots or are the people defending the Constitution against their depredations and outrages, and who may never wear a flag pin, more deserving of the name “patriot”?

    Your guest, curator of a museum of patriotism, is confusing empty gestures with true actions. What makes him the final arbiter of who is a patriot?

  126. 126 Tom D Ford
    July 1, 2008 at 18:31

    @ Steve

    “one of the consequence of the Equal Rights Amendment would be that you could not justify having different bathrooms for the sexes, as that is segregation, and you cannot segregate and be equal. So I hope you enjoy, in youw onderful nation with equal rights, sharing a bathroom with women.”

    I shared a bathroom with my mom and sisters while growing up, and it was no problem, are you afraid of women?

  127. 127 Will Rhodes
    July 1, 2008 at 18:31

    Bravo, Mike!

    As a Vietnam veteran, I think I’ve demonstrated my patriotism in a way that most of our leaders who took us into Iraq did not. They have turned patriotism into gingoism — the fallacy that “American interests” trump everything else.

  128. 128 Steve
    July 1, 2008 at 18:32

    The caller from Atlanta shows clearly that his American patriotism is simply an emotion, and hardly an idea he can articulate. He can barely do other than repeat cliches and slogans. What is the difference between patriotism and matriotism? He loves his mother, but seems to love the USAa, not matter what!

  129. July 1, 2008 at 18:33

    What we really should be talking about is censorship and how it effects this board. Most everything I write gets censored and deleted. So much for free speech…

  130. 130 Michael Austin Texas
    July 1, 2008 at 18:33

    Patriotism is the belief that my country is the best in the world BECAUSE I WAS BORN HERE. It is the epitome of narcissism.

  131. 131 Muhammed
    July 1, 2008 at 18:33

    Obama is the most patriotic politician in america. McCain why question that?. Obama relax the white house is for you come November.

  132. 132 Nathan
    July 1, 2008 at 18:33

    I am an american living in Germany. I was suprised to find that in direct contrast to the States, calling someone a patriot here is usually considered an insult. There is nothing wrong with being proud of where you are from, but I definitely think it is used by politicians to do things that would be otherwise unacceptable to the public. A good example is the patriot act, most americans would not have supported such an invasion of privacy, but what american senator can vote against the “PATRIOT” act?

  133. 133 Scott (M)
    July 1, 2008 at 18:33

    I’m grateful I live in a free country. I’m grateful I have a family. I’m not an idiot though and I certainly don’t worship my country, my state, my city or my family. Patriotism is foolish, egotistical, childish and barbaric. Patriotism and its pride leads to lopsided feelings of aggrandizement. How can you love a country, a man-made geographical or political boundary? It is a most insipid and uniformed idea, to say I love this place and not the others—especially when you are generally born there or didn’t decide to live there. I don’t like favorites of any kind and certainly not when they are as matter-of-fact as a country. I’m a person of all places!

  134. 134 Nik
    July 1, 2008 at 18:34

    Shared patriotism can be a wonderful thing – I recall the horrible events on 9/11 and how patriotism throughout my country soared to a levels not seen in my life time. However, there’s can be a real danger in weighing love of country above other things – namely ethics and universal morality. There’s nothing patriotic about the unethical and immoral actions of our country’s executive branch.

  135. 135 Mason Utah
    July 1, 2008 at 18:34

    National Patriotism in all countries only serves to separate the human race and goes against the flow of globalism, we need Human Patriotism, that is support and pride in the only race: the Human Race, only then will peace and progress become a global phenomenon, and allow us to meet our full potential.
     
    Mason
    Park City, Utah

  136. 136 Andre
    July 1, 2008 at 18:34

    Patriotism is absolutely essential for politicians and citizens. It is the love of country that engenders the sacrifices necessary to preserve the nation. Patriotism is the love of the common values that hold a society together. Without it, all countries would fall apart.
    Excessive patriotism only occurs when it requires the hatred of other nationalities without cause.

    BTW: You can dislike your president or prime minister and still be patriotic. That occurs when you believe that the nation’s leader is not acting in the nation’s best interests.

  137. 137 patrick in portland, oregon
    July 1, 2008 at 18:35

    It is my opinion that the American flag is waved more in this country that most others. This suggests a level of insecurity in this country. We feel we constantly have wave a flag, wear a pin, or question others patriotism in order to reassure ourselves.

  138. 138 Kevin
    July 1, 2008 at 18:35

    America is a country about image. Bush was the pin wearing guy but sent his country into an unplaned war? Is that real patriotism? Now we have Obama who supporters accuse others with a same shallow arguement, not about who is a patriot but who is really black or racist.

  139. 139 Martin
    July 1, 2008 at 18:35

    Dear Sirs and Madams,

    I have been to America several times, as a student as well as a student at university. What I will never be able to grasp is why Americans are so obsessed with their national symbols. A country is nothing more – or less – than an administrative unit, cultural anthropology describes the nation itself as an imagined community. Do whatever you can to improve its functioning and raise the standard of living. BUT: What do you need all the flags, anthems and the (very often quite kitschy) songs and poems for? Pledging allegiance to the flag every morning at school seems to me a waste of time. Why not use the time to study instead?

    Best regards,

    Martin P Graz, Austria.

  140. 140 KWS
    July 1, 2008 at 18:36

    There is noting fundamentally wrong with patriotism, it is how it is expressed. I am sure some terrorist consider thermself patriots. How about the football hooligan’s at international tournamants.

    The flags and fag pins may be and expression of patriotism in the USA but in my country it is disrespectful to wear you national flag as costume jewelery or drape it about you body like a cloak. Here, if the flag touches the ground, it has to be properly disposed. ie. burnt but give the proper respect

    KWS
    Trinidad

  141. 141 Brett
    July 1, 2008 at 18:36

    As a Vietnam veteran, I think I’ve demonstrated my patriotism in a way that most of our leaders who took us into Iraq did not. They have turned patriotism into gingoism — the fallacy that “American interests” trump everything else.

    I’m going to second this as one of the most incredible comments in this discussion which has plenty of good and well-thought out points.

  142. 142 Will Rhodes
    July 1, 2008 at 18:36

    I have to take the children to celebrate Canada Day – I will be back later.

    Happy Canada Day once again, to all those who are Canadian and those who are not.

  143. 143 Jessica in NYC
    July 1, 2008 at 18:36

    Dissent is patriotic. Patriotisms is not tied into saying “God Bless America” or wearing a USA Flag, but in our actions and what we do to ensure we are good citizens.

    The promise of this country is more than symbolism, it is demonstrated in action. JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” The government has the obligation to represent its people and the people have a responsibility to hold our government leaders accountable for their actions and to be civilly engaged citizens.

  144. 144 Abel
    July 1, 2008 at 18:36

    I’m from Portland, OR, US

    I can’t help but cringe at the references to empty symbols like flag-waving and song-writing as being patriotic. Simple pride for one’s country is NOT patriotic. Standing for what makes the country great and focus on the fundamentals that make that country what it is is patriotic. In order to have HEALTHY DEMOCRACY, patriots must be able to critique the country and the powers that move the country. Without educated, frank and honest critique, Democracy dies. What is patriotic about blind loyalty that can lead a nation to ruin? Thanks for your time.

  145. July 1, 2008 at 18:37

    @ Will Rhodes

    “This is why I believe patriotism is a matter of the people correcting a government and not blindly following them – opening up a real freedom such as one of expression and speech not to be denounced by those who hold on to what cannot be justified.”

    I agree with you on this point, but I must also ask why do you advocate opening up one freedom (of speech for example) and the closing of another (the right to bear arms)?

    An armed citizen with limited free speech has a better chance of shacking off tyranny than one with neither the freedom to speak or to bear arms.

  146. 146 Fae Marie
    July 1, 2008 at 18:37

    I completely hate the president of the USA. I hate our economy. I pretty much hate the government and this horrible war. However, I love NYC. I love the San Fran fog. I love the Rocky Mountains.

    I think that makes me patriotic because I’m proud and I’m blessed to live in a lan where I can be free to speak my peace and not worry about getting beat up about it. Just because I hate my government and everything they’ve done for the past EIGHT HORRENDOUS years doesn’t make me less patriotic.

  147. 147 Lee in Texas
    July 1, 2008 at 18:37

    I fear the gent from the museum is defining more jingoism than patriotism. A measure of patriotism also is not confusing your patriotism with loyalty to those in power.

  148. 148 Denise USA
    July 1, 2008 at 18:38

    Is avoiding military service as President Bush did patriotism?

    Denise
    San Francisco

  149. 149 Xavier in Ohio
    July 1, 2008 at 18:38

    Greetings,

    Though it is highly rhetorical, it is an important discussion in regards to nationhood. That said, my comment:

    The guest from the patriotism museum is missing the mark. People make a nation. A nation without people is just land, thus, any actions for the good of a nation are an act for the good of the people. So patriotism must be evaluated by the level of service to the people. Individuals that labor for the good of others, to improve the lives of others, to decrease the pain/discomfort of others, to empower & enable others…these are patriots. This group includes most soldiers and some politicians, but it also includes social workers, safety & emergency workers, and teachers (like myself-high school math) to name a few.

    The guest is interchanging symbolism and action, which is one of the glaring evils in our American political scene. Flying flags & wearing pins has never improved the quality of life…hard work, renunciation & sacrifice have. In this light, anyone can dislike the nation’s leader vehemently and remain patriotic, even far more so than that leader.

  150. 150 margot in oregon
    July 1, 2008 at 18:38

    I consider myself to be a very patriotic person. To me that means being very grateful to have been born in the US, but also to recognize it’s faults and to try to improve those things. It does not mean flying a flag, especially on my car, or any of the obvious ways of proving that I am a patriot.

    Demonstrations of patiotism in politics are ridiculous as a measure of qualification for office. As with demonstration of religiosness, it is irrelevent in the discussion. Observation of the candidate, his/her history, stands on relevent issues, ways of dealing with problems will make obvious their patriotism. We need to know how the candidate will deal with the many problems we have in this country.

    Fanatacism, whether patriotic or religious, takes away from solving problems and improving the country we love.

  151. 151 Stefan
    July 1, 2008 at 18:39

    stefan in prague says,

    the person from the american museum of patriotism sounds like one of those americans who has well crossed the line between patriotism and fascism.
    not wearing a flag pin in the US makes you an anti-patriot, and treason is punishable by death!

  152. 152 Andry
    July 1, 2008 at 18:39

    I’m patriotic but i deeply hate my authority which is harassing me for ages now and sabotaging all my personal projects.

  153. July 1, 2008 at 18:39

    I hear Patriotism is “love for your country”, well if you don’t love your country, why do you want to serve it? or why would you want to hide it?

  154. 154 jim from oregon
    July 1, 2008 at 18:40

    There are too many people who confuse Patriotism with Nationalism. It is my belief that this is the way our country has been heading the past 8 years.

    As for flag waving and lapel pins, this does not show patriotism, just the symbolism of it. BTW, our flag code says that it is wrong to wear our American flag as a piece of jewlery, meaning pins are out.

  155. 155 Sean
    July 1, 2008 at 18:41

    If you want to see patriotisim, just watch the up coming Olympics and observe all the participating country’s Show of Patriotism! It is sure to be a wonderful and moving experience.

  156. 156 Brett
    July 1, 2008 at 18:41

    Wow, Peter from NY, so because someone isn’t from the US, they have no say in the debate and their opinion is garbage?

  157. 157 Abel
    July 1, 2008 at 18:42

    I just lost all / any respect for the caller from NY. The ‘gentleman’ from the patriot museum just confirmed so many stereotypes of Americans. He is an embarassment. Get him under control, please.

  158. 158 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 18:43

    @ Tom D Ford

    I hope you’re joking. Sharing a bathroom in a home is differen than sharing a bathroom in public with strangers. All the risks involved of being with strangers, such a rape. Or false rape allegations, or other crimes. The ERA would open up a can of worms, and what about how uncomfortable people would feel having public Ally mcbeal type bathrooms?

  159. 159 Abel
    July 1, 2008 at 18:43

    The cab driver is who I meant. Get him off the air please. -Peter- Is who it is. He is an embarassment to my patriotic spirit.

  160. 160 Justin from Iowa
    July 1, 2008 at 18:44

    If you don’t want to be an american, then get out of the country.

    That is the biggest problem facing America right now. Nationalism vs Patriotism. People want to come to America and take all its benefits, yet they don’t want to become part of America. If you have been living for 30 years in America, and don’t want to be an american, get out!

  161. 161 Brett
    July 1, 2008 at 18:45

    Please ban Peter from NY.

    “The only reason you came over here is to probably bring us a bomb”

    Peter, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hard time restraining myself on here. Go spout your racist rubbish elsewhere.

  162. 162 JohnN
    July 1, 2008 at 18:45

    The words of Samuel Johnson (a real American patriot) have never been more true:

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”

  163. 163 Hana texting
    July 1, 2008 at 18:45

    Exaggerated patriotism is one of the things about USA that makes Europeans slightly nauseated. Hana Z, Prague

  164. 164 John
    July 1, 2008 at 18:46

    Patriotism is for suckers. Wave the flag while they send your kids to die so some rich oil barons can get even richer. If patriotism is love for country, then people who buy into “patriotism” have that kind of immature needy love where everything has to be perfect and rosy. Love takes work, it takes honesty over courtesy and politeness. All these so-called patriots just want a fantasy that everything is fine, that their country isnt founded on profound hypocrasy. George Carlin was a patriot. Bush is a crook prsenting patriotism to keep all the sheep quiet. Sheep like the museum of patriotism guy. he sounds like the suckers that voted for bush twice (ask him!). If you want to help your country, take the stupid pin off your lapel and get to work.

  165. 165 David Wetherington
    July 1, 2008 at 18:46

    I happen to agree with some of the points Obama makes. The idea of patriotism can be used as a derisive political tool. I will give two examples.

    the first is personal. I was in the US Air Force during the invasion of Iraq. It broke my heart. I felt that it was the wrong thing to do. It was counter productive, but if you listen to most of the discussion of patriotism in the US it is usually associated with going to war, or dieing for your country. I was accused over and over for not standing up for my country, for being unpatriotic because I felt that we were going down the wrong road. I saw a bumper sticker one time that said dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.

    the second example is Germany. I lived there for three years, and the German persona frowns on patriotism. The 2004 World Cup was the first time since WWII that the German Flag was proudly displayed everywhere, and the first time that it stayed up after a sporting event. The Germans are afraid of an over-aggressive Nationalism or severe patriotism. Nazi Germany used Patriotism and Nationalism to quell dissent to their atrocities, and helped perpetrate one of the greatest atrocities in the history of Humanity. They as a nation are hesitant to forget that.

    Obama, is probably rebelling against that aspect of patriotism, and trying to separate him self from that, but he may be going overboard on his rebellion. Either way I agree with his principle, but slightly disagree with his implementation.

  166. 166 Banks
    July 1, 2008 at 18:46

    Bush and Cheney wrapped themselves in the flag as they waltzed the country to corruption and ruin. The cosmetics have nothing to do with real patriotism. banks, amsterdam

  167. 167 Michael
    July 1, 2008 at 18:46

    THIS MAN’S PATRIOTISM LEADS TO THE U.S. AGGRESSION AND TORTURE WE NOW SEE. “MY COUNTRY RIGHT OR WRONG.” MICHAEL IN FRANCE Michael

  168. 168 Colleen
    July 1, 2008 at 18:46

    doesn’t the old saying go: “Pride is the root of all evil” ? Patriotism is a form of pride. In many cases it is under control.. but in many other cases it leads to disrepect, critism of and (in worst cases) wars against a people who is different from you. When patriotism is used as a guise to condone these behaviors it is poisonous…

  169. 169 anne
    July 1, 2008 at 18:47

    “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis

  170. 170 muhammed in Ghana
    July 1, 2008 at 18:47

    Obama is the most patriotic politician in America. Mccain why question that?. Obama relax the white house is yours come november. I am muhammed in Ghana

  171. 171 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 18:47

    @ Fae

    A couple weeks ago I met up with a friend for a couple of drinks. Next to us was this communist guy, that hated everything about the USA, the more he drank, the more he reavealed he hated every aspect except the freedom of speech we have. Is he a patriot becuase he likes one aspect, the one that gives him the right to complain about every aspect of the country and have a hammer and sickle tattooed on his leg?

  172. 172 Alexander Mackenzie
    July 1, 2008 at 18:47

    Ah- censorship – that most English of virtues.

  173. 173 Xavier in Ohio
    July 1, 2008 at 18:48

    Again, Peter is way off the mark.

    America does not have much tolerance for difference. What Rasharaf(sp?) is describing is what many thought leaders have described over the years. Too many Americans confuse patriotism with assimilation. That is, aligning with their pre-determined values will decide if you are true patriot. The question must be what service has Rasharaf or Peter or any person given for the good of their fellow human.

  174. 174 Jeffrey
    July 1, 2008 at 18:48

    I’m experiencing Love It or Leave It fatigue!

  175. 175 Kevin in trinidad
    July 1, 2008 at 18:49

    America is a country about image. Bush was the pin wearing guy but sent his country into an unplaned war?is that real patriotism? Now we have obama who supporters accuse others with a same shallow arguement, not about who is a patriot but who is really black or racist.look at travis smiley! Kevin in trinidad

  176. 176 Michael
    July 1, 2008 at 18:49

    Hello everybody

    Of course too much patriotism is a bad thing.

    There is a very thin line between patriotism and totalitarism or pure and straight fascism. Overwhelming majority of Americans do not understand that because they never lived under dictatorship or in police state. Europeans understand that, Africans understand that that and Asians too and of course South Americans.

    Simple example. Right now, many so-called patriotic political parties in Europe are right wing, neo-fascist movments. How many right wing neo-fascist parties ruling(-ed) USA in previous 100 years? Answer is very simple: 0.

    Americans should be glad that they never learned that lesson. But because of that, American kind of patriotism is one of the reasons why America is not too popular – to put it mildly – around the world.

    Take care good show as always
    Cheers

    Michael
    Poland

  177. 177 Steve in Moscow
    July 1, 2008 at 18:49

    Americans believe they have “the greatest country in the world”, in human history. Is this patriotism? And how will it fit in the world, how will the world accept it (with other people proud of where they were born also) in the coming decades?

  178. 178 MICHAEL IN FRANCE
    July 1, 2008 at 18:49

    WHY DOES EVERY TOPIC EVERY DAY HAVE TO HAVE AN AFRICAN SLANT? IS THIS THE AFRICAN SERVICE OR THE WORLD SERVICE SERVICE? MICHAEL IN FRANCE Michael

  179. 179 dretceterini
    July 1, 2008 at 18:50

    The cab driver, Peter, is a bigot that chooses to call his bigotry patriotism. There is a major difference between defending your nation and sticking your nose in the business of other sovereign nations. If the US minded it’s own business, this country would be a much better place. Nations must be made to be totally responsible for their own citizens and not depend on others

    Thank You,
    Stuart Schaller

  180. 180 Andry from Madagascar
    July 1, 2008 at 18:50

    Im patriotic but i deeply hate my authority which is harassing me for ages now and sabotaging all my personal projects. Andry from Madagascar

  181. 181 Chuck Paugh
    July 1, 2008 at 18:50

    There is a dynamic difference between PATRIOTISM and NATIONALISM. Most of the examples discussed on the program today were examples of NATIONALISM. Nationalists wag flags, sing songs, and exude emotional pride. Patriots fight the establishment to ensure the rights of all citizens, institute social reforms, and see to it that all people within that country are taken care of. Nationalism is a dangerous mindset in the modern world as it was in the world of the National Socialists of the Nazi party in WW II. Sadly, today, for the sake of politics nationalism is incorrectly referred to as patriotism as it was on today’s show.

    Chuck Paugh
    Portland, Oregon USA

  182. 182 MERLA in the Philipines
    July 1, 2008 at 18:52

    I COME FROM THE PHILIPPINES, AND MY COUNTRY HAS EVRYTHNG BAD: CORRUPTION, POVERTY, DRUG ADDICTION ETC.,BUT I LOVE IT AND IM PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO..MERLA

  183. 183 Jens
    July 1, 2008 at 18:52

    @Angela,

    that is just a generalization. I am much cleaner than my wife……i think that is a personal trait and what i have heared of womens public toilets my hair stands up in fear.

  184. 184 John
    July 1, 2008 at 18:52

    Ask the guest who is more patriotic: the guy that works in a job training program for jail inmates, doesn’t vote and hates politicians or the predatory investment banker that donates to campaigns, wears a lapel pin, keeps a flag on his desk?

    Love for the idea of your country but hatred and exploitation for everyone thats not a mainstream white sheep. That’s american patriotism.

  185. 185 Jeffrey in Portland, USA
    July 1, 2008 at 18:53

    Shame and patriotism…interesting connection. Does our American shame hinder our action to improve our communities and governments?

  186. 186 joe
    July 1, 2008 at 18:53

    Patriotism is basically an animal instinct from evolution.
    There are animals who are territirial, humans are one such animal.
    Just as family is close and our personal homeland has emotions and feelings that come to us because we are territorial animals, we expand our circles out and for nations of people the emotions and feelings become patriotism. The emotion or feeling of wanting to protect and help and develope for the future our homeland.

    When we feel fear we move to protect our homeland and find ways to lie to ourselves about the virtues and power and selectedness of our country as best.

    When we are not in fear we tend to direct patriotic feelings towards improving our country. The voting rights for woman and finally civil rights and voting rights for blacks came from the improvment mode.

    Currently the U.S. is in fear mode with the narrow minded yelling and lying to themselves about greatness while putting all other nations down.

    Welcome to the fear mode the current U.S. adiminstration has created for its own good and profit to the detrement of the great U.S. society of people…..but dragging them along with fear.

  187. 187 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 18:54

    It’s funny every says that Americans put flags everywhere. I remember being in Tel Aviv and I was walking back from the beach to my cousin’s apartment and there was a MASSIVE canadian flag on a apartment on Ben Yehuda street. In my apartment building here, someone has a canadian flag on their balcony. There’s a house down the street that flies a canadian flag alongside an american flag. Every time I travel, i see canadians put a canadian flag on their backpacks, and if it’s not about patriotism it’s about “I’m canadian, not American” which is insecurity. But I do agree with others that say that extreme patriotism is a form of insecurity. If you were patriotic, I don’t know why you have to express it. I’m patriotic, but have no need or desire to prove it to anyone. My parents never had an american flag, I never have had one, I’ve never had a flag lapel pin, I never flew a flag on my car after 9/11…

  188. 188 John
    July 1, 2008 at 18:54

    Obama should call this all out for what it is, distraction while the same old crooks plan for their next robbery.

  189. 189 Merla
    July 1, 2008 at 18:54

    I come from the Philippines and my country has everything bad; corruption, poverty, drug addiction etc…but I’m proud to be a Filipino

  190. 190 vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 18:55

    I guess I have been censored so I will leave a quote out.

    The question of patriotism is a rite of passage for any aspiring presidential candidate ,a mere formaility,
    It doesn’t matter what they say ,it is how they say it and the perception of what they say that matters.

    More Twain

    Patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest.
    – Education and Citizenship speech, 5/14/1908

    Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
    – More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

    The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice–and always has been.
    – Mark Twain’s Notebook

  191. 191 Scott (M)
    July 1, 2008 at 18:55

    Perhaps the attempt to make nice, by many on this blog, who say things like patriotism is not just about flag waving or the stereotypical patriotic behavior, is the equivalent of twisting reality to make it more palpable. Or watering down religion to make it seem more inclusive. Stereotypical patriotic behaviour is what this is about and is what people generally consider patriotism to be! It is a waste of time and intelligence to redefine patriotism as some feel-good altruistic behaviour that we can all be “proud” to take part in. Patriotism is backwards, unmodern and exclusive. We should stand our ground on this and not twist syntax to please the masses.

  192. 192 Jake in Portland
    July 1, 2008 at 18:56

    Patriotism is a concept that has inspired greatness in many citizens in many countries, but it has also been used to manipulate populations just as much of the time. Take the case of the Bush administration- he is wrapped in the flag at every turn, while at the same time undermining the very concepts the US is based upon. A flag pin does not a patriot make- nor do I think such open concepts should be wielded by or at politicians.

  193. 193 R H Reddy
    July 1, 2008 at 18:58

    All the worst is wrapped in the flag. The USA Patriot Act is the worst attack on the constitution since the King of England moved to crush the rebellion of the thirteen colonies. “No child left behind” is a scurrilous attack on education. the “Help America Vote Act” is designed to help Diebold steal votes from America. My father took our flag down when Nixon was elected. I am a decorated veteran of the VietNam war, and I say You burn the flag and I’ll salute it.

  194. 194 Skip Seibel
    July 1, 2008 at 18:59

    Surely nobody doubts that millions of Zimbabweans love their country and hate their president. It’s absurd to think a patriot must in any way support his or her government of the moment.

    Flags and pins (and queens and American presidents and crosses and six-pinted stars) are among the many symbols of their respective countries and creeds, and like all symbols are manipulated for base and ignoble purposes.

    Burning a flag is a dyslexic way of criticizing a government–it’s the symbol of the country, not the symbol of the government. Wearing a tiny flag pin is a vague expression of support for the country; upholding the country’s principles, its freedoms and its obligations, in the face of ignorant and malicious attacks is much more worthy of our respect.

  195. 195 Cornel on the text
    July 1, 2008 at 18:59

    Hallo my name is Cornel. The nazis were patriots and we all know how that ended.

  196. 196 Wendy O Vancouver
    July 1, 2008 at 19:00

    I think your man from the Patriot museum is confused on his historical facts
    the founding fathers were not patriots – otherwise we would still be British
    they were rebels they were geurillia fighters . they were terrorists

    Nationalist fervor is a bad measure of leadership ability
    the most nationalistic leaders have been left to history as despots

    Hitler
    Mussolini
    Stalin
    Mao

    Wendy O

  197. 197 Soloman
    July 1, 2008 at 19:01

    Patriotism is emotional and voluntary. It was the patriotism of the people of England that kept them free from the tyranny of Nazi Germany. It is the patriotism of the American people that kept us free from an enemy force. Our patriotism increases in intensity when the state is under external threat.

    Patriotism would save our nations.

  198. 198 David Wetherington
    July 1, 2008 at 19:01

    Chuck, makes a very good point about the difference between Nationalism, and patriotism. I was eluding to what he was getting at before. In the US, we don’t differentiate between Nationalism and Patriotism. In fact I think obama is rebelling against the co-opting of “patriotism” to support Nationalistic ideals. Unfortunately a Lapel Pin doesn’t have anything to do with our pattern of halting intelligent discussion about important issues by the use of “Patriotic”(nationalistic) arguments. He may have decided to fight the wrong battle, or the right battle with the wrong apporoach.

  199. 199 Bob Lynnwood, WA USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:01

    I was born and raised in the US and I don’t wear a flag pin on my lapel and I don’t have any intention. But I would say that I am very patriotic. I don’t think people should judge a person by what they are wearing but there actions. Both Obama and McCain could have done other things to earn a living and probably earn a lot more.
    Bob
    Lynnwood, WA USA

  200. 200 Shashi
    July 1, 2008 at 19:02

    One of your guests, Rogers, is way off base. and his arguments are absolutely shallow.
    How can he ignore the fact that for the last 7 and a half years US has been ruled by a completely non-patriotic coward called George Bush who has no love for his country whose citizens have gone unemployed in large numbers, laid down their lives for a war based on lies etc. etc. Mr. Roger, wake up and smell the coffee.

    Shashi

  201. 201 John Bennett
    July 1, 2008 at 19:03

    I’ve only recently discovered this program and love the concept of a literal world-wide conversation. Had to cut short my listen, but wanted to offer my opinion:

    Today’s first guest seemed to be missing several points. He is stretching a bit when he assumes discussing “real issues” would somehow be beneficial to Obama. Discussing current issues absolutely should be the most important thing, but this would help the election, not necessarily Obama. Also, the Wesley Clark only spoke half the truth, what’s missing is the discussion of McCain’s resiliance in times of hardship and his refusal to avoid harm’s way altogether when it was offered to him.

    Patriotism is defined widely as “love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it;” (wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)

    As with any body of people, we want our prospective leaders to show this love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it. If you have a president of a company, would you want him/her to be tepid and unenthusiastic about the history, the people, and the potential of the company? Would you buy your car from a maker that doesn’t seem to have “bought into” the idea of making their car the best all around?

    America is a great nation, not because of it’s real estate (though it’s nice!), but because it was built by people from many nations who take certain ideals to heart – ideals such as freedom, compassion, hard work, and equality. If a person doesn’t think his __________ (nation, company, name your group) is the best or potentially the best ever, then he really doesn’t deserve the job.

    Would love to go on, but I then you probably wouldn’t read it 🙂

  202. 202 Lee Texas
    July 1, 2008 at 19:03

    Patriotism also is not wearing a flag pin if you think the message blackens your love of America.
    Some of the most notorious members of Congress (some now in prison) constantly wore flag pins.

  203. 203 Brandon
    July 1, 2008 at 19:04

    Patriotism is a difficult topic because it means many different things to many different people. Patriotism like virtue is a world developed by people and could mean so many things. to me patriotism is standing up for what I believe in and what I believe to right and good and true and what I think is best for me and the people around me. It has nothing to do with a country but it can be connected with a countries interests. The founding fathers of the united states were fighting for what they believed was right and to remove what they believed was an oppressive government.

  204. 204 Jacques KO from Boston
    July 1, 2008 at 19:04

    I think some people confuse patriotism and nationalism. Nationalism is a very dangerous thing.

    Jacques KO from Boston

  205. 205 Jens
    July 1, 2008 at 19:04

    patrick in portland, oregon
    July 1, 2008 at 6:35 pm
    It is my opinion that the American flag is waved more in this country that most others.

    why should any other nation than the american wave the star sprangeled banner????

  206. 206 Bob H USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:05

    Dear World Have Your Say:

    Come on – you’re making us yanks look like a bunch of yokels! That Roger guy is a total thoughtless idiot.

    He doesn’t even know what he thinks – he’s just reciting blind rhetoric. I am embarrassed to be associated with such a fool – even if only by where I was born.

    Sincerely,

    Bob H

    Northern California, USA

  207. 207 Bill H Oregon
    July 1, 2008 at 19:06

    I consider myself to be a patriot, because I’m interested in the well being of my country.

    This shouldn’t be confused with taking pride in my country. There are many things that my country does I am not proud of.


    Bill H
    Portland Oregon

  208. 208 John in Salem
    July 1, 2008 at 19:06

    As it has been defined here, I am NOT a patriot. I value the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I have served in the military and I would die to defend my family and my community, but the concept of being an “American” is not something high on my list of priorities. I value my country – I don’t love it.
    When we were facing down the Soviets I felt that the proper response to a declaration of nuclear war would be preemptive surrender – in 10 or 20,000 years the concepts of democracy and communism would be long forgotten. If instead we responded in kind, in 20,000 years there might be some insects and marine life around but little else and what’s the point in that?
    If you judge others by some measurement of patriotism you’re doing yourself and them a disservice. You, and they, shouldn’t be defined by anything as small as “patriotism”.

  209. 209 Stan Ohio
    July 1, 2008 at 19:07

    I think that “patriotism” is an irrelevant red-herring. It is a series of meaningless, empty gestures intended to distract attention from the real responsibilities of democratic citizenship, as your guest described it. I think patriotism encourages a blind “my country right or wrong” attitude, that allows us to overlook abuses. The Bush administration in particular has used “patriotism” to divert attention from their crimes and misdeeds while painting critics as “unpatriotic”. I think that citizenship requires us to defend the country, but sometimes, that might require us to criticize the actions of the government. “Patriotism” seems more like blind allegiance.
    Stan
    Oberlin, Ohio

  210. 210 Justin from Iowa
    July 1, 2008 at 19:07

    America started going downhill when attaining the “American Dream” was dissassociated with the idea of “Becoming American”

    What is so wrong with identifying yourself as an American, if you have chosen to come here and become a part of America? Every person who is American, yet regards their primary status as Cuban, Canadian, Palestinian, Asian, Black, European… is another nail in America’s coffin.

    I think that is why so many people get a “Love it or Leave it” mentality.

  211. 211 Fae Marie
    July 1, 2008 at 19:07

    @ Steve

    I can’t speak for that guy with the tat. He might just be feeling angry b/c he was just having a bad day-I don’t know why.

    I have to be honest-I hate the government. I hate everything about it. Too many people think they’re in charge. The one person who is in charge is a complete idiot. But when I drive down a country road and watch the grass ripple as the wind blows, I can’t help but feel pride that this is my home-this is where my passport says I’m from. That is patriotic. In order to be classified as a “patriot” doesn’t mean you have to agree with your country 100%-it just means you take pride of where you are from and I sure do!

  212. 212 Mason
    July 1, 2008 at 19:07

    By the definition provided by the representative of the Patriotism (doing things to improve your country) means that the war in Iraq IS NOT PATRIOTISM, and those fighting it are not patriots, they are cogs.  If you want me to be proud of my country, my country should act accordingly.  You must earn respect and pride.  This country talks about justice and freedom, yet it pulls people off of the streets of foreign countries and send them to secret facilities to torture them; it fabricates stories of fear to rationalize its aggressive actions; it treats corporations better than its citizens.  If this country practiced what it preached about freedom, and democracy for all, I would be a lot more patriotic.
     
    Mason
    Park City, Utah

  213. 213 Guy Harris, Utrecht, Netherlands
    July 1, 2008 at 19:08

    The problem it that many people confuse patriotism with nationalism. The former is loving your country for what it is. The latter is feeling that your country is or should be considered to be inherently better, which leads to Fascism. Guy Harris, Utrecht, Netherlands

  214. 214 Andy USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:09

    Were Germans acting out of patriotism during WWII? What are the limits of patriotism? Why are you regarded as unpatriotic when you question your counrty’s policies?

    -Andy
    San Diego

  215. 215 Fae Marie
    July 1, 2008 at 19:09

    HA! That was funny!

    Cornel on the text: Hallo my name is Cornel. The nazis were patriots and we all know how that ended.

    That’s great.

  216. 216 Stephanie USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:10

    I work for the US government and have for all of my adult life. I was born and raised in the states. I care deeply for the American people and for our American culture. However, I would not and will not define myself as patriotic in the way your “Museum of Patriotism” guest would. Patriotism to me is about love of country and love of its people. It does not mean you need to be blind or unquestioning about the policies or this government. Being patriotic doesn’t mean checking off a list of symbols like standing in front of the flag, wearing a flag pin, or holding your hand on your heart during the national anthem. That’s ridiculous, and this whole debate does nothing but lower our political discourse. Can we not talk about REAL issues? I could not care less if someone wears a flag pin if they do so while maintaining policies that destroy the American people, our environment, and ultimately our culture. The American Dream, as its known, may someday not exist, all because so-called patriots do what they will while wrapping themselves in the flag. In my opinion, a patriot is one who confronts the ills of our society honestly and openly and works for positive change; it has absolutely nothing to do with symbolism.

    Stephanie
    Cleveland, OH

  217. 217 dretceterini
    July 1, 2008 at 19:10

    @ Steve in Moscow:

    [quote]Americans believe they have “the greatest country in the world”, in human history. Is this patriotism? And how will it fit in the world, how will the world accept it (with other people proud of where they were born also) in the coming decade[/quote]

    Those Americans that try and impose their beliefs on the rest of the world are the ones that the real patriots are trying to remove from power.

  218. 218 Tivon USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:11

    I can’t help but cringe at the references to empty symbols like flag-waving and song-writing as being patriotic. Simple pride for one’s country is NOT patriotic. Standing for what makes the country great and focus on the fundamentals that make that country what it is is patriotic. In order to have HEALTHY DEMOCRACY, patriots must be able to critique the country and the powers that move the country. Without educated, frank and honest critique, Democracy dies. What is patriotic about blind loyalty that can lead a nation to ruin? Thanks for your time.

  219. 219 Muck
    July 1, 2008 at 19:11

    Please ask the gentlemen speaking if he can define patriotism without using the word itself.

  220. 220 Eliel
    July 1, 2008 at 19:12

    Of course I am. I have over 600 bumber stickers, so I’m sure I can be president according to this clown.

    Holding a flag has nothing to do with more or less love of your country.

  221. 221 Christine, Portland, OR, USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:13

    Many of ideals the ideals this country was founded on have been won, some lost, You gave the floor to someone who said many times that you are not patriotic if you dont say “God bless America.” As an atheist, I find it scary to elect anyone who says this. I will fight for a country that defends my non-religion. Union rights – this country doesnt protect my labor rights or my health. Labor unions are unpopular and national health care wont be here in my lifetime. I pay my taxes. Corporate media interested in half nude women on prime time TV? We never passed the equal right law for women. I am a woman. Why be patriotic? Flag pin? Patriotic?? I will define it as I see it, not you!

    Christine, Portland, OR, USA

  222. 222 Tom D Ford
    July 1, 2008 at 19:14

    @Michael

    “Simple example. Right now, many so-called patriotic political parties in Europe are right wing, neo-fascist movments. How many right wing neo-fascist parties ruling(-ed) USA in previous 100 years? Answer is very simple: 0.”

    Bush/Cheney/PNAC for the last eight years. They’re working to establish an American Empire. The Project for the New American Century is a neo-fascist group.

  223. 223 Ryan USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:15

    Hello,
    It’s very upsetting that someone would use a flag pin as the basis for
    another’s patriotism. When did wearing a flag pin become such a
    big deal? Its pretty obvious that it never was until the current campaign
    started underway.

    As a US citizen, I am deeply offended by Roger, the speaker on your
    program who cannot define the word “patriotism” without using the word itself.
    He is one of those people who apparently loves his country but could not tell
    you why he loves it. I will personally be using quotes from him as joke fodder
    for the coming months…

    Will you please please please get this inarticulate person off of your show?

    Thanks,
    Ryan

  224. 224 Ryan USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:17

    Dear BBC. Being patriotic, loyalty and the desire to serve your country and humanity is what make a person to be a good polician. From Babagana, Maiduguri, Nigeria.

  225. 225 Gary
    July 1, 2008 at 19:18

    Roger from Atlanta is totally off the mark. He states, “patriotism is love of country. Who defines how one shows that love? Roger? I don’t think so. He keeps saying “freedom” is what patriotism is all about, but by insisting that the only way to show “love of country” is Roger’s way, by wearing a flag pin, etc., freedom itself is lost. Roger is representative of so many. I find his a sad example of patriotism. He needs to study the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson was of the opinion that a free society required a questioniing mind…that revolution was necessary every several years. By Roger’s definition, Mr. Jefferson was no patriot.

    Gary

  226. 226 Pride F
    July 1, 2008 at 19:19

    Should everyone be patriotic regardless me the behavior their country just because they were born their?! Rediculous! Pride F

  227. 227 Dennis
    July 1, 2008 at 19:20

    Yes. Having this level of patriotism is poisioning politics in the world…

    I am a patriotic person….to a extent.

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  228. 228 Mark L
    July 1, 2008 at 19:20

    General Clark first trivializes military personel serving, being taken prisoner, tortured and surviving. For your guest speaker to seek to emphasize this dismissal of what had to have been an extreme experience in a personal psychological struggle for an individual with his own patriotism under torture has to be the nastiest tactic I can think of coming from a fellow serving officer. This speaker is an opportunist who is seizing on a very dishonorable set of sentiments to tear down the national feeling not only in the U.S., but in Britain and the West in general. It tends to convince me of an irresponsible, vague sort of world social order utopian model that Borak Obama seems to represent to people like this. That national feeling needs to be subordinated to this idea of a world social order ought to be a cautioning thought – just as cautioning as the spector of over-zealous patriotism.

    Mark L

  229. 229 Ryn
    July 1, 2008 at 19:22

    I think Barack Obama was specifically addressing in his speech what the gentleman from the National Museum of Patriotism is expressing. Just because someone wears a flag pin or salutes the flag does not mean they are patriotic. Those meaningless acts do not tell me that a politician will govern well and in the interest of the people. Standing by your country when your country is killing innocent people half way around the world for oil is not patriotic. In the US people often support the politicians who express the shallow demonstrations of patriotism instead of the the ones who stand up and question what our country is doing and whether or not it is the interest of the people. Blindly loving your country and not questioning anything it does in the name of patriotism is foolish and dangerous. People who only see patriotism as a flag pin are poisoning politics.

  230. 230 Pat
    July 1, 2008 at 19:22

    I consider one of the things about being patriotic is bringing up those things that have been foisted on us – the lies of our current governmenthere in the US. Bush is not MY president – he was not elected, rather selected, the first time and was elected the second time only because he played on the people’s fear.

    My patriotism/pride in my country comes from the strength our founders had in separating from Mother England and my hopes for America to again live up to the statement on the Statue of Libery’s plaque, “give me you tired and your hungery”…
    My pride and patriotism is in the individuals who came over to the US and worked hard and built this country into a place where everyone had a chance to become the best he or she could become.

    During the Bush years we have spent our time playing “the emporer’s new clothes” game – we see the problems but nobody will admit that the “emporer is naked”…….. we need to get back out on the streets and demand that this administration stop torture, stop trying to put us into other wars that will no doubt only line the pockets of the rich. We need to help our own people and rebuild our own infrastructure. At the rate we are going we will end up a 3rd. world country!

    I am a community organizer and I am constantly seeing people fall through the cracks – lose their homes, lose their chances of health care, and lose programs that give them food.

    We are no longer the country I was taught to believe in as I grew up in the mid part of the 20th. century. I can only blame this on the Republicans and their desire to make the rich richer while forgetting that the middle class and the poor have rights too.

    I cannot and will not wrap myself in our flag. Someday I will again be able to fly it with pride, I hope……….. but until then I quietly have a flag decal on my car window and on my door front that is displayed in the upside down position – the position of distress – in flag ettiquette – for as I look at the US in the past eight years I see this country falling further and further into distress.

    I love my country and no longer can stay silent. There are times when being patriotic means stating the truth – for eight years we have been in the wrong in so many ways!

    May our collective intelligence change this path in November. May we again be able to have pride in our country and be patriotic without having to wrap ourselves in our flag.

    And in ending, may we realize that we are just one country on this planet. If each of our states choose to be “the only state in the union that was right” what would happen to our country? We are not JUST the USA any more – we are a “state” in the “nation” made up by all the countries of the world! In order to pull ourselves out of all the problems we of the world find ourselves in we must learn to work together for the betterment of mankind.

  231. 231 Kevin-Bruce
    July 1, 2008 at 19:23

    The harder patriot is the man who stands up for his beliefs, against the front of the government. No one called me a patriot when I stood up against the war in Viet Nam. But the guns were still pointed at me and they were loaded.

  232. 232 Xavier USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:25

    Greetings,

    Thank you for addressing this issue. Though it is highly rhetorical, it is an important discussion in regards to nationhood. My comment:

    The guest from the patriotism museum is missing the mark. People make a nation. A nation without people is just land, thus, any actions for the good of a nation are an act for the good of the people. So patriotism must be evaluated by the level of service to the people. Individuals that labor for the good of others, to improve the lives of others, to decrease the pain/discomfort of others, to empower & enable others…these are patriots. This group includes most soldiers and some politicians, but it also includes social workers, safety & emergency workers, and teachers (like myself-high school math) to name a few.

    The guest is interchanging symbolism and action, which is one of the glaring evils in our American political scene. Flying flags & wearing pins has never improved the quality of life…hard work, renunciation & sacrifice have. In this light, anyone can dislike the nation’s leader vehemently and remain patriotic, even far more so than that leader.

    Best Regards,

    Xavier

  233. 233 Pangolin- California
    July 1, 2008 at 19:27

    The so called ‘patriotism’ (really jingoism) allows a very large percentage of my fellow Americans to be led and have their eyes directed with the same efficiency that a man holding out a hot sausage commands a pack of dogs.

    “Support the troops” “in defense of America” as if there were vast armadas of Islamists held off from boarding on their landing craft by virtue of our invasion and occupation of Iraq. “We’re fighting them over there so that we don’t have to fight them here” which is a patently false statement made in support of a foreign war of conquest. A pirate raid in search of cheap oil.

    “Patriotism” is held in dim regard by the left in the US because politicians who make the greatest and most frequent claims to patriotism are those most easily proved to be in contradiction of the facts. Likewise the voters who claim “patriotism” in the US can easily be proven to motivated by something closer to racism or fascism.

    Show me an american with the american flag waving in front of his house every warm day and I’ll show you a person in dim command of the facts nine times out of ten. The self-satisfied idiots that were deluded by propaganda into believing that Saddam Hussein caused the 9-11 attacks and ignoring the Saudi source of these terrorists.

    When I pointed out that we were attacking the wrong country to one young lady she exclaimed “well we have to start somewhere.” In a confused ‘kill them all and let god sort them out’ sentiment.

    Patriot equals idiot or cynic in public life just as the man who shouts his prayers on the corner is seeking profit rather than grace.

  234. 234 Scott (M)
    July 1, 2008 at 19:29

    It is being suggested that EVERYTHING is essentially patriotism. So if EVERYTHING, except outright hatred towards your country, is patriotism. What is patriotism? What is the point of having it if everyone does? Is it, just a whole load of nothing? A generic term for anyone who doesn’t hate a place? This surely doesn’t work either.

  235. July 1, 2008 at 19:31

    Roger talks about gestures, but anyone can place a hand over his heart or salute a flag. It could be totally fake!

    I wonder if just working to better your community and being receptive to others, being truly democratic is a form of patriotism. Protest can also be patriotic, even when it’s protest against your country’s policies, e.g., wars. Caring for others in your community and country can be patriotic.

    Roger’s form of patriotism seems superficial and dangerously limiting…and authoritarian, as the one guest just said.

    Jeffrey

    Portland, OR

  236. 236 USA
    July 1, 2008 at 19:32

    Holding your hand over your heart is not patriotism, its ritualism. A flag pin is not a symbol of how patriotic someone is. Branding yourself with symbols of Americana is simply psychological association. Just like theme songs, iconography, and Pavlov’s bell.

    I would call a man who stands up FOR his country when it is threatened by others, as much a patriot as a man who stands up AGAINST his country when things have gone wrong at home.

  237. 237 Tom D Ford
    July 1, 2008 at 19:36

    The root of the word patriotism is father and I live in a democratic-republic, not a fatherland. I love my USA but it is not my father.

    I don’t grovel to some authoritarian father figure leader who demands obedience, I respect leaders who treat me as their equal in American citizenship and as a human being.

  238. 238 Benjamin
    July 1, 2008 at 19:40

    Patriotism is not poisonous. Patriotism is the love of his/her country. If you love your country, then you are patriotic.

    I know how the Bush Administration and the Far Right tried to distort patriotism for their own personal agendas. These people are not true patriots because a true patriot would never lie and manipulate its fellow citizens for their personal agendas. Personally, I found it disgusting how the Far Right, like idiot loser Bill O’Reilly (Orally), called people unpatriotic who spoked against the Iraq War before it began. A True patriot will speak out against an Administration who had no regard to the American people or the American Constitution. Those who kiss the Administrations butt even if they are attacking the foundation of the country are not patriots, they are just lackeys.

    I am a patriot because I love my country, and if my government does something that I feel that is bad for my country, I will use my voting power to remove that government out of power.

    Also this is @ vijay,
    You still believe on that Fox News lie that Barack Obama was educated on a madrasa. Seriously, get your news somewhere else. That was nothing more than a Far Right smear against Senator Obama by trying to paint him as a Muslim (which sadly a bad thing to be Muslim in American politics). Real News organizations (Fox is not one of them) reviled that Senator Obama went to a regular, secular school in Indonesia.

  239. July 1, 2008 at 21:03

    This is in response to what Roger deems as patriotic. I have to wonder why is it that someone has to say “God bless America” as a manner in which he or she shows patriotism. If you choose to not believe in God then why would you have to utter that statement in order to be patriotic.

  240. 240 jade
    July 1, 2008 at 21:13

    the debate is as personal and passionate as one on religion. I think patroitism is part of our identity, a strong sense of belonging to a Land, people we know, memory that made us who we are. we defend something that is part of us even if it is not perfect, otherwise, our self-esteem is hurt. war refugees return after the war is over. their roots take them home. we don’t have to go to war, to die, to prove we are patriotic. if it is the acid test, then most women are not patriotic.

  241. July 1, 2008 at 21:28

    This a response to Peter, the cab driver…First of all name calling (calling someone a wacko is not going to help support your argument). Secondly, while people may or may not be dying from the other person says is a lie about the health care, there are people who barely surviving due to health care system in this country. Third of all, there are people who do not even have a job. Be lucky that you have a job and stop wearing this “I’m at the bottom of the pile” like it is a pin. And lastly, it is his last comments about assuming that the guy came to the United States to give us the bomb that leads to bigotry and hatred.

  242. 242 jade
    July 1, 2008 at 22:02

    @ Peter, I was listening in to your conversation where you sounded very angry & call people names. do you judge people based on your assumptions on them? do you think someone who has a different view must be wrong? the special asset of American people lies in its courage & energy to listen, & to change. if not, how can this be the Land of second third chance?

  243. 243 Emile Barre
    July 1, 2008 at 23:08

    An intellectual is always preferable to a patriot.

  244. 244 graceunderfire
    July 2, 2008 at 00:36

    @ Emile

    and a student is always preferable to an intellectual.
    guf

  245. 245 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 2, 2008 at 04:55

    Patertoism is an emotional situation under this condition most of the time our sentiments overcome on our brain & we strat thinking in a patoriatic way. Under this emotional situation a personality may not decide correctly & visionally way.
    No doubt politician’s take full advantage of this emotional situation & may suceed with blunder’s, any way mediaism always play’s am important role to bring an human society towards ” Patertoism”.
    No doubt this emotional condition is very dangerous in Democratic society because of power elements for a certain period of time. Some time nation’s pay’s a big price for petrotic emotionalism.

  246. July 2, 2008 at 21:32

    Vijay, I have no idea what country you are writing from. An American patriot is one who loves and defends the Constitution, sometimes against the courts, sometimes against the President, often against the Congress and always against those who seek to change it unlawfully. When the Constitution becomes outdated all an American has to do is sit down, read Article Five and follow the instructions.

  247. July 3, 2008 at 06:28

    I wish all the things you read and think were real but they are not.. The whole stage show presented about elections and democracy, everything is just smoke and mirrors.

    The psychology of having world citizens believe what they are told and do their best to act upon it, is how a illusion is sustained. Many are fortunate they never have to find out about the crimes that a government commit. Unless it happens to them, they will never know.

    It is easy to silence any crime, because when minds are controlled and given every thought to think, it leaves no room for any individual’s thought. Every criminal action of the government is hidden by foreordained dialogs..

    Politics and elections are blind alleys. They are presumed to lead somewhere but they don’t. Politics, position the citizens to see only that held before them. It is a whitewash of truth. The corrupt rotten deeds of a government are hidden by what should be there, said to be there and isn’t.

    We are slaves to our governments creation of a society, unhinged from reality. The whole idea of what this world really is and what we really are, that truth is withheld and a continual lesser being generation after generation is made of us.

    I live in North America where the poorest and most exploited exist. There is a Story about Old Man Dixie. A rich gentleman who bought up every beaten slave that existed. He purchased some land that no one knew existed and there the slaves were freed.

    You can live in a brainwashed world but you don’t have to be brainwashed to live in it. A free mind is a free soul. The spirit of GOD stirring above the chaotic void separated it’s self from the void’s abyss.

    Too much knowledge is lost. The words are there but not the meaning. Subversive knowledge delegates the abuse of authority. That authority proclaims it’s self the power of love of the people, where it is only the love for the power, of it’s people.

  248. 248 Mark Duwe Indiana, USA
    July 3, 2008 at 20:29

    To say that you are patriotic means that you think the country that you were born in is better than all the other countries just by virtue of the coincidence of the longitudes and latitudes of your birth mother. Patriotism seems to be paternal; like when a child says he loves his father because he has never known another. But, our country is not our parents. When we mature we begin to wonder if everything done in our nation’s name is just so wonderful. We study and meditate and discuss issues about the very core of the values and purpose and goals of the land where we live.

    I think some patriots believe that our country is like our parents, we should love them unquestionably because they are who they are and will always be the same. Our parents, our country, our world is our steadfast rock that we can hold on to when our view of reality is questioned or attacked, (9/11).

    I prefer to be the kind of patriot that believes that not everyone who has lived on the real estate we share has had our nation’s best interests at heart. That our country is a concept that we can change and continue to improve and that those ideals, the fact that we CAN change things is the rock I will hold on to.


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