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"How has the 9/11 and the war shaped your sense of patriotism over the past five years? Are you more patriotic? Less? Or patriotic in ways different from before?"
This was the question that Sounding Board members were asked to address for today's newspaper. Only five got published and mine wasn't one of them, boo-hoo. But here's what I wrote:
My flag-waving has gone limp. The Bush Administration defines patriotism as blind support for imperialism, corporatism, gross incompetence, and disregard for human rights. 9/11 gave us permission to become the cry-baby bully of the planet. It’s embarrassing. It’s frightening. When government goes bad, we don’t stop loving our country, but it gets complicated – and risky. I keep asking myself: do I have the courage of a true patriot to take a stand against a corrupt government or, when my neighbors start disappearing, will I pretend not to notice? These decisions will face us in the days ahead.
You hear people talk about the courage of our young people in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't doubt it and yet somehow it seems easy to have courage when the enemy is clear and when someone is shooting at you. Get courage or die. Apparently, it's a thousand times harder to have courage if you are a member of Congress where courageous patriotism has been replaced by cheesy re-election grandstanding.
7.4.06 Independence Day
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