Carol Platt Liebau: Democratic patriotism defined and questioned

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Democratic patriotism defined and questioned

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

Main Entry: pa·tri·ot·ism
Pronunciation: 'pA-trE-&-"ti-z&m, chiefly British 'pa-
Function: noun
: love for or devotion to one's country

A regular commenter to this blog writes: "the Democrats, as a group, are just as patriotic as the Republicans."

I am not so sure.

There are, I believe, prominent constituencies within the Democratic party which have supernational loyalties along class, cultural/ethnic or gender lines, which believe that the United States has been a force for evil in the world, and that the straight-white-male "system" that gave rise to and ran the country for so long is exploitative and illegitimate.

In England, these constituencies are known as the loony left (now with a large dose of Islamists thrown in). I have heard the term Nutroots thrown about here, but elements of the above philosophy underlie what have become mainstream Democratic positions.

One might question whether the patriotism of the Republicans finds expression in wise policies, or whether patriotism is a good thing, but I believe the GOP has greater love for or devotion to our country.

4 Comments:

Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Obviously, I disagree. Let's go over the details:

There are, I believe, prominent constituencies within the Democratic party which have supernational loyalties along class, cultural/ethnic or gender lines

I gather you mean here that there are subsets of the Democratic party that also feel some sense of dedication to other ideals ("class, cultural/ethnic, or gender"). This is true. But dedication to one group or ideal in no way compromises patriotism. Do you reject the patriotism of a devout Christian because he feels strong loyalty to his church? Are Catholics unable to be as patriotic as atheists?

which believe that the United States has been a force for evil in the world,

Believing that the USA has been a force for evil is not at all the same as not wanting the best for the country. Consider: while I don't think that the USA has been, in fine, a force for evil in the world, I do believe that my country has made a number of mistakes that have greatly hurt its prestige and hamper its ability to implement important policies, for example, with Iran and North Korea. I consider the attack on Iraq to be one of those mistakes, and the continuing occupation of that country to be a continuing damage to our vital interests.

From my frame of reference, you, by supporting this war that I consider a mistake, are contributing to the weakening of my country. In my frame of reference, I am the patriot and you are the traitor. However, I am not so subjective as to think that way. I acknowledge that the difference between us is not one of patriotism but a difference of opinion as to the best course of action. You appear to feel otherwise; am I wrong?

and that the straight-white-male "system" that gave rise to and ran the country for so long is exploitative and illegitimate.

Yep, there are a few of those. There are also some people on the right who want to see a nuclear war because it will (they believe) bring about the end of the world. I am not so unfair as to blame the the right wing for these nut cases.

In England, these constituencies are known as the loony left...

If you wish to compile a dictionary of all the nasty terms that people have coined to describe those with whom they disagree, we could go on for days. My question is, what's the point of name-calling?

but I believe the GOP has greater love for or devotion to our country.

I disagree. I think that many right-wingers have greater "right wing authoritarianism", a term coined by Bob Altemeyer as part of his research into political behaviors. RWAs (to use his shorthand) are slobberingly deferential to authority, and viciously aggressive towards anybody who questions authority. I certainly don't accuse you of being a right-wing authoritarian, but I think that this factor plays a large role in what many Republicans think of as patriotism.

By the way, I highly recommend his book on the subject, which is available for free here.

The big idea here is the difference between love for one's country and unthinking deference to the current crop of political leaders.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Are you sure that patriotism is not just a bumper sticker and banner that people hide behind because I'd have to say anyone that loves this country sure isn't impressed with Republican policies that have trashed it. One can not even safely eat a fish from any of it's waters. One has to buy expensive bottled water because no reasonable person can expect a single well to be safe.

Most of what was fertile, life sustaining lands are sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, who's inert ingredients are toxic waste from our factories. And this is what most end up eating and being made sick with chronic health problems.

And in the modern age, when one can jet about to any place in the world, country is rather quaint. We know we will breath the toxic air from China factories, as they will breath ours. While creatures furthest removed from our toxic land will nurse their newborns with our toxic waste.

4:07 PM  
Blogger The Very Sane Woman Who Points Out the Obvious said...

This is cheap, questioning the patriotism of people who are trying to make this a better country. I live in an extremely conservative area, and all of the anti-American bashing I hear is from the righties.

3:13 PM  
Blogger S said...

I think your term was "supernational loyalties" and I think these exist in both the Democratic and Republican parties. These are the people who want to see the creation of the so-called "North American Union" that will effectively eliminate the boundaries between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. This appeals to big business interests because it is "good for business." It appeals to those who want to allow for wide open immigration because it removes all national borders and eliminations national boundaries. These folks are not patriotic; they do not support the United States, but rather they see the US as as an obstacle to be removed to bring about this greater union that they want to achieve. Of course, this greater union would have none of the freedoms of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but they don't mind if you and I give up those things. This is the thinking of an elite group who, in their own minds, "know better." The fact that the rest of us might prefer to keep the US as we have had it does not enter into their thinking at all.

The US has made some mistakes; it has not always done the right thing. On the whole, however, when the record of history is examined, it will be seen that the US has been an extremely generous, compassionate, and helpful country to others all around the world. We have never been a colonizer; we have built no empires. We have maintained overseas bases for military operations primarily so that we could maintain forward deployment of troops to protect various parts of the world.

It is an undeniable fact that the strength of the US has been built on the Judeo-Christian culture of the dominant white, Anglo-Saxon ethnic group that has led the country. This has included a strong work ethic, a strong sense of personal morality, self-sufficiency and a common language, English. These are the things that have made the country great, and the country is weakened when they are eroded. This is not to say that others cannot participate in this, but they must contribute to these same characteristics of a strong work ethic, personal morality, self-sufficiency, and the common language, if the country is to continue to prosper. Those who praise "Diversity" are creators of division and are never patriots!

8:49 PM  

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