Re: Well said, Rich!

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Posted by Ilse on October 09, 1999 at 14:54:34:

In Reply to: Well said, Rich! posted by Petra on October 08, 1999 at 12:36:32:

: : : Hey Y'all,

: : : I too feel some cognitive dissonance when I see patriotic ceremonies that seem to miss the point and pretend that there might not be some group of people that have been either left out of the picture or who might have suffered at the hands of those who chose not to examine the effects of their patriotism. Don't forget Europeans have had recent experience with patriotism that had been taken too far, as have America's First Nations and other people of color.
: : __________

: : Yep! I don't know if I made my point of view clear on that issue ... "My country, right or wrong" has never sat well with me. My feeling of patriotism is that it's caring enough about your country, and loving the people inhabiting it enough, to attempt to support it when you can, question it when you have to. To blindly accept is to ignore all that has gone before & invite disaster.

: : Now, that said, I am also totally fascinated by our history and the accomplishments we have achieved as a Nation. Always, though, I try to keep aware of those who came before & of the people we displaced ... It's a hard thing to balance, the love with the knowledge of the wrongs that have been done ... Much like a person, with all his strengths & weaknesses; his cumulative experience ... you just need to accept what has come before & try to influence, positively, what is yet to be ...

: : The key, always, for me, is to make that bridge ...

: Rich,

: I think that is pretty much what I (and Ilse too, maybe?) mean, I just would not label that patriotism. Accepting realities that cannot be changed any more, taking the fair consequences from understanding these realities, and just caring for people, being content about who one is, seeing a responsibility towards the future. Pride is a so much different thing.

Yes, I too agree 100 percent with Rich and Victoria. I feel that patriotism in itself does not exclude the possibility, or maybe more, the responsibility to recognize the less favourable aspects of our countries and their history, and learn your lessons from that.

I'd like to thank you all for sharing your thoughts; it's been an interesting discussion. I was reminded of a quote from an American historian in an excellent Dutch documentary series about American society. He said: "Call me ambivalent, if anything." I always have that same feeling, when these topics come up.


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