The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #52026   Message #795563
Posted By: Don Firth
02-Oct-02 - 01:00 PM
Thread Name: BS: Patriotism -- what is it?
Subject: RE: BS: Patriotism -- what is it?
"Being an American, however, has much less to do with loving a territory than it does with having a strong preference for the social agreements that define the group." (Amos)

Agreed. I was a "patriotic" little kid. My teachers taught me a whole set of ideals that America stood for. I knew the Flag Code, I drew pictures of the flag, I memorized and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and even before my voice changed, I knew all the verses of "The Star Spangled Banner." I grew into adolescence during World War II, and I was fiercely patriotic. I was a member of the Boy Scouts. In addition to the outdoor activities, the organization taught and tried to practice "American values." In history and civics classes in high school I was taught American history, all about the stated ideals of the Founding Fathers, and all about the Constitution, and especially the Bill of Rights. I heartily embraced the social agreements that I was taught America stood for.

I gradually learned over the years that what I had agreed to and what was being practiced in reality were two very different things. As the years passed, I saw the stated values and the reality diverging further and further. I leave it to you as a valuable exercise to contemplate those "American values" we were all taught and the many ways the reality we live in has diverged from those values.

As I understand it, to say one thing and then do another is not Democracy—it's called Hypocrisy.

I am reminded of a statement that author Morris L. West (The Shoes of the Fisherman) made in his slim, autobiographical volume entitled A View from the Ridge: The Testimony of a Twentieth-Century Christian. I can't recall his exact words, but in essence, he says that people sometimes ask him why he, a one-time staunch Catholic, left the church he had grown up in. He responds "I did not leave the Church. The Church left me."

I thoroughly understand what West means.

Don Firth