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wrapping dissent in a flag

You and I have different ideas of patriotism.

By definition, patriotism is love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it.

Patriotism is not "I'm gonna kill all them Iraqis and towel heads." Patriotism is not "I'm going to burn this flag just because I can."

I love this country. I am, for the most part, proud to live here. I wish that we were not still surrounded with racism and anti-semitism and homophobia. I wish there weren't so many hungry kids and so many loud mouthed blockheads who do not think before they speak. But that is par for the course when you have so many different types of people gathered in one place, all calling that place their home.

When I was younger, there was a popular saying, seen on bumper stickers and t-shirts and aimed mostly at the anti-Vietnam crowd. It was a simple saying: America, Love it or Leave it.

When I see people burning the flag and carrying signs that degrade our country, I wonder why they do not leave America. I wonder if they would like life better somewhere else. And I mostly wonder why they think what they are doing is patriotic. Loving and appreciating your freedoms and those who gave you your freedoms is patriotic. Biting the hand that feeds you is not. Just because we are so privileged as to have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly does not mean that you have the right to use those freedoms as a chance to throw rocks, make anti-semitic remarks and threaten the president. That is not patriotism. That is abuse of freedoms.

When I see people degrade someone who is not like them, when I hear those people say that if you are not white you don't belong in America, I wonder why they believe they are being patriotic. Patriotism is not thinly disguised hatred. Patriotism is not defined by how many different races and religions and nationalities you can openly hate. Wrapping your mean spirited words up in a flag does not make you a patriot. A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf.

Patriotism is not waving a flag in someone's face and shouting "I'm better than you." It is not taking your right to dissent and morphing that dissent into violence, destruction and personal attacks.

Patriotism is not loud. It is not crass. It is not rude. You do not have to wave a flag or say the pledge or know all the verses to the Star Spangled Banner to be a patriot.

You do have to love this country and with love comes respect. Dissent stops being patriotic when it is accompanied by lack of respect for your fellow human beings. Pride is not patriotic when you take pride in only what someone of your race, religion, ethnicity or sex has accomplished and you demean the accomplishments of anyone else. Patriotism is being proud of your rights and not denying anyone else the same.

Being patriotic has nothing to do with sticks or stones or name calling. It has nothing to do with signs that call for death to your fellow countrymen, it has nothing to do with disrupting the lives of others.

Love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it.

To sacrifice in this sense would mean to lower your voice. Put your angry signs down. Stop spreading hate. Give your loathing a rest.

Prove that you love your country, that you appreciate everything this country has to offer you. If you love it so much - and if you are claiming yourself to be patriotic that means that you do love it - then stop hating it as well. Stop trying to tear this country apart. Stop waging your own private war against those who are engaging in a war. Stop saying you are for peace when you are for anger, hostility and violence.

America, love it. You don't have to leave it if you don't love it, but you don't have to burn the flag, either.

That is not patriotism.

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference wrapping dissent in a flag:

» love of country from Time of My Life
Michele has a pretty frickin' good definition of patriotism and what it means to be an American. [Read More]

» Something to Think About from The Eleven Day Empire
Over at her site, A Small Victory, Michelle has some comments on patriotism, and what she thinks it is and [Read More]

» Love of Country from Bayou Pundit
Michele on Patriotism and Dissent. Read it. [Read More]

» Patriotism from Advanced Combo Tricks
A Small Victory: wrapping dissent in a flag By definition, patriotism is love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it. Excellent essay, worth a read as soon as you can. It's a good point to be made, that patriotism is a state of mind, not an act... [Read More]

» More on Patriotism and Dissent from dcthornton.blog
Michele offers a moving essay on the issue.... [Read More]

» roulette from roulette
You can also check some information dedicated to roulette [Read More]

Comments

Well said. I couldn't agree more.

mind-reader. I went on this very same tirade last night.

THAT is beautiful. I think I'll print this out and save it.

It's funny, this is a big difference betwen the US and Israel -- I suppose due to the difference in comfort level -- both in terms of security and economic stability.

In Israel, you get big points for staying here. You can be the biggest detractor, say the worst things about the country and the government, but if you live here and you and your children suffer the consequences of your opinions, you get a measure of respect.

Whereas you can be the most flag-waving, patriotic pro-Israel Israeli, but if you live elsewhere, you are taken less seriously.

So in Israel, it's definitely not "Love it or leave it," it's "We don't care if you love it or not, just stay."

very well said.

there is definitely a line somewhere that goes beyond free speech. those people pushing the envelope will cry foul should the authorities eventually have to call someone on it. ie- see, our liberties are being taken away. but the saying I am coming up with is they are 'creating the world they fear'. They fear their liberties are going to go away and they are doing actions that will do precisely that. They fear the world is going to be divided and they are trying with everything they have to do that as well.

Live for the world you believe is possible (not to stop the world you fear).

The best is yet to come. The best conversations, the best adventures, the best chance meetings- they all lie ahead. Believe in a better future. Peace, hope, love, and kindness for all, by all.

Live for the world you believe is possible.

woof
you are hot

somebody give that girl a glass of water

xx

wow. that was amazing.

Those who complain the loudest, yet stay, have said by their actions that there is no place else they'd rather be.
Their actions contradict their words, and pointing it out is not particularly abusive.
It means their noise has been seen as irrelevant ranting lacking substance or even belief.

I said much the same thing (though not half as eloquently) this weekend in a C-P comment to a troll:

He said:
"So, if you strongly disagree with the US government's policies, then you should leave the country. Mmmmm, doesn't sound like a democracy to me.

I said:
"Democracy doesn't have much to do with what I said. If I didn't like sunshine and 100 degree weather, I'd get the hell out of Arizona, I wouldn't sit in a bar in Phoenix, nursing a beer and complaining about it."

Simplistic, I know, my imagination leaves much to be desired. But kind of what you said, too.

Much of what you've said here is valid and completely true. But just because someone is unhappy with the current state of their country doesn't mean the don't love their country, and it doesn't mean they aren't patriotic. Many of these protestors are burning flags as a statment, and they're doing it out of love for the US and what it stands for, rather than out of hate. People don't want to see a nation that has been seen throughout the global community as having been devoted to peace and democracy turned into a nation that is seen as arrogant and unjust.
Rebelling against a government whose policies you don't agree with doesn't make you unpatriotic.

Bravo, Michele.

I posted a link, along with a few words, at the Centrist Weblog.

People don't want to see a nation that has been seen throughout the global community as having been devoted to peace and democracy turned into a nation that is seen as arrogant and unjust. Ridding the world of a madman, freeing his people from tyranny and oppression, and allowing them to create a democratic government for themselves are not inconsistent with devotion to peace and democracy.

Rebelling against a government whose policies you don't agree with doesn't make you unpatriotic. That depends on the means your rebellion employs. Peaceful protest is not unpatriotic. Spitting on, throwing rocks at, and cursing people in the military is unpatriotic. Teachers telling the childred of service people that their parents are bad and immoral is unpatriotic. Wishing for "a thousand mogadishus" is unpatriotic. Destroying a 9/11 memorial, and then physically assualting the woman in charge of rebuilding it, is unpatriotic. Disrupting the flow of supplies to our troops is unpatriotic (and treasonous). I could go on, but what's the point?

Chip...you say "Many of these protestors are burning flags as a statment, and they're doing it out of love for the US and what it stands for, rather than out of hate."

Sorry, but I don't believe this. If I were opposed to this war, I would be trying to convert as many people as possible to my point of view--and it would be pretty obvious that that could not be achieved by burning flags, walking on stilts, getting naked in large groups, etc etc. Those who engage in such tactics aren't attempting to exercise their citizenship; they are engaging in exhibitionism--mainly, showing off for like-minded individuals.

Exactly, David. They're "preaching to the choir". Do these people really think acting like a bunch of complete asshats is going to change anyone's mind about anything? I'd say they're more likely to influence people not to share their views, because people in general don't want to identify with, or be identified with, freaks, idiots, and criminals. If you want to influence people, present your views rationally, intelligently, calmly, and with some CLASS and DECENCY.

Amazing. Thank you.

Amen.

Lovely writing Michele. No matter how many times I try to explain this simple concept to others it is never as well thought out as this.

(I should preface this with the fact that I support the war and our troops completely)... The main thing I don't get about the anti-war protests is they're trying to say that things can be solved peacefully... and in so doing they become violent (so they sorta discredit themselves right there)...

But I think we're seeing the lunatic fringe (Maybe I"M paranoid, but I think there's a LOT of lunatics out there). Still - I think the larger group of anti-war-people are not going out and causing a scene. Maybe they do have peaceful protests/marches. But I'll never hear about it because the news is all about sensationalism and the lunatic fringe is more interesting to read then a bunch of peace-loving people walking around quietly with a sign.

What I would like to see is the ANTI-WAR people stand up and say this behavior is not acceptable. Clearly it goes against what they stand for - yet it seems like they "allow" it to happen because at least it gives their general direction air-time. Again, I think even THAT discredits them.

While I support the war - someone standing up and ranting and raving we should blow the whole country up angers me just as well and puts a bad light on people who do support it...

On another note... instead of condemning the action that can not be stopped at this point - why aren't they being more constructive. Why not pool together food, resource, etc. to help Iraqis in the aftermath. We ARE at war - nothing is going to stop it. Why not put those energies to something positive?

(sorry for the long comment...)

If you were here, I'd give you a big hug right now.

Beautiful.

Very similar dynamic, Jennifer, to the fringe element of the pro-life movement. Murdering a doctor kind of undermines your whole "pro-life" polemic, no?

Many pro-lifers denounce the violence committed in their names, though some still stepped up to support that awful website that lists personal information of doctors, etc., calling that a form of protest.

Those who oppose this war, or others, should adopt the former attitude, not the latter.

That was a beautiful post Michele. I go back and forth on how I feel about the war, but I agree with everything you just said.

Good point, William. Extremists can tarnish the image of any group. In addition to the abortion example you cited, it applies to lots of religions-- fanatics turn people off, even though the rank and file of religious people are not fanatics. BUT-- one has to wonder why more members of the rank and file don't loudly denounce extremist behaviour. This is especially true of Muslims today, but applies to many others as well.

"Ridding the world of a madman, freeing his people from tyranny and oppression, and allowing them to create a democratic government for themselves are not inconsistent with devotion to peace and democracy."
What? Are you insane? When has an invader ever allowed a country to create a democratic government for themselves? The US is going to install a government of their choosing, not one chosen by the Iraqi people. Half the candidates for this position are former Baath party members or former commanders in the Iraqi army, one of them has been accused of stomping a childs head in.
As far as ridding the world of a mad man...well killing thousands of Iraqi civilians really isn't the best way of going about it. The US isn't freeing anyone from opression, they're just taking one guy they can't control and adding one that they can.
As far as all the examples you give of protest, those are the minority. Most people are peaceful about it, most people hold vigils, or marches. Don't judge everyone by the acts of a few.
Burning a flag is different from throwing stones, or attacking people.
You forget to mention the pro-war people who do things like break into a college girls dorm room because she's hanging a flag upside down.
Once again, both sides are guilty of radical actions.
My point is that loving ones country is not the same as loving the current leaders or what they represent. Which is what the majority of the protests are about.

I couldn't agree more!

I'd also like to see the bolt and rock throwing idiots be arrested and charged with assaulting police officers. They won't have the luxury of paying a dinky little fine and going about their business anymore! Don't get me wrong...I'm all for standing up for what you believe in - but they are escaping the consequences of their actions. They wear their "civil disobedience" records like badges of honor they didn't earn. Let them spend time in jail for their crimes - not just a few hours in a makeshift holding area. An actual cell. With a very large, angry cellmate. Then they'll be appreciative of the freedoms they take for granted.

When has an invader ever allowed a country to create a democratic government for themselves? The US is going to install a government of their choosing, not one chosen by the Iraqi people. Really? That's not the way I hear it. Can you site a source to back up these accusations, or shall we just wait and see?

.well killing thousands of Iraqi civilians really isn't the best way of going about it. I'm sorry...who's killing thousands of Iraqi civillians? Other than Sadam, I mean. Do you have any credible source to back that number up?

The US isn't freeing anyone from opression, they're just taking one guy they can't control and adding one that they can. So you're suggesting that by getting rid of Saddam, the Iraqi people will not be freed from his oppression? And you're assuming the next guy will be just as bad? You have no earthly idea who the next leader will be, or what the process for determining that leader will be.

Clearly, your ability to see the situation rationally is diminished by your hatred of the US, or at least for the president. You assume the worst about everything, and put forth wild, unsubstantiated suppositions as though they're facts. Not surprising, really. There's a lot of that going around, it seems.

Chip, you manage to take every single post I make and turn it into a showcase for your tirades.

You are no longer welcome here, as you consistently ruin my entries by twisting and turning everything around. Even my entries that were meant to be humorous were turned into fights by you.

When liberals and leftists complain to me that they don't like coming here because the comment section often descends into name calling and fighting, I should point out that more than half of the fights were started by you.

From now on, if you have something to say about one of my posts, kindly post it on YOUR OWN BLOG.

It really pisses me off when I spend an hour writing something and you turn it into a piece of shit with just a few off tangent words.

Go rant on your own bandwidth.

Protesters want their cause noticed. In today's mediacentric America delivering a petition doesnt get them on tv, while direct action does. When african americans were struggling for equality there were people who suggested that they be locked up to, dave.

Yes, but I woldn't have been one of them, so long as the protests were peaceful and remained within the bounds of the law and acceptable behaviour. I don't think any cause justifies some of the asinine behaviour we've seen from the anti-war movement. It just doesnt accomplish anything.

"What? Are you insane? When has an invader ever allowed a country to create a democratic government for themselves?"

The US. Invaded Japan, Italy, Germany, and France. Helped them set up their own democracies and got the hell out.

Those who do not learn from history are condemned to look stupid. Right, Chip?

Brava Michele!

I found the piece to be very moving and quite thought provoking. I think it should be required reading for folks of both camps, it might provoke more thoughtful dialog.

As for Chip, well, good riddance to bad rubbish I always say.

Maybe people should question why these protesters feel the need to protest in this way? They are NOT all completely irrational despite what some posts I read above say.

I had to laugh at one of his blogs "It's pretty scary to think that authorities could fire sand-bags, non-lethal bullets, and concussion grenades at you for simply stating your mind in a civily disobediant manner. "

Throwing rocks at the police is 'SIMPLY STATING YOUR MIND in a civily disobediant manner?'

No, I'm sorry, throwing rocks at the police is confirmation of Rob's Law of the UniverseŠ; Stupidity SHOULD be Painful

Ooops, sorry for feeding the trolls, Michelle.

What I meant to say was that was a beautiful essay on patriotism. I am blogging a link to it, without any comment of my own, since I would only detract from it.

Maybe people should question why these protesters feel the need to protest in this way?
There are several reasons one might behave like such an asshat and call it "protesting":

1. They're pissed off because they didnt get their way (in the 2000 election or on the war issue), and rather than accepting the fact that you don't always get your way, they're throwing a fit, like a spoiled child.

2. They see protests as an excuse to congregate with like-minded people and act like jackasses.

3. They're desperate for attention.

4. They're at that age where they think it's cool to be anti-everything. You name it, they'll protest it.

5. They're 50+, but never outgrew that age where they think it's cool to be anti-everything...possibly attributable, at least in part, to heavy drug use in the 1960s.

The intelligent, rational anti-war protestors remain calm and within the law. They carry signs with intelligent messages, not absurdities and cruelties.
Those people deserve respect, and deserve to have their voices heard. And we have heard them.

But for some people, being heard isnt enough. Somehow they've gotten it in their heads that if they protest loud enough and long enough, they're owed a favorable outcome. It doesn't work that way. The most effective form of protest occurs in the voting booth, not in the streets.

Hi, ran into your page when I was checking out another person's site and he happened to mention you. Just thought I would let you know that I was blown away by your poetice writing on being a patriot.
I immigrated from Vietnam, to Canada, and to the U.S. and I love this country with all of my heart. I am an orphan from the Vietnam war and I am just happy to be an American citizen with all of its rights and responsibilities. I am not going to talk about whether the war in Vietnam or in Iraq is right or wrong but I am going to say that only in the U.S. can you voice yourself freely and have so much freedom.

Chip just posts his nonsense here in the hopes of luring readers to his pathetic site.

Myself, I'm in it for the limericks.

Michele, thanks for a thoughtful post. I have been and still am opposed to this war, but I am most definitely a patriot. However, I do not like being lumped in with hateful, violent protestors. I'm certainly not suggesting you are doing that. However, I do have to question what you mean by these words:

Love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it.

To sacrifice in this sense would mean to lower your voice. Put your angry signs down. Stop spreading hate. Give your loathing a rest.

Prove that you love your country, that you appreciate everything this country has to offer you. If you love it so much - and if you are claiming yourself to be patriotic that means that you do love it - then stop hating it as well. Stop trying to tear this country apart. Stop waging your own private war against those who are engaging in a war. Stop saying you are for peace when you are for anger, hostility and violence.

I understand your point. But to me, it seems like you are lumping all those who are protesting with those who are truly hateful. Some of us protest because we ARE patriotic, and we do it in our own ways. We write, we seek to educate people, we try to raise awareness of our point of view. We are not all hateful, we are not all full of anger, hostility and violence, and we are certainly NOT aiming to "tear this country apart." I'm just frightened when I feel that some of what you say can be interpreted as "Now that this war has begun, don't protest it because that's unpatriotic." I'm definitely not saying that is what you mean, I'm only suggesting that it can be dangerous to make generalizations.

I love this country more than anything as it has afforded me so many rights and opportunities that are unfathomable in the lands my ancestors are from. I support our troops and their bravery. However, I can't support the actions of this administration and it is wholly patriotic of me to point out why. Peacefully.

That's the key, Ismat. Peacefully.

There are very intelligent, legitimate arguments against the war. I disagree with them, but I respect them when they're made properly.

Yeah. What Michele said.

strong.

that should be in the bible, right after "love is patient, love is kind, etc." the forcefulness is so apparent, it practically screams at you across the page.

hey, i support the TROOPS and mostly their LIVES. that is patriotism, in my book.

you are very careful, to not go right out and condemn or suppor the war. but not being familiar with other of your posts, i cannot determine that. but that is not the subject. patriotism.

One of the things we shouldn't forget when discussing this is that isn't not just the anti-war crowd that steps over the line.

For example, I saw some articles today about the Columbia University professor who made that awful comment about wanting the U.S. military to experience "a million Mogadishus" in Iraq. Apparently, he's been getting threatening emails by the hundreds and has stopped teaching his classes.

It's ok to call the guy an ass. It's not ok to threaten to kill him.

Certain conservative bloggers are posting his personal information. I'm not sure that's a great improvement over throwing rocks.

Coincidentally, this cartoon was in the Orlando Sentinel today... pretty much sums up my opinion.

Thanks to William Swann for pointing out what also needs to be said.

Finally, I forgot to add one thing--I don't believe there is anything wrong with anger. To be "full of anger" and to be angered by something are two very different things. I am, in fact, outraged by the acts of this administration. That outrage does not make me any less patriotic--that is, it does not lessen my love for this country or my willingness to sacrifice for it. Of course, if I use my anger as an excuse for violent or counterproductive behavior, that is (obviously) reprehensible. But if I use that anger to speak out, to do what I can to change the status quo, that should be applauded. Many civil rights in this country were achieved because there were people courageous enough to be outraged and willing to do something about it.

Thanks to William Swann for pointing out what also needs to be said.

Finally, I forgot to add one thing--I don't believe there is anything wrong with anger. To be "full of anger" and to be angered by something are two very different things. I am, in fact, outraged by the acts of this administration. That outrage does not make me any less patriotic--that is, it does not lessen my love for this country or my willingness to sacrifice for it. Of course, if I use my anger as an excuse for violent or counterproductive behavior, that is (obviously) reprehensible. But if I use that anger to speak out, to do what I can to change the status quo, that should be applauded. Many civil rights in this country were achieved because there were people courageous enough to be outraged and willing to do something about it.

Ismat,

Out of curiosity: What are you prepared to sacrifice on behalf of your country, as part of your patriotism?

That's a serious question.

The soldiers on the front-line, they're prepared to sacrifice their lives. Once upon a time, conscientious objectors were equally willing to do the same thing---at least one has won the Medal of Honor, AFAIK, for pulling Marines off a ledge at Iwo Jima.

This is not meant as a 'reverse chickenhawk' question, so much as a genuine point of curiosity: What are the patriotic anti-war people prepared to sacrifice?

I'm not suggesting that they should become human shields, or similar incendiary drivel. I'm just curious how you and your supporters would show your patriotism?

What exactly makes one think protesting this war is going to change anything? 99% of the time, organized protest is completely useless if not detrimental to the cause behind it.

Just a personal opinion, but I find most people who claim to be angry or outraged by this administration's policies are actually just outraged about the 2000 election, and policy really has nothing to do with it. The war in Iraq is a perfect example. Clinton instituted the policy of regime change, not Bush. And no one protested. At one point, Clinton was planning to overthrow Iraq by force, without UN approval, and no one protested. Clinton did take military action in several other areas without UN approval, and nobody whined about it. The truth is that all of this is about George Bush, not about policy. And hypocrisy smells really, really bad.

Well said Michele.
Too much hate, too much bitterness, too much talk with no listening, too much selfishness. But there is hope if the majority will make their voices heard over the shrill screams of the loud-mouthed few. You are helping with that. Great job.

My country right or wrong! I'll be the first to admit when it's wrong. Just because you have a "right" to do something, doesn't mean it's a right to do. Being judgmental isn't a bad thing.........the lines have been so smeared by PC crap for too long that even I am fighting to be free of it. My home the finest in the world. We'll tweak the small stuff LATER. I'm sick of these people bitching about a pile of dishes in the sink when the freaking roof is caving in! Can't these people be happy for ANYTHING??? If you're that miserable and your life sucks that much.....off yourself. We have it AWESOME...get a clue.

Excellent post, Empress Michelle. I'm linking it because there is no way I can approach such brilliance in the written word.

Michele,

If I wasn't already married, (ok if you weren't already married either), I would sweep you up and take you to a sunny deserted beach so we could lie in the sun (with plenty of tequila) and I could listen to you espouse more of your absolutely brilliant ideas. I think this last post should be required reading for anyone who wants to express an opinion (pro or con) on this war. You go girl!!!!!

I agree with you on the flag-burning-country-degrading part. Insults and burning of a piece of fabric will get you no where. I know if I have a problem with what our country is doing, I have the freedom and the opportunity to speak out against it, and attempt to make a productive change for the better. Burning flags, starting riots, killing people, and slurring a nation because you have to pay a few more cents a gallon for gas is just plain ignorant. Calling the local water district to find out how much water a golf course uses and comparing it to how much your neighborhood uses (i live in the desert and we are really low on water), then reporting it by writing the editor of your local news paper to begin your attempts to alert the community would be an example (my example) of a more productive measure. I can't do shit about the Bush regime. They decided the outcome of all that is happening long before they made it to Capitol Hill, but I goddamn sure can make a difference here locally, and I'm grateful that I still have the freedom to do so. Therefore, with all her faults, I still love America.

Oh, and I LOOOOOVE Solonor's cartoon. It is so true. Goddamn it, we may be for or against the war people, but we are still countrymen/women. Nothing can take that fact away from us.

As I was reading through the comments, and reading that people were asking how you can voice your opinion on matters or affect change in an intelligent and non-violent way if there is something you don't like, many ideas were mentioned. Except for one.

Vote.

On election day, go out and vote.

We live in a country where we are fortunate to be able to choose those who lead us, but yet voter turnout is abysmal most of the time.

We may only elect a president every four years, but every two years, we elect the House and some members of the Senate. Election results speak louder to any politician than burning flags, throwing things, destroying property, or harming people, regardless of what cause or what side of an issue you fall on.

Government is not going to change unless people get off their butts and vote. Government has been the way it has for years, regardless of who is in the White House, because of people's apathy. When you don't vote, you are letting other people decide for you who is going to lead this country, or your state, or your city.

There are people who live in other countries who would die for the right to be able to choose those who govern them, but yet only half the people who are eligible to do so in this country actually go out and vote on election day.

This was a very well written piece, Michele.

@Dean,
I think some Americans sacrifice their good standing when they protest, especially in small towns where protest is unpopular. Others sacrifice their sense of "belonging", or their belief in America as a force for good (for example, Chad Orzel). It's not much, of course, but it's as much as most of us sacrifice one way or the other in this war.

Not to Dean, particularly,
I have no particular love of or respect for flag-burners, "no blood for oil"ers, etc, but to repeat a tired but true point: their freedom of speech is the point of such freedoms. (Also, I don't think most of them think they're being "patriotic.")

“The real test of any claim about freedom, I’ve decided, is how far you’re willing to go in letting people be wrong about it.” bruce baugh, via electrolite.

people were asking how you can voice your opinion on matters or affect change in an intelligent and non-violent way if there is something you don't like, many ideas were mentioned. Except for one.

Vote.


Posted by Kathy at April 9, 2003 12:53 PM



ahem


The most effective form of protest occurs in the voting booth, not in the streets.

Posted by dave at April 8, 2003 02:40 PM

:)

I agree. Burning a flag says nothing except "I'm debasing my country and turning my back on it". As a political gesture, it's the thin end of the wedge that leads to assassination of the president. It's also curious that there are people who are so dissatisfied with their country they don't move. In the UK, there are some that want to turn the country into Saudi Arabia, begging the question why not just move there and save everyone the trouble?

As ever, though, the fringes of political movements tend not to practise what they preach. The anti-war types who claim deep respect for human rights but can't offer a way of giving them back to the Iraqis. The protesters railing against the violence of war by... being violent. The so-called patriots who keep suspiciously quiet about the erosion of civil liberties enshrined in the constitution. Or the chickenhawks that wax lyrical about serving one's country when they evaded the chance to do so.

In that respect, you are spot on with the point you make implicitly: patriotism isn't and cannot be defined by sitting somewhere on the political spectrum, but by acting within the codes of behaviour your country represents.

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That's what I like to see, said the priest, A man helping his fellow
man.
As he was walking away, one local remarked to the other, Well,
he sure doesn't know the first thing about shark fishing.
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