Patriotism: a quality that appeals to the lowest common denominator, subsequently muddling up elections since the dawn of time, and the current center of debate in The Ram’s latest issue. I thoroughly believe that no other country on the face of this Earth has a more convoluted interpretation of patriotism than America, each citizen (myself included) forming their own destructive opinion of what patriotism entails. Like most -isms, patriotism is often forced, phony, and downright disgusting. It has no place amongst rational political discourse, and should under no circumstances be practiced on the campaign trail. Still, in many cases a seasoned political intellectual would be defeated in a presidential race by some flag-waving maniac, a huge problem for America, and a great source of fear for the sane voting public.
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If approached reasonably and observed closely, one may see that, in the political realm, patriotism takes upon the same cunning guise as religion. It is open to manipulation by any presidential candidate, and true believers seem to be easily duped. In the early years of the Christian church, bishops warned of the dangers of false prophets. America is young, still in its early years, and apparently very vulnerable to false patriots.
Now, I am by no means implying that either John McCain or Barack Obama is a false patriot, only that there has yet to be a magical device created with the ability and intention of measuring the patriotism of one singular individual. There is no way to truly understand how “patriotic” one is, so any claims made concerning the patriotism of an individual should be dismissed immediately as ravenous babble. The most disgusting of these patriotic evaluations came from right-wing pundits after Michelle Obama’s now infamous remarks about not being proud of America.
Being proud of America in no way entails patriotism. Hell, I suppose being skeptical of one’s homeland is one of the most patriotic things a citizen could do. Is it not noble to question and doubt, thus exposing mistakes and allowing for improvement? Or should one turn a blind eye to the countless fuckups America is singularly responsible for therefore allowing our country’s campaign of idiocy flourish around the globe? Patriotism is not waving a flag or obeying one’s government, it’s getting your knuckles bloody and kicking the Man in the seat of the pants.
False and idiotic patriotism is one of the many contributions that have allowed the big Chimp to treat the American government like his own personal plaything for the last eight years. Hopefully, sooner or later, we can all sit down, take off our Chinese made American flag lapel pins, turn down the country music, and maybe, just maybe, respectfully display one Old Glory. Then, hopefully, we can have one long remedial political discussion about how the hell we’re going to fix this mess.