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How Would You Define Being An American Patriot?

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posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 11:07 PM
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As I mentioned in other posts, I have read a book by Michael Parenti called Superpatriotism.
He described the phenomenon in an interesting light. See if you agree.

These exerpts are from Parenti, Michael. Superpatriotism. San Francisco: City Light Books, 2004.

Mr. Parenti defines superpatriotism as:


the readiness to follow national leaders unquestioningly in their dealings with other countries, especially in confrontations involving military force. (1)


He then begins to explain the definition in detail:


In this country superpatriotism rests on the dubious assumption that the United States is endowed with superior virtue and has a unique history and special place in the world. For the American superpatriot, nationalistic pride, or "Americanism", is placed above every other public consideration. (2)


He begins to argue that superpatriots pretty much hold America up to an ideal:


Some superpatriots claim that they love America because of the freedom it gives us. Yet most of them seem to love freedom only in the abstract, for they cannot stand the dissidence and protests that are the actual practice of a free people. They have trouble tolerating criticisms directed against certain US policies and institutions if anything, superpatriots show themselves ever ready to support greater political conformity and more repressive measures against heterodoxy. (6)


Then, Mr. Parenti sums up his definition:


It seems that the America our superpatriots claim to love is neither geographical or demographic totality, nor a cultural heritage as such, nor really a land of such unlimited freedom and economic opportunity and prosperity. The superpatriot's America is a simplified ideological abstraction, an emotive symbol represented by other abstract symbols like the flag. It is the object of a faithlike devotion, unencumbered by honest history. For the superpatriot, those who do not share in this uncriticial Americanism ought to go live in some other country. (9)


Do you folks agree or disagree with Mr. Parenti's words? How would you define American patriotism? What makes a good patriot?









[edit on 31-3-2006 by ceci2006]




posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 11:50 PM
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the readiness to follow national leaders unquestioningly in their dealings with other countries, especially in confrontations involving military force. (1)


Just to let you know, that this was one of the reasons why the King of England was allowed to do so much as he did, because the people of England (and the Colonies) let him do so without questioning his judgement.

As for me, I feel that it is patriotism to question them to the bone, because it is showing that you actually care for your nation.




In this country superpatriotism rests on the dubious assumption that the United States is endowed with superior virtue and has a unique history and special place in the world. For the American superpatriot, nationalistic pride, or "Americanism", is placed above every other public consideration. (2)


Well, I hate to sound "super" patriotic, but the United States does hold a unique place in history, now whether or not that gives us the right to do anything, I don't think so. We do what we do as a country 1) because no one else can, or won't, and 2) because it is what every other country seems to say to want to happen "We need more money!" "Call the US, they are always full of it."


Some superpatriots claim that they love America because of the freedom it gives us. Yet most of them seem to love freedom only in the abstract, for they cannot stand the dissidence and protests that are the actual practice of a free people.


This one I have to agree to have seen, though it is also those Freedoms to express a differing opinion.


It seems that the America our superpatriots claim to love it neither geographical or demographic totality, nor a cultural heritage as such, nor really a land of such unlimited freedom and economic opportunity and prosperity. The superpatriot's America is a simplified ideological abstraction, an emotive symbol represented by other abstract symbols like the flag. It is the object of a faithlike devotion, unencumbered by honest history. For the superpatriot, those who do not share in this uncriticial Americanism ought to go live in some other country. (9)


Sad, but true. I try to convince people around me otherwise, but most people anymore don't want to remember that which built this country. They only want to salute the flag, say a pledge (not even that anymore really), fill up their gas tank, and spew toxic fumes over everything...

Makes ya proud to be an American...doesn't it?



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 12:01 AM
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I disagree...
The dictionary defines a Patriot as : One who loves, supports, and defends one's country.
Well, I, for one love my country. I also support my country, in the same way that I support my husband, whether he is right or wrong, I must be there to defend him once his decision has been made. That is not to say that I agree with all of the decisions made by our government for our country. There have been both good and bad ones over the years, but, as a citizen, it is my duty and my honor to stand up for my country. Though I have not served in the military, I would defend my country at all costs should I be called upon to do so.
However, I would not unquestioningly follow anyone anywhere, not my husband, certainly not my government. Nothing good comes of blind trust, IMO. The United States does not have a superior virtue, or a special place in the world that has not been earned through hard work, perseverance, and the sacrifices of all of our soldiers over the years.



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 12:58 AM
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Mr. Parenti also asked the question throughout his book, How does one love one's country? That alone provides a more provacative slant on this topic. He goes on to ask whether it is possible to love every part of the country, history or leadership. In its entire totality, I think you can't. For example, I love Seattle. But I hate that it rains there all the time. Does that disqualify me as being a patriot? I love basketball but I really hate baseball, even though it is America's favorite pasttime. Do I have to leave the country now?

I too, Sir Solomon and Devine, believe that to practice patriotism doesn't mean that you blindly follow your leader. You can express an interest in the national leader by following up on his/her positions and placing them on a litmus test. Then, you can agree or disagree with the policies he or she enacted. That is having a healthy interest in the ways of government, instead of absorbing "canned" facts fed by the media.

I also think Mr. Parenti describes extreme patriotism. And sadly enough, I witnessed this after 9/11 to the present. I have always wondered why someone gets disqualified as a patriot for the act of simply asking questions about the issues affecting government. And still, my question hangs out there for a "superpatriot" to describe why they must follow every decision made by the government even though by their very speech and manner, they assert certain things (i.e. the "other" political party, or the "other" type of government) that they dislike. Does that make them any less of a "patriot" as well?

People tend to forget that America is a very young country compared to the Old World. There are other places in the world that have lasted for thousands of years. So, maybe it isn't time to say that the U.S. holds an "unique" place in history yet. Maybe we're still trying to find our place in world history. But, that too would make the "superpatriot" mad.

Do you guys think that "patriotism" is being prostituted as a "catch word" to get behind national policy? Or not?



[edit on 31-3-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 01:37 AM
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I agree one can not love every part of the country, history, or leadership. If that were the case, we would have no need for more than one political party, not to mention the infinite number of other things we have more than one of to satisfy the masses.
Catch word? Without a doubt. After 9/11, to be called unpatriotic was the most shameful thing imaginable. I think that we, as a country, tend to be somewhat soft hearted (by that I mean, the memorials we rush to put up, our need to help, even when it’s not wanted/asked for, and our constant curiosity for others welfare). This soft heartedness, in my opinion, is partially to blame for the patriotic sentiment of the last few years. When there is a large scale catastrophe, i.e.: 9/11, Katrina, we all do our best to step over the disagreements on policy and party, and come together to rush assistance or heartfelt wishes where needed. This is not a bad thing in and of itself. It does become a problem though, when the higher ups use it to their advantage. For a long time, there were bumper stickers here (forgive me, I don’t leave town much, so I don’t know if they showed up elsewhere) intimating that while the troops were supported, the war was wrong. A question of patriotism? Not for me. I fully support those that are willing to give their lives so that I may continue to enjoy mine status quo, but I don’t think they were sent there for the right reasons.
Remember back in school… the people that asked the questions in class always seemed to have a bit of a better grasp than those that just accepted the answer. Those that just accepted it could never work the problem backwards. When you can’t see what the problem is and work it over backwards and forwards, you can’t find a better approach to solving it. Seems to me that these “superpatriots” are perfectly comfortable with just being given the answer, and have no issue with whether or not the answer is correct. They aren’t going to rock the boat, they are going to forge ahead, follow the leader, and walk right off the cliff.
Lol, don’t get me started on the media!



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 02:17 AM
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Originally quoted by Devine
I think that we, as a country, tend to be somewhat soft hearted (by that I mean, the memorials we rush to put up, our need to help, even when it’s not wanted/asked for, and our constant curiosity for others welfare). This soft heartedness, in my opinion, is partially to blame for the patriotic sentiment of the last few years.


I agree with what you said. However, I would also add that fear also dictates "superpatriotism". Don't get me wrong. It's all right to be afraid. But, the very notion of "fear" was used by the politicians to manipulate the American people into blindly believing everything that was said. This fear has trickled down into blaming opposing parties, denouncing other religions as well as a superficiality of renaming things to support America (such as "Freedom Fries"). So, as long as the population follows the government out of fear, they are putty in the politician's hands. To me, that's not patriotism at all.


Originally quoted by Devine
For a long time, there were bumper stickers here (forgive me, I don’t leave town much, so I don’t know if they showed up elsewhere) intimating that while the troops were supported, the war was wrong. A question of patriotism? Not for me. I fully support those that are willing to give their lives so that I may continue to enjoy mine status quo, but I don’t think they were sent there for the right reasons.


Those bumper stickers are everywhere in the form of a "yellow ribbon". I also support the troops. And I also don't agree with the reasons we were sent to war because there is too much evidence out there that proves otherwise. That doesn't make me less than a patriot. It makes me more of an inquisitive one. But, then I think about the time when the soldiers come home. They will be not only dealing with the drastic psychological reprocussions of what they did during battle; they will also have to deal with the economic and physical costs as well.


Originally posted by Devine
Seems to me that these “superpatriots” are perfectly comfortable with just being given the answer, and have no issue with whether or not the answer is correct. They aren’t going to rock the boat, they are going to forge ahead, follow the leader, and walk right off the cliff.
Lol, don’t get me started on the media!


That's the difference between individuals and "sheep". I feel that it is better to be an active participant in governmental activities rather than lying down and taking it. The way that the politicians use "patriotism" is disturbing simply because of that notion. It almost sounds like raping the American people's minds of sensibility, if you think about it.

What bothers me about blindly doing everything that our leaders say is that it is one step away from a fascist government. Yet, the "sheep" would never know it because they are keeping things "status quo" all the way. And you're right, they would probably fall off the cliff thinking that this is the most "patriotic" thing they can do. That makes this entire concept sad instead of empowering.

The media in itself is just the cheerleaders of "superpatriotism". So, I can understand your anger.








[edit on 31-3-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 05:28 AM
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To answer your first question, "Do you folks agree or disagree with Mr. Parenti's words?", I would have to say I disagree with them. Almost immediately, the tone of his words seem to be anti-conservative, anti-rightwing. It's almost as if he is against a super-patriot; to him, there can be no good definition of a super-patriot. To me, that indicates that he doesn't want to approach the topic objectively; instead, he wants to make it adversarial.

But that's just my .02.

[edit on 31-3-2006 by jsobecky]



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 09:13 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
To answer your first question, "Do you folks agree or disagree with Mr. Parenti's words?", I would have to say I disagree with them. Almost immediately, the tone of his words seem to be anti-conservative, anti-rightwing. It's almost as if he is against a super-patriot; to him, there can be no good definition of a super-patriot. To me, that indicates that he doesn't want to approach the topic objectively; instead, he wants to make it adversarial.

But that's just my .02.

[edit on 31-3-2006 by jsobecky]


I don't believe he is even bringing conservativism or liberalism into the equation. I think he is using an incorrect term that is causing some confusion - "super-patriotism". Even with the prefix of "super", what he is describing isn't patriotism at all, but rather nationalism. There is a difference.

Following gov't leaders blindly, and condemning others who don't is nationalism. Being concerned with the way this Nation is being led by questioning and putting people "in check" is patriotism.



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 05:46 PM
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jsobecky and VeeTwin60,

I think what you both said is the crux of the argument. One has to wonder whether Mr. Parenti has an axe to grind or is he simply stating a fact about the response of some citizens after 9/11. Like I said before, I think that the author's view is rather extremist in his interpretation of patriotism. Like VeeTwin60 said, you can equate Mr. Parenti's interpretation to nationalism. While jsobecky relates the author's responses as being a leftist interpretation, if not an agenda.

It is not mistakable that there have been a lot of examples seen in the American public since 9/11. Even though "superpatriotism" is not positive in any way, shape or form, it is useful to define this type this kind of behavior. And perhaps, it is equally as employable to state that by using an "extreme" definition, gets people to take pause and reexamine the state of things in the U.S.

"Superpatriotism" in its extremity can set up what and what not defines an interest in one's country.

  1. Being a patriot provides a healthy interest in government through questioning and checking actions executed by leaders and politicians.
  2. Being a patriot does not mean that one does not "love" one's country in its entirety; but is willing to work within the nation to change the system.
  3. Being a patriot means defending one's country in every sense of the word, but in different ways.


    I think that when it's said and done, people do agree that they are "patriotic". However, the line drawn in the sand represents how patriotism after a chaotic event is used to present an agenda. Some people can see the agenda happening right before their eyes. Others do not. That is why I find Mr. Parenti's words interesting, if not helpful in trying to establish the ways we can believe in our country without being driven to do so by malicious intent.

    If you think about it, since 9/11 this is one of the most drastic problems pitting American against American as the "War on Terror" plays out.



    [edit on 31-3-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 07:01 PM
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Patriotism is really in the mind of the patriot. It can be something as simple as flying the flag to outright extremism. Here is a short, short story about a man who had no doubt he was a patriot, but would a single one of you agree that he was?

Proud to be an American

Like many things in life, there is a large gray area where patriotism lives and more often than not its in the heart of the individual.

Wupy



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 09:11 PM
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That is a very fascinating story, mrwupy. It also is thought-provoking because it really makes you struggle with how or what a patriot would be. When I read it, it was hard to separate the repercussions of Mr. McVeigh's crime and the process of patriotism. After reading this, I can agree that patriotism is in the heart of the individual.

In it's most outer construct, yes, you can say that Mr. McVeigh was a patriot. But in the same manner, it is hard not to acknowledge that his "patriotism" had been instigated by The Turner Diaries, militia groups, the Waco conflict between the ATF and the Branch Davidians as well as his failures in the army. That would mean that when you look under the surface, all of these different influences spurred on a man who felt on one side that his government abandoned him. On the other side, it conveys a man who took his belief in his country too far to the point that he blew up a building and killed a number of people, if not injuring more. Again, I repeat that is where the line in the sand is drawn.

I suppose if you asked the question to the families still affected by the tragedy in Oklahoma, they would not agree that Mr. McVeigh was not a patriot, but an unbalanced bomber who couldn't control his passions. In that way, he would be someone who allowed himself to be associated with people who viewed the United States in a particularly skewed way.

It is easy to say patriotism is in the eye of the beholder. But to express it dangerously negates the issue of dissent. Timothy McVeigh thought he was being a patriot. But you have to ask, who was he being a patriot for? Himself? The Branch Davidians? The Militia? Or America at large?

But by today's standards he would be called a terrorist. But then again, if not controversially, you can call the American Revolutionary Army against the British Crown terrorists too. But in the very same breath, all of them are considered patriots one way or the other by a segment of the population.

Which means, depending which side of the fence you sit, perhaps that is how you define patriotism.


[edit on 31-3-2006 by ceci2006]

[edit on 31-3-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 09:27 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
Which means, depending which side of the fence you sit, perhaps that is how you define patriotism.


Exactly. Patriotism is a point of view. It depends upon how one is looking upon their country and what they believe is right and wrong.

The extreme right wingers believe its patriotic to demand that the nation follow the laws of god (as they determine just what the laws of god are) and the extreme left wingers demand freedoms beyond what any civilized society can tolerate.

Patriotism is a point of view.

Atleast thats MHO.

Wupy



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 09:44 PM
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Originally quoted by mrwupy
Patriotism is a point of view.


Yes, but why is that single fact pitting Americans against each other? What is bothering me is the fact that since 9/11, citizens in the U.S. are placed on this hierarchy depending on how patriotic they are. Why is it that if you support the national leader and believe in what he proposes, you are a patriot and if you openly question the national leader and his policies, you are not a patriot?

Is it that the "superpatriots" (for lack of a better term) the ones with the loudest voices? Do they have the right to bully others who won't follow their game plan?

[edit on 31-3-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 10:10 PM
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Patriotism is not the enemy here, extremism is. Extremism is always going to be the enemy. An extremist will justify anything for the sake of their point of view. What is that old saying?:

"a zealot is someone who goes ahead and does what he knows the good lord would do if the good lord only had all the facts of the matter."

It's OK to be a patriot. But moderation in all things is the key to a happy life.

Just my opinion,



posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 03:48 PM
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My definition of patriot is as follows:

--Does what's best for their country

In this case, doing what's best for America would be voting out the traitors, all 500+ of them.

Blindly following a leader can hurt one's country and therefore is not patriotic. Allowing unchecked immigration hurts one's country. Killing unborn citizens hurts one's country. (You see where I'm going with this, right?)

A patriot upholds his country's Constitution and will not vote for anyone who does not uphold it.



posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 12:14 PM
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I didn't notice this thread until the otherday, and haven't gotten around to posting 'til now.

A patriot is someone who supports his country through the good times as well as the bad, but isn't blind to the problems around him. A "super" patriot is a nationalist of the purest sort, and I don't mean that in a complimentary fashion. The late unlemented Timothy McVey was a superpatriot of the nastiest sort, his vision of our national destiny was the only one that was valid, all others were obviously not, and most were worthy only of death. The militia movement of the late '80's and early '90's were rife with these sorts, they go hand in hand with the various supremist movements, both white and otherwise.

I haven't read the book that several of you mention. So I can't really comment. Though from the sounds of several of you who have, he does seem to have an axe of some sort to grind.



posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 01:23 AM
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The reason why I put several quotes from Superpatriotism is the fact that it proposes an interesting view of patriotism. By the mere definition of the term, Mr. Parenti is describing some of the aftereffects of 9/11. And I wondered what everyone thought about his definition of superpatriotism.

The problem is that "superpatriotism" is more of a movement by some people in the country who won't deviate from the "party line". And most certainly of Mr. McVeigh's case, it can be witnessed in the more extreme groups residing with United states. So, in my point of view, superpatriotism conveys in a frightening tone of how far nationalism can go. And yes, it is most certainly nasty. And of course, it sounds like Mr. Parenti does have an axe to grind. But, how far off the mark is he?

Patriotism has an ugly side--not only in extremist groups. It can be manipulated and perverted in many ways by our government so that they can get us to believe certain things. Of course, that's what makes propaganda. By keeping a check on the good side of patriotism, we can sift through what is true and false.

I believe Mr. Parenti means "superpatriotism" is sort of a symptom that could arise into nationalism if we aren't vigilant enough concerning the practices of the government. Besides the approach of an agenda, he could be exploring the meaning in a cautionary tone. That's what I perceive the meaning to be. Like I said before, "superpatriotism" is there only to help define what patriotism is and isn't. And judging from the answers so far, I think that everyone in the thread has a very good sense of where they sit regarding this notion.

Patriotism is something that needs to be used wisely and not as a divisive issue.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 10:26 AM
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Definitions of Patriot -

Webster

one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests


Online Free Dictionary

a person who vigorously supports his country and its way of life


Dictionary online


1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.


MY definition - A person who supports or defends his/her country, it's people, and it's way of life. The person is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors, and is prepared to help change it (or at least support the change) for the better if need be.

edit on 12/23/2011 by FlyersFan because: fixed quote






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