Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 03, 2005

Tough Love

Patriotism is the subject today, or more universally, nationalism. This has been on my mind particularly since the tsunami disaster and the various actions and reactions concerning levels of aid by this country and that country.

It was on my mind during the last post, though the point I was after was more about the misconception Americans have of how generous we are in general than it was about the tsunami aid. It may seem that I carp on American attitudes and naivete too much. Righties would be quick to dismiss me as another "Bourdeaux drinking American hater", an "elitist" or Spiro Agnew's "effete intellectual snob". Always with the cute labels, these people (because it works). So I agree with some "wimpy" Norweigen that Americans are stingy--hell I would, wouldn't I? What else would a "bleeding heart" say?

But then on Jan. 2 this appears in the reader feedback section of the English version of Deutsche Welle, a source I recommend for reading the everyday opinions of others in the world.

Though it can be fair enough to criticize the government and citizens of my United States for hard headedness and that our relief can be at times proportioned too strongly along lines drawn by political agenda, there is no question who will contribute most greatly to this relief effort. Can it be enough? Impossible. The suffering is monumental, the road is long and there was not enough sustenance in much of this region before this disaster. Nevertheless we will try, and the people of the Indian Ocean rim will learn what Berliners learned in 1948: that Americans will drop everything and come running when needed, even to a place in which we might otherwise be personae non grata.

And who submitted this honest but prideful bit? Yep, ol' "socialist", "subversive", "soft on terrorism" me.

I have enjoyed America from Bar Harbor to La Jolla, from Copper Harbor to Key West. I know that there are few places in the world better to have grown up in than the American Midwest. I love and will defend America and Americans. But underlying this love for American humanity is..well...love for humanity.

Being human is more elemental and therefore a condition more suited to the acquisition of valueable knowledge than that of being American. Nationalism is at best a defender of liberties and at worst the instrument of evil, but in any case it's an obstacle to the truth and a sign that much progress is yet to be made.

I will defend America, but at the same time promote a world where this is not necessary. When we acquire a truth we say, "Ah, so simple!" It's about that.


3 Comments:

At 10:30 AM, Blogger JD said...

well said.

I did my best to seclude myself from that discussion. I just thought that it was telling that hundreds of thousands of people were dying and suffering and instead of that being the focus, someone calling us a name stole the headline. It was sad.

I've been doing that a lot lately, secluding myself from the discussion. I hardly watch cable news anymore. Even CNN pisses me off now.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger JD said...

I've started reading again. I've finished "A brief History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. Now I'm onto "Ages of Chaos" which is a sort-of biography of James Hutton, the 18th century geologist most point to as providing the first scientifically deducted estimate for the age of earth.

I'm staying away from political books for now. A part of me doesn't want to be tainted ya know? Sounds weird but that's the way I feel, like my perspective will be clearer if I stay above the fray. All you really need to know is history and current culture. I don't need/want to be persuaded by slick arguements and cleverly disguised agendas, from either side.

Oh, and I chipped two balls in for par yesterday on that Par 3 course. Still can't drive for shit!

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger sequoit said...

Clearly there's great need for all of us to calm down after the maelsrom of opinion generated by the election. Glad to hear of your reading. I'm working on Tocqueville right now, after which I'm moving on to Blood Sport by James Stewart. Talk about ugly times, but I would say that my consciousness of the depths our politics are sinking toward was definitely awoken during the Whitewater hearings. I want to remember how these men of state thoroughly wasted years of valueable time before they come around in three years seeking the Presidency.

 

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