Tuesday, July 26, 2005

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Patriotism vs. Nationalism

Digby wrote about patriotism on Monday; he said that it wasn’t about fighting wars it was about love of country. I wanted to take this a step further because I believe that our current war in Iraq has been sold to the American people, by the Bush government, using the antithesis of patriotism: nationalism.

Patriotism is based more than on love of country, not that I think Digby was limiting himself to this; it is what we base our love of country on. It is a love of freedom, of equality, of fair play, and of who we are striving to be as a collective people. It is our willingness to speak out against injustice that makes us patriots. It is our willingness to sacrifice that makes us patriots. It is our willingness to fight for another’s chance to strive for a life free from a concentration camp, and other such grave injustices that makes us patriots.

It is not the flag waving, yellow magnetic ribbons stuck on the bumpers on our cars that make us patriots; in fact many find those symbols offensive in their very overtness. Yet, when the WMD did not materialize in Iraq, it is this very cord that the Bush government played to in the American public. It is not justice, or there would not be torture and indefinite holding of prisoners. It is not sacrifice or there would not be tax cuts. It is not willingness to fight or our military would not be facing such a shortage, and we would be making life better and safer for the Iraqi people, not more uncertain and giving them a state of civil unrest and constant war.

Yet, if we do not agree with the Bush government then we are with the terrorists. We are traitors, even those that serve and have served honorably in the past. There are plenty of flags waving and plenty of yellow magnetic ribbons, but if you ask someone why they support the war the logic of patriotism breaks down to nationalism, and nationalism is a dangerous ism indeed. It truly is as I said above the antithesis of patriotism; where one serves to promote growth and good in a country the other usually leads to its downfall. The war in Iraq, is unjust, was based on half truths and lies, and now continues not based on patriotism but nationalism, no good comes from such wars and never has.