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patriots

Americans are lovely people and some of the individuals I most admire are from that country. Yet there can be a tendency for navel gazing when you hold the levers of world power and I still bristle when I hear some Americans use the term “American exceptionalism” because I don’t think it is a correct vision.

Even the evening news tends to be America centric and, unless you watch BBC America, NPR or PBS you will get a very parochial vision of current events. This is not that surprising when you have grown up during an era where the United States has wielded so much power and holds so much political sway which can only encourage the kind of myopia that could tempt some to think America can do no wrong.

Much of the rest of the world sees The United States as a benevolent giant who can also at times be brash and arrogant. Some of its citizens are more apt to fall for the jingoistic slogan of “America love it or leave it” which has become the clarion call of conservatives who can support someone like Trump despite his glaring inadequacy to hold office.

But I prefer to believe that a healthy cynicism is never a bad thing which is why I will always favour patriots like Noam Chomsky (who is able to look realistically at the foibles of the nation) over Fox News sycophants who spew falsehoods to uneducated and incurious viewers.

As a young immigrant to Canada I grew up on American television and can recite some of the sequences of those shows by heart; such was the cultural influence on me. Yet I have grown to have a love/hate relationship with our neighbor to the south and to view some of the more disappointing happenings as part and parcel of being the big kid on the block who is most often used to getting his way.



Comments

  1. Your observations are accurate and mirror why I don't support "patriotism."

    I was affected deeply by growing up in a rare period of social upheaval (the Sixties) when it was briefly popular to criticize the government and believe that political (and social) dissent are proper activities. Jingoistic chants ("USA! USA!") offend me.

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    Replies
    1. I actually think that the sixties possessed a healthier cynicism towards government and the notions of patriotism were being examined much more closely. Today we are getting a population that doesn't question enough and swallows things before using enough discernment...

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    2. I also grew up in the sixties and recall how much crap that was thrown at those who questioned government and authority. For me it was cool to be a hippy but for my parents and the rest of The Establishment we were going to win in Vietnam or die trying. And die, too many did.

      I don't think it does much good to compare the sixties with today. I agree with you both that the US is in trouble. Patriotism is a poor excuse for digging ones head into the sand. Sure, we all favor our home teams and that's fine, but we also have to see ourselves with a realistic perspective.

      Unfortunately it seems that we are losing our way. Maybe we were spoiled by too much success. As the Chinese say, the first generation makes the fortune, the second lives off of it, and the third squanders it. I'm afraid the nation is in the third generation.

      It seems so obvious that many are fooling themselves that Trump et al will turn back time and restore jobs such as coal mining, manufacturing assembly, etc. That said, though, we have trusted that the powers that be are serving all instead of feeding us a line of BS while lining their pockets with gold.

      I wish I could be more optimistic. I am afraid of how much more damage Trump can do. I'm equally afraid of Pence should Trump leave the office. And I am deeply concerned that the Democrats are not providing a vision out of this mess. Maybe that's because it's impossible? Hopefully it's because we need a leader, a real one.

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    3. I am afraid that squandering earned capital is a large part of what is going on Emma and those in power are taking advantage of the population's lack of militancy to control far too much of what is going on. Just look at the voting percentages as proof of the disinterest.

      The masses have been lulled into mass consumption and are not realizing how much the income gap is making for a tenuous situation which can only lead to disaster in the long term.

      The problems can be repaired but it will take an awakened attitude away from distractions and to the matters at hand which would include readopting basic values of love of neighbor which I think many Americans have lost. The idea of unified communities fighting for a common and healthy existence has been lost in favor of "let me get mine"

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