Friday, July 04, 2008

What is Patriotism?: The word patriotism comes from the Latin patria which, of course, means country. Patriotism has come to mean love of country. But what does that mean? To be sure patriotism in Russia or Syria means something quite different than it does in the United States. Why? It does, it seems to me, because the tenets by which our nation functions bestowed by history to which most here subscribe are wholly different than they are in many other countries of the world. Love of country, in my opinion, means more than simply a love of this government or that which happens to occupy the seats of power. Love of country, I believe, means love of those rights and responsibilities which are enumerated Constitutionally and without which we would be subject to the abuse of government. Love of country means something different than love of the government. Patriotism to me means MONITORING the government watching ever vigilantly how it uses the power the governed bestows upon it. It means loving not the particular government or its policies but loving the FORM of government which our prescient Founders and men of the Enlightenment carefully crafted and which they hoped would last.

That form of government encompasses many things. Love of that form of government for me is the essence of patriotism. I love our freedom to speak, to write, to worship (or not), I love being able to petition the government for redress of grievance, I love habeas corpus so that the whim of some government cannot simply lift you from your home whisk you off to a place unknown to do as they wish without bringing you to a court to give you the opportunity to state your case and provide you with a defense, I love that government troops cannot be quartered in one's home, I love that we are free from government intrusion without cause in our personal life, I love our trial by jury, I love our separation of powers and the specific construct of our government. Love of our country means loving all of that because, in short, THAT is what our country is about.

Those precious rights so many take for granted are now under assault. Men of this particular government have sought to use this moment in history with all its attendant fear, to ignore those rights which are the foundation of all things patriotic. We MUST be vigilant. It is our duty to monitor tyranny when we see it. To do anything less is NOT patriotic. Benjamin Franklin when asked what form of government the Founders had constructed said: "we have a republic IF you can keep it." Patriotism is, it seems to me, making sure that we do.
FISA Ferment: We have only two candidates from whom to choose. The presidency literally can mean the difference between life and death in our nation and, indeed, in the world. Whether it's a national health care plan we so desperately need as a nation, the absence of war we so desperately need as world citizens, environmental clean-up we so desperately need as a planetary civilization, a Supreme Court which will ensure individual rights over corporate rights, racial fairness over subliminal racism, the right to choose what we do with our own bodies, the right to determine whom we want to love and with whom we share a life and yes, the sanctity of our civil liberties over unbridled power and because of a thousand other issues, we must, even though we may not like a few specific policy points, avidly support the election of Senator Obama. We must, as difficult for some as it may be, ignore a few disputed issues because we support his position on many other issues. Not to do so is to divide us and ensure the election of John McCain. We MUST NOT do this. The stakes are too great and our civilization is at risk. More of the same McCain is UNACCEPTABLE. I can live with the few policy issues with which I may disagree because I AGREE with so many others. If John McCain is elected I will agree with none. The choice is ours. The choice is change NOT more of the same. To me it's that simple.