True Patriotism

Obama's non-pinned patriotismThe Centrist recently sent me an article from Time Magazine titled “The State of Patriotism” by Peter Beinart.  The article details the differences between the conservative style of patriotism and the liberal philosophy.

Beinart did a good job of keeping to the issue and not leaning to one side or the other.  As he indicates, there is a place for both types of patriotism, but he needed to go one step further.  The true patriot is one who embodies both styles of patriotism, not one or the other.  For some reason, each side feels their style is exclusively correct and cannot include portions (or the whole) of the other.

As Beinart details, conservative patriotism is all about history and honoring those that have gone before.  The idea is we love America just because we were born here. Criticizing America is a huge taboo and dissent is seen as unpatriotic. Liberals believe that dissent is true patriotism as it identifies things America has done wrong so they can be fixed going forward, but they often neglect the positives.

A few months ago The Centrist posted an article about another Time article with a comment about how the Democratic Party has hurt itself with a “fixation on the (often spectacular) deficiencies of superpower governance while slighting this nation’s incredible strengths.”  The Centrist saw this as a very false statement. Regardless of the truth of the statement, it is a valid perception.  He accused the conservatives of only focusing on the strengths and opportunities and ignoring the weaknesses and threats, referencing a SWOT analysis.

Both points of view are correct although the accusatory nature is detrimental.  True Patriotism includes both points of view.  What’s wrong with a candidate appreciating our American Heritage, highlighting all the good this country does and at the same time recognizing the mistakes of the past and enacting legislation to correct those mistakes?  Oh yeah, that would be “crossing the isle,” and in Washington that’s pretty much treason (to your party) and political suicide.

Come on America!  Don’t buy into the one sided politics that are so prevalent today.  Let’s discard the labels of Democrat or Republican and look at the issues.  And for once, lets be true patriots and look at both sides of the issues.  That doesn’t mean we can’t form opinions that are in line with our beliefs.  It just means that we take the time to actually research things ourselves rather than listen to those around us, or even worse, listen to the political “pundits.”

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