Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Patriotism: Voting or Dropping Bombs?

Author Michael Parenti's 2004 book, Super Patriotism, brings up that old argument of just what patriotism means. In the run-up to the Bush War on Iraq, lots of people were flying flags from their cars and houses and they plastered bumper stickers on their car bumpers to show their support for 'the war.' Americans seem to love wars.

They also seem to know just what patriotism is. When I was standing on the street corners protesting the up-coming war, lots of people rolled down their windows and told me about it. Some did it silently with a hand gesture; some did a double.

Not too many flags flying from cars these days in northwest Ohio and those bumper stickers have fallen off mostly. Not too many yellow ribbons on trees either. Apparently we have fallen out of that kind of patriotism for now.

In his book, Parenti lists these subjects that I find interesting:

What Does It Mean to Love Our Country?
“America—Love It or Leave It”
The Importance of Being Number One
Military Patriotism: For Flag and Missile
“USA! USA!” Sports for Superpatriots
The Divine Politicos
Messianic Nation
Follow the Leader
Patriotic Fear
The Menace Within
Are the Plutocrats Patriotic?
Support Our Troops (Cut Their Benefits)
Rulers of the Planet
“Why Do They Hate Us?”
Real Patriotism

I'm mostly interested in his last topic, 'Real Patriotism.' I think we saw that on 'Super Tuesday' all across America. Millions of citizens took time to vote; that is the essence of genuine patriotism. It didn't matter for whom they cast their vote, it was the act itself that ought to be lauded. Record numbers turned out in state after state. I think I know the reason for that 'surge' from the people. I suspect it is because of what didn't happen in 2004. And what happened in March 2003 when we were roaring Patriotism from the rooftops.

Americans getting involved in selecting their leaders is one of the best examples of Patriotism that there is. We ought to have bumper stickers available to slap on that say, "I did my patriotic duty: I VOTED!"

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