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Patriots … so called …”by jingo!

” Confusion of Concepts: patriotism, nationalism, chauvinism, and jingoism – The American national religion What is a patriot? And what is patriotism? “Jennifer Fackler, whose husband soon will be deployed to Iraq for the fifth time, says, ‘Patriotism means sacrifice; it means I put our child to bed at night alone; it means I spend sleepless nights by the phone.’”1 "…those goose bumps that you get on your arms during a flag ceremony." … “patriotism is honoring "the brave men and women who represent our country in the military while expressing our right to object to this war."2 “Patriotism is loving your country. Patriotism is standing when the national anthem plays. Patriotism is putting your hand on your heart to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.”3 “…Patriotism means, to me, celebrating the freedoms we have. Shedding a tear when I hear the national anthem is sung or when I sing it myself. I supported my husband as he served in the U.S. Air Force for eight of his 11 years. Patriotism then was hanging yellow ribbons on my trees while I waited for him to come home.”4 “Patriotism is not something that can be described in one word, one sentence or one paragraph. It can be described in that one moment. You know what that one moment is.”5 “To me, true patriotism is staying faithful to our Founding Fathers' dream: that all men are created equal. That governments should have checks and balances provided by the three branches of government -- legislative, judicial and the president. That there should be no taxation without representation. That there should be a separation of church and state. Free speech and the pursuit of happiness.”6 “What is patriotism? For me and my family patriotism mean sacrifice; it means I put our child to bed at night alone; it means I spend sleepless nights by the phone and I wait for letters or e-mails to tell me he is OK. Our story is not unique. We are an Air Force family, and we understand the importance of the work our military does for the world. The legacy we are leaving behind for our children is that "freedom isn't free"; it has been paid for with blood, sweat and many, many tears. As my husband prepares to deploy again next month (for the fifth time), my daughter and I will be here at home serving

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right along side other brave spouses and their children, because a family that waits also serves.”7 But is this “patriotism”? “sacrifice”… “goose bumps” … “honoring the brave men and women who represent our country in the military” … “is loving your country. Patriotism is standing when the national anthem plays… putting your hand on your heart to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.” … “celebrating the freedoms we have. Shedding a tear when I hear the national anthem is sung … hanging yellow ribbons on my trees” … “It can be described in that one moment. You know what that one moment is.” … “patriotism is staying faithful to our Founding Fathers' dream” … “patriotism mean sacrifice … The legacy … that "freedom isn't free"; it has been paid for with blood, sweat and many, many tears.” A “country” has evolved. A political state. As I am writing this I will not refer to the United States of America as a “nation”. We are not a “nation”. As a country we are a conglomeration of many nationalities and within our borders there are people of many nations. Some of which had been conquered and subjugated to the will and authority of the dominant nationalities, some of which had been historically enslaved, and still more which had been treated and tolerated as second class citizens. But we are not “one nation under god”. The idea of the “nation-state” is a relatively new concept. The reality is in this world there are actually very few true “nation-states”. We take a look at a world map and we see the various countries as they are currently delineated and we assume that within these borders peoples of essentially the same ethnicity, background and common social history defines what these “nations” are. But the fact is that what we assume here as “nations” are political states, but they are not “nation states”. Yet the idea of “nationhood” or “national identity” is a premise that the governmental powers would wish to instill into their collective people’s. But a more accurate assessment of what is attempted is in reality “indoctrination”. Consider Great Britain. There’s not actually one country here, but there are several. England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Country’s within a country. Even as we consider who are the English, and I’m sure some of my English and British friends will be correcting me here, there were originally the British and the Celts who were later forced to relocate as they were invaded and conquered by the Angles and the Saxons. And eventually the Anglo-Saxons were dominated by the invading Norman’s. But each of these people’s is a nation unto themselves. As a people group there existed a “national identity” which made one different than an other. Nationality was not a matter of choice that was a matter of what you were born into, your lineage, your ethnic heritage. And though I’ve never lived in England I know for fact that now resides a large population of other national ethnic and religious heritages then that other historically “British”.


The same essential truth is repeated all over Europe, throughout Asia, South America, North America, Africa and Australia. With very little exception there does not exist a country that truly exhibits a purely “nation – state identity”. Japan comes close. North Korea may be one where this is true. There are a few very small provinces in Europe that have been able to maintain their national state identity. But the reality is not just America, but the entire world, is a giant mixing bowl of nationalities. And political boundaries, the territories governed by the current holders of power, may well define what the political state is, but are not the holders and definers of national identity. The premise has been put forth that here in the United States America: “…true patriotism is staying faithful to our Founding Fathers' dream: that all men are created equal. That governments should have checks and balances provided by the three branches of government -- legislative, judicial and the president. That there should be no taxation without representation. That there should be a separation of church and state. Free speech and the pursuit of happiness.” But what was “… our Founding Fathers' dream?” At the time of the American Revolution slavery was dominant in the south. And when the constitution was written a slave was only afforded the status of two thirds a human being. Not too much equal there. The checks and balances of the three branches of government were not even imagined at the time of the revolution. There was no United States Constitution that any “patriot” could swear to uphold. At most a very loose “confederation” of states was agreed to, but there really was no “united states”. There were independent states joining together for purposes of their own mutual benefit, but there was no “union” or single “national identity”. Within the colony’s there were British (including English, Scotts and Irish), Germans, French, Polish, Jews and I would imagine others of European descent, and there were the Native Americans and the Africans. There were numerous national identities within each colony. Obviously the British or “English” were most dominant and it is from English common law that most political theory emerged. But it was not all the influence of British Puritanism. Among the “gentry” Enlightenment ideas were prevailing and becoming the benchmarks of what was to be set upon. “…patriotism is used in certain vernaculars as a synonym for nationalism; nationalism is not considered an inherent part of patriotism … During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, the notion of patriotism continued to be separate from the notion of nationalism. Instead, patriotism was defined as devotion to humanity and beneficence. For example, providing charity, criticizing slavery, and denouncing excessive penal laws were all considered patriotic.” 8 “The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny; flattery to treachery; standing armies to arbitrary government; and the glory of God to the temporal interest of the clergy.” David Hume "The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from the (federal) government." Thomas Paine

"Guard against the postures of pretended patriotism." George Washington “I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.” George Washington “There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom. “The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity. “This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies.” Rabbi Sherwin Wine In the nineteenth century concepts of nationhood and patriotism began to change. This was largely due to changes that were occurring throughout Europe and North America and the growing industrialization of the world markets and economy. The earlier concepts of the nation as culturally and technically derived was progressively abandoned and a more political conception adopted as it could be imposed by the prevailing majority within various geographic regions. The nation’s as we now know them were beginning to evolve and emerge. This was primarily for the purpose of governing and controlling commerce. This was the beginning of the age of imperialism on the grand scale. Virtually all European nations would make their mark on lesser developed, resource rich and politically unstable nations. Initially America was not a part of this until the Spanish American war in 1898. Although during the westward expansion of the eighteen thirties and forties and fifties war with Mexico was initiated to annex the southwestern territories of what is now the states of new Mexico Arizona Colorado Utah Nevada and California. This time in our history was referred to as our “Manifest Destiny”. “Manifest Destiny” is essentially a secularized national vision of the divine purpose entrusted to us the American people by God, as it was formerly understood by the Puritans as their calling of God to inhabit the new Promised Land and expel the Canaanites (Native Americans) and build the New Jerusalem, the city set on a hill. The

Mormons as they moved west also held the same religious vision to “conquer and civilize”. “Many contemporary notions of patriotism are influenced by 19th century ideas about nationalism. During the 19th century, "being patriotic" became increasingly conflated with nationalism, and even jingoism.” 9 “Jingoism noun EXTREME PATRIOTISM, chauvinism, extreme nationalism, xenophobia; hawkishness, militarism, belligerence, bellicosity.”10 This term “jingoism” was first used in Britain around 1870 to express a pugnacious attitude towards Russia. It later found its way into the United States around the turn of the century and journalist referred to this attitude as “spread eagalism”, referring to the U.S. bald eagle spreading its wings over a 10,000 mile area of the globe. “Jingoism” refers to a line in a British drinking song in pubs during the time of the Turko-Russian war:
We don't want to fight but by Jingo if we do We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too We've fought the Bear before, and while we're Britons true The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

The phrase “by Jingo” actually means “by Jesus”. Patriotism has been reduced to chauvinism. “Chauvinism is extreme and unreasoning partisanship on behalf of a group to which one belongs, especially when the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards a rival group.” “In "Imperialism, Nationalism, Chauvinism", in The Review of Politics 7.4, (October 1945), p. 457, Hannah Arendt describes the concept: “Chauvinism is an almost natural product of the national concept insofar as it springs directly from the old idea of the "national mission." ... (A) nation's mission might be interpreted precisely as bringing its light to other, less fortunate peoples that, for whatever reason, have miraculously been left by history without a national mission. As long as this concept did not develop into the ideology of chauvinism and remained in the rather vague realm of national or even nationalistic pride, it frequently resulted in a high sense of responsibility for the welfare of backward peoples.”11 And the contemporary concept of patriotism in America has evolved into the new (and not so new) religious expression of American nationalism, militarism and corporate imperialism. “God”, for most practical purposes is irrelevant, as secularized polity can find the concept inhibiting , but where useful the Christian god , the Jewish god or whatever god is most convenient can and will be called upon . It’s all a matter of properly gauging the audience or constituents one is addressing at the time. God is not the center of this religion, but rather the “democratic ideals” those being led can be assured are the purpose to participate in what might otherwise be an obvious
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contradiction to their religious (not national) duty, not to mention reasonable minds. God, or whatever it is that may be construed as god, has become subjugated to whatever it is that has been deemed the national priority. Such a “god” as Nietzsche observed is “dead”. Or as I personally consider, “we have become dead to god”. It all amounts to the same thing. But as long as we can hold our allusions we will continue to invoke our “deity” and wave our flags and march in our parades and bury our dead. And damn the rest we can’t see… by jingo! Mark Twain wrote: "When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen! “'O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.'” Is patriotism our new “racism”? A racism that we can all participate in regardless of our “race”? A racism that is not based on pigmentation or ethnicity or economic social status, but our need to find an “other” on which to cast all our sins. Our national scapegoat(s). “How you can win the population for war: At first, the statesman will invent cheap lying, that impute the guilt of the attacked nation, and each person will be happy over this deceit, that calm the conscience. It will study it detailed and refuse to test arguments of the other opinion. So he will convince step for step even therefrom that the war is just and thank God, that he, after this process of grotesque even deceit, can sleep better.” Mark Twain “Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether

it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Hermann Goering What is the difference between elevating "your" people or lowering their opinions of the "other" peoples? Nothing. “It appears it has always been the fashion to degrade your neighbor. It is the herd mentality I suppose to put people into groups and tally their differences and weaknesses rather than related qualities. Human beings so love to categorize, and thus racism was born…Americans are no exception to the rule. In this time of uncertainty (when have the times ever been certain?) and true barbarism, we have alienated one country at least on the one hand, and denigrated and vilified an entire culture on the other … America has no monopoly upon these (Liberty, Justice, Freedom, etc) ideals. They are the common property of all mankind yet Americans would have you believe these words did not exist until they had the world's first and only revolution and wrote the world's first and only constitution. It might irritate them to learn that a little less than four hundred years ago the English had their own revolution against monarchy, and even more surprised to find that Americans didn't even invent Democracy … And if they catch your drift but still protest, saying that all of this may be so but the founding of America was sanctioned by the Divine and is greater than all these since it is imbued with a greater destiny, we might as well sigh and ring our hands at the hope of reasoning with fanaticism. It might be remembered that Rome two thousand years ago and even closer in time, the Soviet Union, believed as much about them selves and fabricated legendary mythologies to legitimize their claims…. At its heart, patriotism is little more than a disguised form of racism in a socially palatable form. It is politically incorrect to declare racial superiority, but the pride of Nationalism is perfectly acceptable. The former threatens the social order, the latter galvanizes it; it gives the whole society a focus for their hate, an emotion, which we are often told is wrong but only for those who are close at hand never at a distance…. It is not in the interests of governments and corporations to have people just willy-nilly expressing freedom from fear and hate, for then, what need do we have for a government to protect us, or for corporations to supply us with luxuries to entertain us in our bunkers. Better to keep us apart and in our separate boxes - divide and conquer.” 12 So what is the nature of our “patriotism”? What are we really loyal too? Is it the system? Is it the politicians? Is it a constitution that did not exist when the word patriot was first acquisition as a banner to separate the sheep from the goats? Is it our economic ideology? And if it is an economic system why is that system not outlined in the constitution? Why is it that the economic system would be even more separated from our national trust (except as it may exert economic control over the system) then the concept of the separation of church and state? What is the difference between religious domination and economic domination? Who are the priests of this economy? Have we in fact been duped into worshiping new idols?

It needs to be understood, and with a little bit of investigation and research information can be gathered it is public domain, that most of the wars that have been fought, and I speak particularly of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries global wars were for economic gain in control, and even as “nations” presumed to remain neutral and out of the conflict, they were eventually sucked in, only to become all the more entangled and a greater part of the world reality that was evolving. As noble as the words of many of our leaders have been, their words and their sentiments were not the directing force to manage what they’d never had control of. There’s a time when noble words and sentiments as well intentioned as they are, and preferable the ideals, these become the smokescreen to blind the eyes of people’s desperate for hope. Not that their words should not be expressed or held in esteem, but to fail to deal with the underlying reality, preferring to pretend that it does not exist, or it really is the best alternative or there are no other choices – dooms the future of humanity to an ever increasing state of slavery. We live under the illusion that we have a democratic Republic. That is only partly true. But what is closer to the truth is that we live under a corporatized Republic. Elections and representatives are ultimately bought and sold. And even as individuals may manage to remain “clean”, the system has been bought multiple times over. The sum of all the parts is such that the machine has a life of its own. And the only thing bigger than the machine itself is the financial system that feeds it and ultimately reaps from it. In our current economic situation many would look at the Chinese and blame them. They seem to be the ones from whom our government will be borrowing the trillions to keep our economy and the system afloat, they are the ones getting all the manufacturing jobs, it would only say natural, it’s the fault of the Chinese. So we have a ready made national and ethnic group that we can vent on and if we’re lucky we can get to drop the big one. Besides defaulting on all those loans. But what we fail to see is that it’s not the Chinese, it’s not the Iraqis, the Afghans, or the Taliban, or Al-Qaida, it’s our own greed and desire for more. And because we somehow think that we deserve or can get the “more” we permit a system to flourish that is based on nothing else other than the love of money, and the power that can be realized through that. In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated. Caesar had risen to power due to his popularity with the masses. He had been a successful Roman general, conquered new territories and brought new wealth into the Republic. He survived a civil war and was eventually made dictator for life. That did not give him all power and control, but he was essentially only one step from being declared emperor. A number of senators, some would say out of jealousy, others would argue for the sake of patriotism, feared what they were sure would eventually occur and plotted to assassinate Caesar. On the Ides’ of March, March 15, ’44 BC, they assassinated Caesar in the senate chambers. There were an estimated 60 senators who may have had knowledge of the plot or were intimately involved, but it was Caesars closest associates including one Brutus, a friend, who actually carried out the deed. Over the next few years Rome was plunged into another civil war, the conspirators were killed as well as many in their armies.

Were the conspirators who plotted and assassinated Julius Caesar traitors or patriots? What decides to question? For a time Anthony and Octavian were allies as they hunted and fought the conspirators. Anthony and Cleopatra wanted to rule Rome from Egypt. Eventually Mark Anthony and Cleopatra were defeated and Octavian Caesar rose to power as the first emperor of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar was made a god and Octavian was declared to be the divine Augustus. What makes one a traitor and another a patriot? “Who won”. Prior to the emergence of the Roman Empire there had been a dominant human consciousness that perceived the world reality and truth as intrinsically tied to the culture and social reality. Though it had been evolving, it’s not like it happened all at once, for the most part humans found their station in life as it related to their culture as a whole. Individual consciousness was not highly regarded. There were few “individuals”. As a matter of political and economic realities changing, social structures crumbling, the proliferation of new ideas, philosophy’s and theologies, the thinking of man began to expand and take on a new more individual character. There was less and less of the identification of who one was with what had existed relatively stable for millennia. The empire was a Great Big world. And despite what we know of the oppression of the Romans relatively peaceful and affording many the opportunity to profit through trade and commerce. Yet there were many rebellions. Jerusalem was sacked and Judea turned into a wasteland, and 900 Jewish zealots committed suicide on top of Masada. Were the 900 Jewish zealot’s patriots or rebels? That would depend on who you ask. Today in Israel they are definitely be considered martyred patriots. But in 72 CE, they were rebels, insurrectionists. Rome was the dominant military and economic power of the time. Though as an economic power it would seem that the United States has slipped from that position of dominance considering that we have handed everything over to the Chinese so our corporations can realize a more significant bottom line. Militarily it would seem we remain at the top of the pile. Whether we will remain there or not – I haven’t a clue. But I believe over the years American priorities and interests have been distorted and in some sense perverted by our commitment to American corporate economic domination throughout the world. I realize that it is this “domination” that had benefited most of the situations of Americans (including myself) over the years. But the question is, simply because I have benefited from it does that make it right? And should I continue to support policies of my government and American corporations when I believe there’s not a mutual benefit to be received and enjoyed by others the world over and particularly with whom we do business? Should we as Americans be committed to a lifestyle and standard of living so far above (at least by our perspective) the rest of the world’s, to the detriment of and alienation of humanity around the world in general? Now, realizing that this is not a popular perspective, and I would rather see American military forces not only pulled out of Iraq, but as soon as feasible – out of Afghanistan,

and I would look forward to diplomatic talks with the Iranians (without conditions), and I believe our relations with Israel should be reconsidered and alliances withdrawn as well as possibly trade and economic sanctions considered, and more focus should be placed on improving the situation of the Palestinians within the Gaza strip and the west bank, and probably a lot more than would not suit the “cowboy diplomacy” mentality that pervades much of our nation, and considering that I consider the capitalist system as intrinsically “faulty” if not utterly “evil” and should be dismantled and reconstructed on a worldwide scale -- Would I be considered a “patriot” or a “traitor”? In all this I’m not saying I could or would do anything more than I am. Besides write and speak up where I can I know of little else that life has afforded to me to do. Like everyone else I’m just trying to survive as best I am able. If faced with unique and extraordinary situations I cannot say what I would do. Except act as best my conscience directs me at the time. What would that be? We’ll find out at the time. At the beginning of this essay I quoted a lot of generally “conservative” perspectives of what patriotism meant. There were a few that I didn’t quote that besides expressing a general support for military personnel and families qualified their position with a right to dissent government and administration policies. Though I am somewhat closer to that perspective I also believe that those who choose the military, as it is currently a voluntary decision, and though some form of military would seem necessary for the foreseeable future, the choice to become a part of it is a choice to accept all that goes with that territory . It is a willingness to kill, to obey orders, to turn your mind and body over to the will of another, and that other may not act, think and function in conjunction with a good moral conscience. The decision to accept that is a decision to be held equally accountable for all those orders executed. “He’s the universal soldier and he really is to blame, his orders come from far away no more, they come from him and you and me, and brothers can’t just see, this is not the way you put an end to war”. Buffy Saint Marie The concept of patriotism that was expressed in those first few paragraphs more than anything else, expressed a reality and manifestation of what is the American national secular religion. Though most would probably concede some faith in some contemporary religious concept of god or deity, that was not the point. And all this can be justified as natural to our human condition . The feelings, the sense of reverence and awe, the angst , that dread that you might get that one call that you hope never comes, the flag waving, the pledge, the anthems – hymns, all these are expressions of the need to justify that which you can’t explain and that to which we must attribute some divine purpose and quality lest it slip into an abyss, a void of meaninglessness. My concern is not for “my” nation. But my concern is for humankind. My god is not that of my father’s or of my ancestors that I am aware of. But my god is that which I know in me. Does that make me faithless? Does that make the traitor? Does that earn me the scorn of fellow Americans? Is my nation our government? Its national boundaries? Or is my nation that people I live and commune with? I think it is that, and governments and ancient constitutions are as outdated and irrelevant as church dogma, doctrine and creed seventeen and 1800 years old and questionable as to the spiritual

significance and to validity contained therein. Essentially, bound by documents so far removed from contemporary experience, realizing these to be only the product of human minds wrestling with their own agendas, there comes a time major renovations are in order, and it is better to consider these and work towards a more perfect “constitution” relevant to not only our countries collective vision but in conjunction with that of the world. We are not an elitist people, and we’re not an elitist “nation”. It is time we mature as a “nation” and grow out of our infantile, childish, adolescent, youthful immaturities. More often than not as an adult that means you don’t get it your way. But a mature adult can be content and satisfied with who they are. I suppose that’s my definition of patriotism.