Saturday, January 16, 2010

 

Patriotism & Patriot Day

I was having a conversation with a man today who marveled at how often the most exploited people are the quickest to put hand on heart and wave the flag. I agreed and noted that the mistake many people make is to conflate the country with the government. Rulers like us thinking that way but the country is simply not the government nor is the flag the government has chosen to represent the country necessarily worthy of allegiance, especially in a country like the United States of America where there is not a democracy but rather a representative oligarchy—where 'our' elected officials, in actuality, represent powerful elites. Below are some further musings, if you will, on patriotism, by Leo Tolstoy and the US Congress.

Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most unquestionable significance is for the rulers nothing but a tool for attaining their ambitious and selfish ends, and for the ruled a renunciation of human dignity, reason, and conscience, and a slavish submission to those who are in power. Thus is patriotism actually preached, wherever it is preached. ... Patriotism is slavery. —Leo Tolstoy, "Christianity and Patriotism," The Complete Works of Count Tolstoy, Vol. 20, (D. Estes & Co, 1905).

(a) Designation.— September 11 is Patriot Day.
(b) Proclamation.— The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation calling on—
(1) State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities;
(2) all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States and interested organizations and individuals to display the flag of the United States at halfstaff on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001; and
(3) the people of the United States to observe a moment of silence on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001. --36 US Code § 144

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Comments:
Patriots Day is April 19th... Commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord.. stealing that title for use in some rah rah Bush scheme insults the contributions of those real patriots the day is supposed to be honoring
 
Your point is well taken but to call Patriot Day a "Bush scheme" belies the fact that the resolution that created it (House Joint Res. 71 of the 107th Congress) had bi-partisan co-sponsorship and unanimous support in both houses of Congress.
 
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