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Zoethe

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My country, right or wrong? [Jul. 4th, 2010|04:33 pm]
Zoethe
We spent yesterday evening at Blossom Music Center listening to the Blossom Festival Band (the Cleveland Orchestra minus strings, really) "Celebrate the USA" concert.

It was an event that brought home to me the dichotomy of my patriotism. I stood for the Star Spangled Banner, tearing up a bit as I always do.

But then the conductor gave his patriotism speech, which focused not on respect for each others freedom but on how we were all the united in the best democracy in the world. At the end of it, our friend Eric teased me about my "golf clap."

And indeed, I have exceedingly mixed feelings about my country. I am proud to be an American in that I believe in the principles put forth by our founding fathers. I believe in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to assemble, the smooth transition of government from one party to the other on the vote of the people, the balance of power between the three arms of government. I believe that the foundation of our government is one of the best in the world.

I also believe that we have to be constantly vigilant in maintaining our freedoms. As I've said before, I may not like what you believe, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

The problem is, there are a lot of people who call themselves "true Americans" who would, if put into power, do everything that they could to not only stop my speaking but would illegalize my religion and oppress everyone who did not think worship in exactly the same manner that they do.

It's tough to express unswerving loyalty to a country when so many of its citizens seem to have forgotten what this country is really all about.

So I stand for the flag. I put my hand over my heart and sing, tears in my eyes, for the country I want us to be. And I pray that the people who would see this country turned into a theocracy never, ever, gain control over it.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2010-07-04 08:43 pm (UTC)
You put this very well. thank you - and enjoy your holiday.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2010-07-04 08:43 pm (UTC)
Amen! (translate into your brand of religion or areligion)
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[User Picture]From: fabricdragon
2010-07-04 08:51 pm (UTC)
save me from the theocrats, and the atheocrats.

the one wants to mandate their religion only. the other wants to mandate NO religion.

sigh
the best bet is to make sure that the aggressive "my way or die" people dont have the ONLY voting block that gets up and VOTES.

last non presidential election here? statewide election of an important official? less than 12 % of the voters showed up at the polls.
guess which group was most heavily represented?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 09:06 pm (UTC)
Apathy is a great danger.
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[User Picture]From: samcallahan
2010-07-04 08:55 pm (UTC)
I'm with you, and my patriotic feelings are much the same. But the hard part (for me) is remembering that right or wrong, some of those people on the other side of the spectrum feel the same way about their religion and values. I believe they're wrong, but I do have to give their convictions the same respect I desire for my own.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 09:03 pm (UTC)
I respect their beliefs that they are right. But when their beliefs are that they are obligated to oppress my beliefs, this I cannot support. It's against the very Constitution of this country.
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[User Picture]From: jeanniemac
2010-07-04 08:57 pm (UTC)
Bravo! Its nice to know that I'm not the only one that is of two minds when it comes to patriotism. I find myself bloody well sick of what Tom Paine* called "Sunshine Patriots", people who believe only in the cause as long as it serves their needs and keeps them in control. We seem to be living in the era of sunshine patriotism, whether its the State of Texas writing Thomas Jefferson out of its history books because they don't agree with him or someone like Mike Huckebee stating that if he is elected president he will throw out the Constitution and re-write the country's laws based on the 10 Commandments. What it all means is that they don't really love this country and the values it was built on. If they did, they wouldn't feel the need to force their views upon it. It makes me very sad.

BTW, I love, love, love Tom Paine, right down to the radical buckles on his radical little shoes. He's the first true American Liberal.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 09:05 pm (UTC)
Those are the people who terrify me. I would hate to end up a religious refugee.
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[User Picture]From: shezan
2010-07-04 10:42 pm (UTC)
Mike Huckebee stating that if he is elected president he will throw out the Constitution and re-write the country's laws based on the 10 Commandments.

Huckabee (please spell it right, that may help you quote him right) of course never said that. But perhaps you feel all warm inside imagining that he did.
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[User Picture]From: sacramentalist
2010-07-04 11:09 pm (UTC)
just so we're all on the same page of "what he said/didn't say", I found this quote. I hope I copy and pasted his name right.

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.” - Mike Huckabee

So in this instance, he didn't say he wanted to throw out the US Constitution, but merely amend it to coincide with the his God's standards of behaviour.
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[User Picture]From: lordindra
2010-07-05 12:25 am (UTC)
At least he recognized that the Constitution had to change to achieve his goals.

I certainly disagree with the goal, but at least he was on target with the appropriate means.
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[User Picture]From: audacian
2010-07-05 12:09 pm (UTC)
QFT.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 11:13 pm (UTC)
Close enough.

Edited at 2010-07-04 11:13 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lordindra
2010-07-04 09:47 pm (UTC)
This is so well put.

Another thing that bothers me is all the talk about sacrificing freedom to protect security. If we do that though- what the hell are we protecting? I'm not saying that it is unreasonable to reeevaluate the proper balance between security and freedom. But the reflexive "it will make us safer" as the only side of the discussion that matters is a horrible betrayal of everything we are supposed to stand for, and if it's allowed to take root and stay there... then this isn't America anymore.

It's possible that we don't have that balance right. And it's even possible that it needs to swing further to security(though I'm decidedly unconvinced, I'm just saying it's conceivable). But the freedom side of the balance needs to be much more prominent in discourse about security matters. Terrorists certainly need to be stopped, but the "at any cost" philosophy that rose during the Bush administration is a horrible betrayal of why the United States exists.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 10:01 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you about security.
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[User Picture]From: phillipalden
2010-07-04 09:56 pm (UTC)
I consider myself a patriotic American myself, but I'm not happy about the state of my country or my state. I wrote a post about it:

http://phillipalden.livejournal.com/870525.html
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 10:11 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with you. We are too ready to give up our freedom, and too many people are ready to give up other people's freedoms.
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[User Picture]From: kythsharrie
2010-07-04 10:23 pm (UTC)
I agree. Whenever I hear of people using their religion to ban/outlaw something... I shudder. Because I'm sorry... their religion is not MY religion. If they're Christian, their faith dictates--supposedly--acceptance and love. I ain't seein' it.

So I love this country and am bitter about it at the same time.
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[User Picture]From: shezan
2010-07-04 10:41 pm (UTC)
See, many people think there are indeed a lot of 'people who call themselves "true Americans" who would, if put into power, do everything that they could to not only stop my speaking but would illegalize my religion and oppress everyone who did not think worship in exactly the same manner that they do' - except they feel they're the bunch now in power.

Relax, leave everyone be. The rhetoric may be strong, but actually it would be a tiny tiny minority who'd put this in action, either side. So your prayer? A bit grandiloquent. And mostly, happily, pointless.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 11:09 pm (UTC)
I am not complaining about conservatives; don't get defensive. I respect the true conservative opinion, which respects the rights of individual. When you consider the slipping support for abortion rights, among other things, I'm not as quiescent as you.
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[User Picture]From: ccr1138
2010-07-05 03:21 am (UTC)
I agree, Shez, but I also share Zoethe's sentiments. We must be constantly vigilant to preserve our way of life. I am an enthusiastic cheerleader for our county, but it's not without flaws. Just because I wave the flag doesn't mean I don't see that. But I've traveled to 30-odd other countries, and so far I haven't found anything to compare to the freedom we have here.

So it saddens me when people like Zoethe can't applaud patriotic sentiment. Calling ourselves "the best" country is pretty subjective, but by any standard, IMO our system still offers the most liberty and opportunity of any in the world.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-05 01:28 pm (UTC)
I do feel patriotic sentiment, but there are certain things said in the name of patriotism that make me deeply uncomfortable.
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[User Picture]From: ithildae
2010-07-04 11:06 pm (UTC)
Our country was birthed by the midwife of hard compromise. Even today, we have people that take sides with almost irreconcilable views. Every one of us is stronger for working within the framework we have and polishing our objectives. We are a stronger nation for the struggle. I, too, feel under attack, but we have a Constitution and laws that seem to help shield us from those that want us to be just like them.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-04 11:16 pm (UTC)
That's why I still have pride and hope.
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2010-07-04 11:56 pm (UTC)
Let's just hope that the good thing about this country keeps on being that those people are not in power--at least not in the numbers and with the kind of power they want.

Other Americans--very terrifying indeed.
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[User Picture]From: ronin_kakuhito
2010-07-05 02:35 am (UTC)
"when right, to be kept right, when wrong to be made right."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-05 01:25 pm (UTC)
I like that.
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[User Picture]From: ronin_kakuhito
2010-07-05 01:30 pm (UTC)
It's a "too lazy to google" continuation paraphrase from the original quote.
Ah here we are:
'The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, “My country, right or wrong.” In one sense I say so too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.'
Carl Schurz
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-05 01:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I thought it probably was, but was also too lazy.
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[User Picture]From: meyerweb.com
2010-07-05 03:11 am (UTC)
In fairness, I was also golf clapping at times, and for many of the same reasons.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-05 01:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, and understandably.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-07-05 05:18 am (UTC)
A few weeks ago, this quote floated in in one of my daily emails:

"Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, 'the greatest', but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is. -Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)"

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-05 01:31 pm (UTC)
I really like that a lot.
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[User Picture]From: audacian
2010-07-05 12:05 pm (UTC)
Hear hear!
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[User Picture]From: walkertxkitty
2010-07-06 02:05 am (UTC)
At least they DID play the national anthem :P

We went to see the fireworks shot over the oldest US city on the continent in the shadow of the only fort never taken by an invading force...and there was no color guard and no national anthem. A small snippet of it was included in their grand finale at the end of the display. ONE person in my proximity --- an elderly man who was obviously a veteran --- stood for it.

On all your other points, agreed. I love my country but I hate the way it's sometimes run and the way it's used as a platform for agendas. I stand by the flag and by the people who died for it, whether because they believed that was the right thing to do or because they were ordered to do so and bound to follow those orders.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-06 11:33 am (UTC)
Wow. Everyone stood for the anthem, and they always play a medley of all the military anthems as well. I'm stunned.
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[User Picture]From: walkertxkitty
2010-07-08 01:50 am (UTC)
Yeah. No national anthem and hardly anyone stood. I would have if I could have, but I couldn't so I just put my hand over my heart. It kind of took all the sparkle out of the fireworks, y'know?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-08 02:10 am (UTC)
Making Independence Day a secular fireworks holiday is not something I ever imagined.
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[User Picture]From: walkertxkitty
2010-07-08 02:41 am (UTC)
Me either. I belonged to a military family and there has always been a presentation of the colors and the national anthem. I'd have thought in such a historical place that they would have upheld that.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-07-06 05:52 pm (UTC)
See, I take the opposite tack on this point. When I do something patriotic, I am taking it back from those who would misunderstand.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-06 08:23 pm (UTC)
No, not a Canadian lawyer, and Ohio one.

When we go to Blossom we just take our own sweet time leaving - no point trying to fly out of there and just sit idling.
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