My little Speech on Patriotism
My July 4, Speech on PatriotismThe last person in my family to serve in the Armed Forces was my Uncle Jack during the Korean War. He suffered a skull injury but fully recovered.My Dad's side of the family fled Finland to avoid being compelled to fight for Sweden around 1809. They came to America by 1900.My Mom's father was in the Navy during WWI as a telegraph operator (he was the very first in the U.S.).Mom and her two sisters joined the Women's Army Corp during WWII.My parents were Blue Dog Democrats. (They'd vote for a blue dog before they would a Republican.)I was reared with a strong sense of Patriotism, respect for Government, and a sense of "My Country: right or wrong."Guess what?Yeah. You know already.My best friend, Johnny, derailed all that. Johnny was a Jehovah's Witness.It was a religious cult - but thought it was about God and teaching my fellow humans how to avoid Armageddon.That's on me.It was a slow process of gradual indoctrination - and I didn't give in without a fight. But - I became a Conscientious Objector and I did end up in Federal Prison.You know that already about me.___AFTER WWII endedThe fight against Communism "by any means necessary" was the beginning of the end of Patriotism because our Government officials began lying to the American people so as to be able to get into wars (thought necessary) and still appear to be a bright beacon of human decency, a shining city on the hill.JFK was persuaded by his military advisers to invade CUBA.That was called "The Bay of Pigs" fiasco.(Our military double-crossed the Cuban insurgents we were invading with and no Air-Cover was provided.)This drove Castro to seek help from the "other" super power, the U.S.S.R. Soviet Union.That was called the Cuban Missile Crisis.I was in the 9th grade.Simmering on the back burner was VIETNAM.America was lied to about that for a long, long time by our top leaders.The "Domino Theory" was behind it all. If you allowed one small Indonesian country to fall to Communism, the whole world would follow.The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war.In 1982 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., inscribed with the names of 57,939 members of U.S. armed forces who had died or were missing as a result of the war.America never lost a battle in that war - but - America lost a generation of Patriotic kids.Now here is my point, read it carefully, please.IF I HAD NOT MET JOHNNY, I would have gone to Vietnam.(several of my class mates in High School served. One close friend perished. Bill Borders, may he rest in peace.)I may or may not have died but I would have done so as a true Patriot.Unless . . . I became disillusioned by the pointlessness and waste of human life.I shall never know.I said all the above to say this:You can be a PATRIOT and still mistrust your lying government, forked-tongued National Security Agency, politicians, and partisan News outlets.Yes. How?Love your country, the fantastic diversity of traditions and nationalities, and the charitable impulse to care for others.I fully support our young men and women in the armed forces but distinctly disapprove of the wars they are sent to die in.You can call that dysfunctional patriotism, if you like.Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somaliaare foreign countries crawling with American C.I.A. "advisers" and a helluva lot of our troops.You didn't vote for that and probably know very little that's true about the why and wherefore.BE PATRIOTIC - just don't be gullible.End of July 4th speech.
I wonder if the Israelites were patriotic? Aren't JW's proud of their "spiritual nation"?
There's all sorts of ways to look at the phenomenon of Patriotism.
There is probably a survival instinct at the bottom of it.
MY TRIBE against the WORLD is an eventual problem, however.
"We" are always right - no matter how wrong.
The logic being: if we don't have our OWN, what do we have?
Animals in Nature certainly maintain solidarity against the "other."
We are (hidden atavistic-ally within us) animals too.
Friends before strangers.
Bros before Ho's. (Oh - I think I've gone too far. Sorry.)
I may not approve of every single thing about this country. I may show some serious opposition to some of the detestable leaders and the things that are being done. But don't EVER tell me that I don't love my country. It's because of my patriotism that I feel the way I do; I hate to see some of this nation's highest principles being trampled on by greedy, self-serving politicians of any party.
Whatever happened to actual dialog between people with opposing views? Informed debate, the highlights being made public. Not this knee-jerk pablum, designed to manipulate an ignorant public.
The truth is out there and if you know what you're doing you can probably find it. But there will be resistance to the re-telling of it.
Thanks for writing, Terry.
Thanks, Terry -- always appreciate. Btw, great painting/style of flag -- who is the artist? I love the Jasper Johns' flag paintings and the one you posted is beautiful.
The Vietnam war was a tragedy, but it helped produce some bloody great music. I have a playlist of Vietnam era songs that I listen to regularly. It's my way of not forgetting, I suppose.
I've never been much of a patriot I was 10 years old when JFK was assassinated looking back to that age you might say the public schools indoctrination didn't make that much of a impression on me. Vietnam war I didn't want to go luckily I got reclassified 1H(by the draft lottery) and didn't have to go.
I respect the government that I live under the same as I would if I was from another country but no real deep patriotism. Reading 'Man Without A Country' in 10th grade didn't phase me in the least.
I enjoyed your speech, Terry. It seems in this day and age that many people are confusing patriotism with Nationalism. A very slippery slope indeed. Nationalism is a corrosive, collectivistic, polarizing ideology that can destroy a nation. Patriotism builds up the individual and his country but not at the expense of creating and enforcing 'tribalism'.
I can't wait to see&hear Trump's special 4th of July speech to the nation will it unite or confuse ? Will it be from the heart or carefully scripted?
The flag artist is Steven Lester: