Friday, August 20, 2010

And the Winner Is . . .

It was roses, roses, all the way,

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.

The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,

The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,

A year ago on this very day!

--An Old Story
, Robert Browning

Our belated recognition of the winner in our
"What Is Patriotism?" contest goes to . . .

Sheerahkahn, for his thoughtful conclusion that
a patriot is "someone who is willing to move on from the old into the new."

For his recognition that true patriotism is not static and requires the patriot's evolution in order to best accommodate the dynamics of his society, he is invited to trot over to Ranger Andy's (
here) and choose a prize. Use it in health, Sheerah -- whenever you are feeling like some solitude even whilst among the masses (of your fellow patriots.) All except the most foolhardy are guaranteed to cut you a wide berth when you don your award. [Let us know your choice @]

Runner up
is publius for: "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."

Honorable mention
goes to basilbeast and mike, who recognize flabby patriotism as a sort of clannish affiliation-by-proximity sans reason, and one which is possibly xenophobic.

Thanks to all for doing your patriotic duty.


  1. I am saddened by those who think that patriotism is a good thing.

  2. and I am honored


    how's the vacation?


  3. Ael,

    While patriotism (or any passionate feeling -- feigned, imagined or real) may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, patriotism per se is not a dirty word, IMHO.

    Do you not have a favorite sports team, or cuisine, or any other affiliation or affinity? I say, vive la difference! The problem is not in fellow-fellow, or sentimentality, but in using those things to bad ends. Absolute homogeneity is not a reasonable nor laudable goal in itself; I believe humans will always affiliate.

    The thing that makes patriotism (or any passion) benign is love and compassion. Without those, patriotism (and most other things) can become hideous.


    I am enjoying seeing the lovely scenery, and having a respite from the wilting FL summer.

  4. The whole point of patriotism is to enable millions of people to attempt to kill millions of other people for no more reason than the colour of a ribbon.

    Everything else is just lies and window dressing.

    To the extent that there is anything good about it, it contains a connection to our common humanity and does not stop at some arbitrary line in the dirt.

    Go look at how patriotism enabled WWI. See how it enabled Iraq and think about how beautiful it is.

  5. kill millions of other people for no more reason than the colour of a ribbon

    Ael, are you a fan of Babylon 5? They had an episode illustrating just that exact point you made.

    However, patriotism does have its productive and decent purposes.

    Lisa, any lovely shrubbery from Roger, on 2 levels with a path between?




  6. I have been inside the Douaumont Ossuary, near Verdun. It contains the bones of 130,000 unidentified soldiers (more than 2 Vietnam's worth of American KIAs) Surrounding it are graveyard after graveyard of those that they *could* identify. Not to mention the half million or so who were merely maimed.

    I don't believe any purported decent and productive purposes patriotism might have, can make up for that one building alone. If you add in the rest of WWI, WWII, Napoleon, various revolutions and civil wars, etc, etc, it become ridiculous to think that patriotism is a positive force.

  7. Lisa:

    Mine was not an official entry - it was more like a shamefaced confession. So I am afraid I must reject your honorable mention.


  8. What you write is true, Ael. But there are many positive aspects of patriotism when the citizens of a country feel that its their duty to work for each other and the benefit of all. Like anything else, the concept of patriotism has been subverted for evil. As for instance, when you pour religion into the mix of patriotism and nationalism. When this happens, patriotism easily becomes a tool for any heretic to promote religious and cultural hatred.

    Franklin Graham recently disgraced himself in this way. Here's the link:

    As I grow older, I find more reasons why it's a good idea to keep religion out of political life. Franklin's dad Billy found that out during the Nixon years; it's way past time his boy Franklin discovers that truth as well.


  9. I forgot to add this bit of trash:

    For the past several years, two U.S. Army posts in Virginia, Fort Eustis and Fort Lee, have been putting on a series of what are called Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concerts. As I’ve written in a number of other posts, “spiritual fitness” is just the military’s new term for promoting religion, particularly evangelical Christianity. And this concert series is no different.

    On May 13, 2010, about eighty soldiers, stationed at Fort Eustis while attending a training course, were punished for opting out of attending one of these Christian concerts. The headliner at this concert was a Christian rock band called BarlowGirl, a band that describes itself as taking “an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God.”

    Any doubt that this was an evangelical Christian event was cleared up by the Army post’s newspaper, the Fort Eustis Wheel, which ran an article after the concert that began:

    “Following the Apostle Paul’s message to the Ephesians in the Bible, Christian rock music’s edgy, all-girl band BarlowGirl brought the armor of God to the warriors and families of Fort Eustis during another installment of the Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concert Series May 13 at Jacobs Theater.”

    The punishment for choosing not to attend, according to one of the soldiers, was this:
    We were to be on lock-down in the company (not released from duty), could not go anywhere on post (no PX, no library, etc). We were to go to strictly to the barracks and contact maintenance. If we were caught sitting in our rooms, in our beds, or having/handling electronics (cell phones, laptops, games) and doing anything other than maintenance, we would further have our weekend passes revoked and continue barracks maintenance for the entirety of the weekend.


  10. AEL,
    Possibly you are mistaking nationalism for patriotism.
    The two are not the same.

  11. So Jim, can you see a difference between the patriotism so prevalent today and religious zealotry (on the part of both christians, muslims and others as well) that we also see?

  12. wourm:


    Ael said,

    "The whole point of patriotism is to enable millions of people to attempt to kill millions of other people for no more reason than the colour of a ribbon.

    ...I thought that was the point of religion?


    I've seen a few Roger the Shrubbers...:)

  13. Oh wow...well, thank you, though I had no idea I would even be close.
    I did peruse the ISoDV and it's pretty nice, though a lot of the material there seems geared towards vets...of which I am not...but I do like one item...I like the "pray for our troops" which is something I do...pray for them to come home, one and all!
    Just add gmail"dot"com to my sn.

  14. "All Israel has a share in the World to Come..." (Sanhedrin, 11:1) Quite possibly the most revolutionary statement ever uttered by a man. I think immediately of the Patriarch Jacob and the particular way he blessed his sons. The words resonate throughout space and time.

    " is stated: `And your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever. They are the shoot of My planting, the work of My hands, in which I take pride.'"

    Blessed is he who comes indeed in the name of the Lord.