Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My patriotic heresey

One of my Facebook friends today (2/22/15) posted a piece comparing former New York Mayor Rudy Giulian to the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy for his remarks about President Obama not loving America and apparently questioning Obama’s patriotism.
Not being a patriot, even though I spent 20 years in the U.S. Military, I had a different reaction to the Giulian statement. All the discussion in the media about the incident inspired me to put in writing the thoughts I have had for years about patriotism.
I could start the discussion with what love of country means. But, that would require a lengthy discussion on what exactly we mean by love, followed by a discussion on exactly what we mean by America. Any talk about loving America, must include more than geography.
I don’t think I love what I think Obama has in mind when he says he wants to transform this country. Obama probably doesn’t love what I think about when I imagine what America should be. So, I will focus on patriotism, which is an emotionally charged word that politicians use to make young people willing to put their lives at risk in war and to make old people willing to sacrifice for political ideals.
Patriotic Germans killed millions of Jews. Patriotic Communists of the former Soviet Union sent thousands to the Gulag and killed hundreds of thousands more.  Patriotic soldiers who fought with George Washington killed Red Coats and patriotic British soldiers shot back.
Patriotic emotions induce soldiers to fight for their country “right or wrong,” and keep them from making moral judgments about what they are doing.
People who think about the moral justification of a war sometimes wind up as conscientious objectors. The conscientious objector does not bother me nearly as much as the unconscientious participant. The unconscientious participants sometimes wind up gassing Jews or beheading Christians.
Were I young again and knowing what I know about what is going on in the Middle East, would I volunteer to fight against ISIS? Yes, not because I am a patriot, but because people I care about, Christians, Jews and others are being slaughter by religious patriots.
I don’t love America so much as I love liberty where ever it can be found. When something threatens my liberty and the liberty of my family and friends, I am willing to wage war. Religious patriots have declared their intentions to kill infidels who won’t convert, to conquer Rome and to bring Sharia law to our White House, and they are taking actions to implement these things.

ISIS threatens my liberty which I do love and the liberty of my grandchildren. They are every bit the menace to liberty that the Nazis were in World War II. Read “What ISIS really wants” by Graeme Wood in the March 2015 issue of The Atlantic if you need convincing.
It doesn’t bother me that modern progressives might not love America in the same way Rudy does. They do love what they think it should be.  What bothers me is that they don’t seem to care about liberty. Daily I read about some new limit or restriction they want to place on some aspect of our lives.
As a side note, my 20 years in the military do not make me a patriot. I served, as I am sure many do, for mercenary reasons. I joined the Air Force for four years at age 18 because it looked like adventure and an easy way to escape a controlling mother; purely mercenary reasons. (I know it is ironic to trade a controlling mother for an even more controlling drill sergeant, but young people make mistakes.)
Twenty years later, I began a 16 year stint in Navy and Army reserve components because it looked like adventure on someone else’s dime, and it proved to be so; purely a mercenary reason. I remained a reservist until age forced me out because it was a handy part time pay check with retirement and medical benefits; again purely mercenary reasons.
So, you can thank me for my service, as seems to have become customary, but the truth is, I benefited a great a deal from it and continue to do so.

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