The Suitcase Lady


July 2, 2019, 9:38 pm

Note: Although I purposefully do not venture into politics in my weekly blog, I make one exception each year during the week of the Fourth of July.

“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Samuel Johnson
“Patriotism is your conviction that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it”. George Bernard Shaw

Although these quotes are witty and insightful, I believe that patriotism can be a positive value. For most of my life, I was proud to say, “I’m an American.” That is not to say I have been unaware of my country’s faults. Japanese Americans were in internment camps when I was born, Joe McCarthy was destroying lives with his lies about a red scare when I was in grade school and the Civil Rights struggles were waged when I was a young adult. Yet with all our faults, I never doubted that America was always slowly moving forward to higher ideals. I never doubted the basic goodness of most Americans. Until now.

At this dark moment in American history, I believe Americans do have a patriotic duty. That duty is to squarely face the fact that our country is no longer a democracy. We will not be able to reclaim the vision of our founders if we are in denial that our democratic principles are being egregiously eroded every day.

The list of assaults is devastating: refugees fleeing tyranny are being treated like criminals, corporations are writing the laws of our land, the Citizens United decision allows politicians to be bought and gerrymandering is allowed by the highest court in our land. These are not the hallmarks of a Democracy.

One of the wisest observers of the American scene, Alexis de Tocqueville, said, “The greatness in America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather, in her ability to repair her faults.”

We have much to fix. Patriots (not the scoundrel and flag-waving variety) are needed.

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