January 11, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v74)

I am wondering, this Wednesday, about the meaning of 'patriotism.'

As we get closer and closer to the end of the Obama years and the onset of the Trump years; after a long, emotional campaign; after a sharply divided election resulting in an unequivocal majority win in electoral votes on one side and an equally unequivocal popular vote loss on the other; after a season of protests using the national anthem as a vehicle for free speech, it seems from my social media feeds that many people have had enough.

They don't want to talk about it anymore, they don't want to think about it anymore, and they don't want to hear about it anymore. Period. For some folks, this means very visibly proclaiming their 'independence' from political discourse; for others, it's become a 'patriotism thing.'

I'll paraphrase a whole bunch of posts into one, so you can get a sense of what I've been seeing. The comments below do NOT represent any individual's opinion; rather, it's a string of statements that have appeared on multiple platforms, posted by multiple people, from all across the political spectrum.
You people need to suck it up, you lost, time to get over your bad self and get with the program. I don't like Trump any more than you do. He won. We have to support him for the good of our country. I have always been a patriot. I fly the flag. I love my country. If you don't support our President you are not a patriot. I love my country. You don't. Why do you want him to fail? We have no idea what he's going to do. We need to wait and see but he's making good decisions with his cabinet so we need to give him a chance. No one complained about Obama until he deserved it. I always stand for the National Anthem. We need to pull together for the good of the country. Support the president that's what we're supposed to do. Come together for the good of the country. Be patriotic. I am a patriotic American. It's time to move on. Screw you. All you do is spread lies.You don't know what you're talking about. I respect the President no matter what. I respect the office, not the man. I'm sick and tired of this. I'm done. You're blocked.  
 That's it in a nutshell --  and it's one heck of a nutshell, isn't it?

love for, or devotion to one's country. 

I wonder, is a person who disagrees with what President-elect Trump says he believes in, or with what President Obama says he believed in, less devoted to their country than someone who agrees with Trump or Obama? 

And how is disagreeing with people who disagree with you indicative of not loving your country?

devoted love, support, and defense 
of one's country; national loyalty

Is a person less loyal to their nation, I wonder, for questioning their leaders (or their friends) on, say, equal rights for all people? Climate change? Where the US embassy in Israel should be located? Protecting the right to vote? Whether fracking causes earthquakes in Oklahoma? The value of public education? What marriage needs? Where personal accountability comes into play?

How are those questions ascribed a degree of loyalty that is somehow less than the degree of loyalty ascribed to a person who questions nothing? 

And how does a person declare they are a better patriot than the next guy, anyway? I don't know how that works, I really don't. 

Finally, thinking about the hundreds of comments I've seen from people I know and from people I've seen commenting on various threads since even before the election, I wonder why we don't take a page out of our third president's book:

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics,
 in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.

Me neither. 
~Sue Drummond