An open letter to the primary candidates- incidentally to our sitting President, as well.
We have some issues here to focus on in this election cycle. Jobs, regulation versus environmental protection, the economy. The role of government in creating jobs or commanding the economy. The role of corporations in job creation and commanding the economy (sorry, guys, but that's even worse than the government- corporate "persons" have neither patriotic, nor philanthropic reasons to do anything for the US citizenry as such.)
We're Americans, we can, have, and will argue endlessly on these issues.
But all of you have lost me on one crucial topic.
So I ask you, each and every one-
What is patriotism? How would you answer that in an interview?
How can you demonstrate your own patriotism, civic virtue, and sense of duty to the nation?
What is civic nationalism? Why is it important and how does it differ from ethnocentrism or "national party" versions?
Why do you feel it is your own patriotic duty to stand for election to the office of President of the United States?
I'll be down at the local VFW post 1002 in Fallon, Nevada when you want to come talk about it.
I'm nobody. I don't think the candidates will see this. I certainly don't expect an answer. I'm a knifemaker, a father, a veteran, and a patriot. That's all I am. I'd like to see and hear you - those who do see this- asking these questions, though.
I will tell what I think- my answers.
Patriotism is defined simply by a dictionary as "devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty." (dictionary.com)
Mirriam Webster states that the synonym for patriotism is nationalism. (this is wrong)
Samuel Johnson, in probably his most famous quote, stated "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." (He was referring to a false- and loud- psuedo-patriotism which translates to "what I want is patriotic. If you are patriotic, you must agree with me.")
George William Curtis wrote: "A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. "
And, because it's sort of the opposite of Godwin's law to bring up The Man- George Washington stated: "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. "
Patriotism- possibly only in the US, but certainly in the US- is more than a sense of loyalty to a nation. It is a sense of loyalty to our principles, beliefs, and methods of increasing liberty. With that loyalty comes the civic virtues of responsibility and duty to promote, defend, and enhance these principles.
Nationalism is, perhaps, related. But it is certainly distinct and is commonly used negatively. I believe this is due to a lumping of things like ethnocentrism, fascist Party nationalism, and such with the American civic nationalism.
In the United States, nationalism traditionally has not been state-centric. That is to say, our nationalism doesn't tend to promote the State over the Citizen.
Nor is our variety of nationalism limited to a particular ethnic group or specific religious flavor.
Our nationalism, our particular civic variety, rests on the idea that we, as citizens of a nation that we own- or run- share a common identity as a beacon of liberty.
The Declaration of Independence is one of the leading documents defining civic nationalism.
"We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states...."
The representatives, with the authority of the people.
Our "statism"- our nationalism- is based on this simple premise. The authority of the citizens.
I can't answer why it is anyone's patriotic duty to seek a presidential nomination- I have no desire to seek such a thing, myself. But if the desire is not flowering out of the basic sense of civic virtue, then we need to worry.