Monday, April 21, 2003

On patriotism...

The war in Iraq appears to be winding down. With it, hopefully will go the overzealousness that attacked people's patriotism if they held an unpopular view, especially one that opposed the war. It's something we've seen again and again since September 11, and Americans everywhere owe it to themselves and their countrymen to recognize it not as true patriotism but as a simple and terrible exploitation of our own fears.

At best, such actions and attitudes display both a shallow understanding and a shallow application of this country's ideals. If our forefathers had approached their lives with the timidity and intolerance for different lines of thinking we show today, we would still be a British Colony. An American patriot must embrace truth whether he likes that truth or not, must embrace freedom of speech and thought whether or not he agrees or even understands what is being expressed, and must entertain---if he wishes to survive--a healthy distrust of those in power. To do otherwise opens the door to dictatorship, no matter whether it's cloaked in the Flag of Iraq or the Seal of the United States of America.