Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Patriot or Citizen?

I just finished reading a book about the WWII battle of Stalingrad. It wasn't a great book but it affected me. I've read thousands of pages about WWII and this book reminded me once again of the horror of war.

How many died? Perhaps 750,000 of all nationalities -- a mind boggling number.

I'm always amazed that a small group of politicians can deceive, manipulate, appeal to blind patriotism, cajole, threaten, intimidate and finally gain power and start wars. Though there was violence used in Hitler's rise to power in the end the Germans voted to give him the power. Germany was a center of the Reformation and home of some brilliant and ethical men and women. A huge percentage of Germans were church members.

I often question many things but one thing that I do not question is whether there is a difference between Germans and Americans. There is not!

What happened in Germany can happen again -- even in the US.

I am not a patriot. I refuse to be a patriot. I choose to be a responsible citizen. As such I must and will question and challenge the US goverment regardless of which party is in power.

Citizenship is uniting. Patriotism is divisive.

Citizenship is responsibility. Patriotism is the beginning of evil.

Citizenship seeks to build. Patriotism seeks to destroy.

Citizenship appeals to people's best traits. Patriotism appeals to people's worst traits.

I am a veteran, the son of a veteran and the father of a veteran but I am not a patriot.

I am a citizen filled with humanity that I refuse to sacrifice on the altar of patriotism.


Blogger anonymous julie said...

I am glad you take some time to describe the qualities of a citizen, because I might assign all those qualities to a patriot and call myself one. An acquaintance would describe what you call "patriot" instead as "nationalist". It doesn't so much matter what we call it as that all understand what is meant; labels are sticky things.

There might be elements of action that are similar to each other, however, I do not believe there is a similarity in the motivations and intentions of the leaders you mention. There are many criticisms that can be made of the current administration - but I do believe there is a lack of malice toward other peoples... unlike my perception of the Nazi regime.

As always, enjoying your thoughtful writing.

1/30/2006 12:57:00 PM  

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