Friday, September 21, 2012

Defining Patriotism

We have, for the most part, utterly redefined “patriotism” in this country. About 1% of the nation still defines it as joining the military and accepting inconvenience, hardship and risk of death to defend his nation. The rest define it as letting someone else do that for him and voting for the politician who promises to give him personally what he wants to have for himself.

Thus we have campaigns aimed at “focus groups,” with speeches about the “Dream Act” when speaking to Hispanic groups, about Social Security and Medicare when speaking to seniors, about wages and unionism when speaking in factories, etc. We have pundits opining that gays and lesbians will vote for Obama because he has now embraced gay marriage.

Think about that for a moment. I’m 70 69 years old, and I’m supposed to be perfectly okay with Obama killing people all over the world, not on any battlefield, without even knowing who they are but based merely on what he perceives as suspicious acts, because I think he will protect my Social Security. The government can engage in a lengthy list of heinous acts, and I’m supposed to vote for its reelection as long as it preserves my Social Security. And, yes, my experience suggests that a good many voters actually take such a position.

For several months I have been engaging in discussions online where the topic is the electorate “voting in their best interest” or wondering how anyone can vote for Republicans when it “is against their interests” to do so, and in those discussions suggesting something along the lines of,

Personally, I am opposed to the whole concept of voting for one's own personal interests. I believe that it is the responsibility of the voter to examine the spectrum of the candidates' views and proposals and to vote in the best interest of the nation as a whole. The nation is bigger than one person and social responsibility requires that one put national well being ahead of personal comfort and even personal safety. Only a small percentage of modern society does this, by joining the military or similar endeavors, the rest vote for the candidate who promises to give them what they personally want.

Not one single time have I met with any acceptance of that concept, and I have been the target of considerable hostility as a result of posting it. We are, I am told in no uncertain terms, a nation of individualists, and the only reasonable way to vote is for whatever best serves the individual who is casting the vote. I sometimes get reminded in a rather snide manner that the 1% rate at which people join the military is why we call it an “all volunteer” military, which illustrates that my point missed the mark by a very wide margin.

I keep getting reminded; we have precisely the government we deserve.


bruce said...

I for one do agree with what you are saying. The trouble is you have to take the good with the bad, as no candidate is 100% perfect. But you weigh the pros and cons and do the best you can - for the state /country as a whole.

Ken Hoop said...

I believe the technical term for what your are describing is atomization. The US citizenry has been ethnically and socially atomized by an oligarchic Elite, itself dominated, however by an exception (for the transient time being.)

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