I was talking to some people in a chat room earlier today, and the topic of Iraq/Osama/Bush etc, came up. I said my bit (and I think you all kinda know where I'm coming from - and its NOT the far left ) and then some guy called me "unpatriotic". Now the fact that I'm Australian makes this interesting and I had to go to great lengths to explain that I wasn't being unpatriotc because America isn't where I come from. According to him, wherever you are in the world, if you don't support the President of the USA, you're unpatriotic.
Then I started thinking about the concept of patriotism and wondered what other people thoughts were. Here are some interesting ones:
• “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.”-- President Theodore Roosevelt, 1908
• “A true patriot would keep the attention of his fellow citizens awake to their grievances, and not allow them to rest 'til the causes of their just complaints are removed.”-- Samuel Adams, 1771
• “…[T]he government is merely a servant— merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.”-- Mark Twain
• “If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag; wash it.”--Norman Thomas, Presidential candidate in 1932
• “The last 3 years have shown, you can ignore politics, but politics won't ignore you.”-- Jay O'Connell, MikeHersh.com, 10/2/03
• “Unless the people, through unified action, arise and take charge of their government, they will find that their government has taken charge of them. Independence and liberty will be gone, and the general public will find itself in a condition of servitude to an aggregation of organized and selfish interest.”-- President Calvin Coolidge
• “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.”-- Albert Einstein
• “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”-- Edward Abbey (1927-89), author
• “You do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.”-- Vaclav Havel, first President of the Czech Republic
• “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."-- Edmund Burke (1729-1797), British statesman
• “Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism are all too frequently those who . . . ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism -- the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought.”-- Margaret Chase Smith, the first senator to speak against Senator Joe McCarthy's contention that anyone who criticized him was "aiding the enemy."
• “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”-- Margaret Mead, 1901-78
• "The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution."-- John Adams, 1818