Former Army Major Danny Sjursen, a frequent contributor to Popular Resistance, urges people to consider themselves citizens of humanity and not of a nation. Sjursen is the author of "Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War" where he defines patriotism as wanting the country to live up to its aspirations, that dissents from the United States when it is wrong. When a country becomes an empire, Sjursen says it is our patriotic duty to dissent. Sjursen discusses three types of patriotism. Principled participatory patriotism takes the same sense of duty to urge the United States to become a better place that lives up to its values. Even the small numbers of people who take dissent as a role of patriotism have an impact on the direction of the country. Dissenters range across the political spectrum from libertarians to anti-imperialist leftists.
As the Fourth of July rolls around, I think plenty of us are eager for barbecues, corn on the cob, watermelon, and fireworks, but our feelings about our country are somewhat more complicated. How do you love and celebrate a country that’s so obviously flawed? A country that’s currently committing atrocities against innocent children? Is criticizing America unpatriotic? Some would say it is. I say no. For me, loving this country means making it better. It means taking a good hard look at our mistakes, learning from the ones in the past, and correcting the ones in the present.
In a 4th of July special, we take a look at what America is – the good, the bad and the ugly – the real shit and the real people fighting and building beyond the confines of a capitalist empire. Coz inside these walls – of an empire dying, we can keep rising – we can aim higher than just getting by and we can steal hope – from a hangman's white rope – we can build dignity in the halls of a capitalist divinity – we – can move past – the blame game and masturbatory shame. We'll wrap it all up in a firework musing that goes quite well with sparklers and watermelon.
The latest results are based on a June 1-13 poll. When Gallup first asked the question in 2001, 55% of Americans said they were extremely proud. After the 9/11 terror attacks caused the public to rally around the nation and its leaders, the percentage expressing extreme pride in the country increased to 65%, and went up further to 70% less than two years later. By 2005, about the time George W. Bush was set to begin his second term in office and the U.S. was going on its second year of military involvement in Iraq, the percentage extremely proud to be Americans fell to 61%. It held in the high 50% range between 2006 and 2013, but has fallen at least marginally each year since 2015, about the time the 2016 presidential campaign was getting underway.
These facts, and many others, are cataloged in a new book by Steven Brill about America’s gradual decline over the last half-century. Brill has been writing about class warfare in the US since 2011, and the picture he paints is as depressing as it is persuasive. The book argues the people with the most advantages in the American economy have used that privilege to catapult themselves ahead of everyone else, and then rigged the system — to cement their position at the top, and leave the less fortunate behind. I spoke to Brill about how this came to pass, why the American dream has vanished, and what it will take to undo the damage that’s been done. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.
By William Boardman for Reader Supported News - The flag is a symbol, and there is no agreement as to what it actually symbolizes. By design, the flag’s thirteen stripes stand for the original 13 states, none of which would ban slavery. The 14th state, Vermont, was the first state to ban slavery, doing it weakly in its 1777 state constitution (not that the principle was enforced: in 1802 the Town of Windsor sued a State Supreme Court justice to get him to take care of an elderly, infirm slave he had dumped on town welfare; the town lost the case). The original flag had 13 stars for those same original 13 states, and it took over 70 years before all 36 stars in the 1865 flag represented states without slavery (but not states without racist Jim Crow laws and the freedom to lynch without consequence). The colors of the stars and stripes had no meaning in 1777, when it was adopted, as distinct from the colors of the Great Seal that did have meaning. Then there’s the Star Spangled Banner, written by a slave owner in celebration of the defense of a slave state in a battle against the British. The British force included a contingent of former slaves who were promised freedom if they fought for the British. How many people at the beginning of a sports event understand “the land of the free and the home of the brave” in its deepest historical irony?
By Kevin Basl for Other Words - Americans repay our veterans poorly if we don't use our freedoms to question our wars. In Dryden, New York, a proposed solar farm recently caused a stir. Thousands of solar panels — enough to power 7,500 homes — are scheduled to be installed near a rural cemetery in the town. Some opponents complain that it’s disrespectful to the veterans buried there. Energy and environmental considerations aside, what does it mean to respect our deceased service members and veterans? We visit their graves, to ensure their small flags stand upright. We grieve during “Taps.” These activities are healthy. But true respect — the kind someone who gave their life in service deserves — begins with learning from our country’s mistakes, not ensuring a scenic resting place. It’s easy to forget that memorials — gravestones, ceremonies, monuments — aren’t deceased persons themselves. Rather, they’re sacred markers for the living. They provide a space for public mourning, and they teach history. Memorials can be spontaneous and unique, or they can become so commonplace that we no longer experience them meaningfully.
By Claire Bernish for Activist Post - President Trump has declared today, May 1, Loyalty Day, a day also dedicated to international workers’ rights, in what sounds on first impact to be an Orwellian holiday dedicated to love of one’s country — with all the mandatory overtones one would expect, given the current divisive climate present in the United States. May 1, the president declared, should be a day “for the reaffirmation of loyalty” to the United States; and that fealty to this nation — obedient citizens are encouraged to display the Stars and Stripes — should usurp any recognition in unison with some 80 or so other countries of the struggles faced by workers around the world. For as frighteningly nationalistic as the name implies, Loyalty Day is not Trump’s brainchild. In fact, once Loyalty Day garnered congressional approval in 1958, the oppressively patriotic holiday has been officially proclaimed by every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959 through Barack Obama — Trump just carried on its pretext “intended to replace” International Workers’ Day.
By John Dundon for Long Island Press - Two Copiague high school teachers kneeled in protest during the Pledge of Allegiance in class on Friday before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, sparking an internal investigation by school administrators, the Press has learned. The two teachers who took a knee during the morning announcements were identified as long-time social studies teachers, according to sources with knowledge of the protest. The incident outraged some in the community and is expected to be among the subjects discussed at the next Copiague school board meeting. “The district is aware of an incident that occurred Friday morning involving two high school staff members...
By Julie Turkewitz for The New York Times - AURORA, Colo. — Vicqari Horton dropped a knee to the grass. The varsity choir piped out “The Star-Spangled Banner.” And in the bleachers at a sun-soaked football stadium here on Saturday, parents clenched their teeth in anger or raised their fists in support. “You can’t continue to slap people in the face and not expect them to stand up,” said Mr. Horton, a junior tight end at Aurora Central High School who is black and began kneeling during the national anthem at games in mid-September.