Saturday, April 14, 2007

Superpatriotism




How hype, fear, and mindless flag-waving are supplanting informed debate, commitment to democracy, and real patriotism.

City Lights Books, 2004

“In this skillfully argued book . . . with wit and humor and penetrating analysis, Parenti invites the reader to connect the dots.”

— Rufus Browning, co-author of Protest Is Not Enough

“Michael Parenti has done it again. By dissecting the imperial worldview of the people running our country, Michael provides us with all the intellectual tools we need to engage them in democratic debate and give them the spanking they so desperately deserve.”

— Kevin Donaher, Co-Founder, Global Exchange



Superpatriots are those people who place national pride and American supremacy above every other public consideration, those who follow leaders uncritically, especially in their war policies abroad. Superpatriotism is the nationalistic hype propagated by officialdom, the media, and various flag-waving groups.

Michael Parenti demonstrates how superpatriotism attaches itself to religion, sports, the military, the schools, and big business. He questions whether its top politico-economic propagators are themselves really patriotic, given how they evade taxes, export our jobs, pollute our land, and plunder the public treasury.

With incisive probing, fine style, and humorous touch, Parenti treats such urgent questions as: What does it mean to love one’s country? Why is it so important to be Number One? What determines America’s “greatness?” And are we really God's gift to humanity? He examines how US leaders and the corporate media fan the flames of fear to win support for huge arms budgets, global aggrandizement, and the suppression of political dissent at home and abroad.

Finally, he poses an alternative to superpatriotism, arguing that the real patriots are those who care enough to educate themselves about our country’s history and its present plight. He reminds us that it is not “anti-American” to criticize unjust social conditions at home or oppose global policies pursued by our rulers. Rather it is our democratic right and patriotic duty to do so.
Table of Contents

1. What Does It Mean to Love Our Country?
2. “America—Love It or Leave It”
3. The Importance of Being Number One
4. Military Patriotism: For Flag and Missile
5. “USA! USA!” Sports for Superpatriots
6. The Divine Politicos
7. Messianic Nation
8. Follow the Leader
9. Patriotic Fear
10. The Menace Within
11. Are the Plutocrats Patriotic?
12. Support Our Troops (Cut Their Benefits)
13. Rulers of the Planet
14. “Why Do They Hate Us?”
15. Real Patriotism

SOURCE

This should be required reading.

4 comments:

Scott Starr said...

What real patriots do:

Real patriots do not want to see the good name of or nation sullied ( let alone the name of God.)

Real patriots love their country enough to improve it and their patriotism has a social content- and that content is social justice (not to be confused with socialism)

Real patriots do things the "American way" - the democratic way- not with secret, crypto-fascist coteries in a national security state- but with open debate and open challenges against priveleged interests.

Real patriots know that democracy is not just the ability to hold elections- but to serve and fulfill the basic need and interests of the people.


Real patriots are also internationalists- they may love and feel attached to their country- but they also love the people of all countries- all being different representations of the human family.

Real patriots educate themselves about the real history of their country and they are not satisfied with the flag waving promo stuff- they want a "people's history" as experienced by the the disenfranchised, the everyday people, the working class and the minorities upon whose backs this country was built- not a view through the lens of multi-national, industrial wealth and corporate power and the worldly,
ruling class.

Real patriots find different things in our history to be proud of than the "Superpatriots" do- like the struggle for the enfranchisement, the abolitionist movement, the peace movement, the abolition of child labor, the struggle for collective bargaining, the extension of universal sufferage to people of color and to women, the struggle for racial justice, they eight hour work day, occupational safety, the struggle for gender equality.

In the real patriots pantheon can be found Jesus Christ, Thom Paine, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, Eugene V. Debs, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Martin Luther King and a host of others who stood in dissent to the powers that be and made indelible marks on the history of "People"... and not only those notables but the millions who raised up those leaders and brought them forth and made them national and political forces.

maxx8it said...

"others who stood in dissent to the powers that be and made indelible marks on the history of "People""......

Here is a few I have been studying of late: Osceola, Billy Bowlegs, and Wild Cat

Scott Starr said...

Chief Joseph was another of these.

Although as a Christian I have to be very careful about condoning violent conflict- there is definitely a distinction between aggressive militarism and defense- between protection/resistance and rebellion.

Most people do not clearly understand what either peacemaking or pacifism truly means.

It means not returning evil for evil. It does not mean passiveness.

Scott Starr said...

Here is a question for your consideration... this question could be plugged in to almost any post on this blog... this question is implied in nearly every thing I have presented here... this question begs for an answer...

"Right now we have most overtly religious government in a lifetime and also the most corrupt and violent - Is this a coincidence- or is there something terribly, terribly wrong with the way "religion" is used to validate human power structures?"

I am interested to consider an answer from someone besides myself.