Monday, January 27, 2003

Intelligent Patriotism

McClure's Speech


It doesn't mean you're "simply with us" or "against us".


From a speech given by Senior Associate Dean Robert McClure/Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs/
Syracuse University on February 4, 2002:

“Patriotism is too often the hatred of other countries…. disguised as love of our own.”

"Citizenship is granted ONLY by a country, a sovereign state. With citizenship….. comes responsibilities, and if we are fortunate enough to reside in a democratic country--- also enforceable rights.We may postulate—as we do in the Declaration of Independence—that our rights are bestowed by Our Creator...And are therefore universal. But the truth of the matter is that our rights are made meaningful— predictable, enforceable, useful, lasting — only by the work of ordinary men and women who make the laws and keep the order within a sovereign democratic state. Rights that are universal are imaginary ideals; lofty aspirations.
Necessary reminders..goads and prods,no doubt, but not sufficient guarantees."

"If democratic citizenship involves both rights and responsibilities, then patriotism is found on the responsibility side of the equation. Patriotism is a citizen’s duty—a debt owed—to the larger community, ….not an individual prerogative reserved for personal use. In a democracy, patriotism is part of our responsibility to protect and defend one another, because — if for no other reason than the most self-interested of reasons — it is the national community that bestows and protects our individual rights.

Patriotism is prompted in some measure, then, by gratitude. My rights are a gift,a sublime gift, from those who died on the beaches at Normandy,
in the heat at Gettysburg, in the snows at Valley Forge: an undeserved blessing bequeathed by my ancestors, who managed to keep the democratic faith, however, imperfectly.

I did nothing,.….ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to earn my rights, except for being born in the right place and the right time."

"Intelligent patriotism, then, requires constant vigilance, guarding against an overbearing MAJORITY that would falsely employ the flag to subvert our rights and liberties and to divide us into patriots and traitors.

And just as important, intelligent patriotism requires us to guard with equal vigilance against an overzealous MINORITY that trumpets an inelastic, absolute sense of individual liberties to deny us our right of self defense and our right to an unfettered display of our common, national symbol."

"We don't know where, exacxtly, to find the enemy. Or who precisely to target. Whether rooting out the enemy at home or pursuing him abroad, the means are untried and unclear. Old—well-rehearsed war plans and massive firepower seem not so well-suited to today’s shifting and shielded battlefields. And no matter what course of action is contemplated, from dropping bombs to dropping food, unintended consequences with undesirable and costly result are sure to occur. Such is the nasty business of war.

We will wage this new war (at least in one fundamental respect) as we have earlier wars—by trial and error.. hoping to muster enough good sense and good luck to muddle through today’s uncertainties..and then to do the same tomorrow..and the day after tomorrow…and on and on until some unknown exhausting endpoint.

But without a formal beginning, without specified state belligerents named in a congressional declaration, this new kind of war poses the added danger of becoming open-ended: a war without boundaries; a war without end..."
Howard Dean-His Stand on the Issues That Matter

"If this nation wants healthy adults and less expensive social programs,
we need to cut back on the empty rhetoric so prevalent in Washington
and make a serious investment in our children.
Talking about children is not the same as nurturing children,
and the American people know the difference."

Gov.Howard Dean M.D.

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