Posts Tagged American History

What Ails Us at Christmas Time?

Christmas is fast approaching and I am pleased to say my shopping is done and courtesy of several online retailers I have successfully avoided the stores.

Truth be told I get morose around the holidays.  Christmas seems to me to be neither a convincing religious holiday nor a pleasurable secular one and the societal “script” feels as if we’re supposed to be happy even if happy is the last thing we feel like being.  Between the conservative Christians whining that there’s a war on Christmas and that people are trying to prevent them from enjoying their religious festivities and the relentless drumbeat of corporate America trying to convince the rest of us we should bankrupt ourselves in a quest to buy the perfect present, the season seems more dreary than joyous. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thoughts on Patriotism: Our National Self-Deception Began Early

Hat tip to Ed at Dispatches from the Culture Wars for this provocative piece from historians Howard Zinn, published by Common Dreams.

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.  [snip]

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

That self-deception started early. [snip]

We see in Iraq that our soldiers are not different. They have, perhaps against their better nature, killed thousands of Iraq civilians. And some soldiers have shown themselves capable of brutality, of torture.

Yet they are victims, too, of our government’s lies.[snip]

We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

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Zinn’s call to rethink patriotism, to claim a new and different kind of patriotism, one that is healthier, more honest, than what we have seen so much in the last few decades resonates with me. Read the rest of this entry »

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