7/03/2005

On Patriotism and Parenting

From Armando's story Daily Kos: Patriotism

The conservative writer stated that:

The best way I can illustrate this disconnect is to liken the relationship to the parent/child relationship. One set of parents has a child that goes through some unruly years as a youth. The child raises Cain, gets involved in drugs and crime, and grieves the parents deeply. And yet, the parents continue to love and encourage their child to do better. With time, the child grows into a responsible adult, a loving husband and father, and responsible member of the community. For the first set of parents, all of the hell-raising of times past are forgotten in the joy of what their child has ultimately become.

We'll call these parents "conservatives."

Then, there is another set of parents who have a very similar child. Every small misstep the child makes throughout life is criticized harshly. The child is frequently told not only that their actions are bad, but that they are a bad person. When the child goes off to raise Cain in early adulthood, the parents disinvite them to holiday dinners and make it clear that they're not welcome until they straighten up. When the child finally does straighten up, the parents grudgingly accept it, but continually bring up the sins of the past at every proud moment in the child's life. We'll call these parents "liberals."

Do both sets of parents love their children? It's certainly possible that that is so. Is it harder to tell in the case of the "liberals?" I'll leave that question to you, dear reader, to answer for yourself.

The absurdity is patent and was completely exposed by this reply:

First off. I appreciate the effort. Obviously, I would prefer a post describing how ridiculous and unamerican it is to question other people's patriotism based on political disagreements, but I do appreciate the insight.

Let me see if I get this straight.

We liberals are the strict parent that doesn't let the kid get away with anything, while conservatives are the forgiving, enabler parent who lets the kid screw up for a while, confident that the kid will mature into a productive person.

Is that an accurate summary?

. . . As a liberal I don't sit around and think about the trail of tears a whole lot. The liberal habit of bringing up past transgressions is more in response to what we see as blind patriotism. I know I have no time for blind loyalty. The U.S. is not a sports team. Neither is your political party. Real people get killed, or starve, or get sick when nations make mistakes. So loyalty for loyalty's sake is out of the question for most liberals.

I love my country. But I cannot enable it to do harm to others out of love. If my kid grows up and is an evil little s***, I am not doing him or anyone else any favors by supporting him no matter what.

I'll go one further, to not speak out when the US, on the path Bush has taken us, hurtles toward a catastrophe in the making that will lead us to a place where we lose the greatness of the United States of America, now that would be unpatriotic.

We MUST, as good Americans, speak out against that we know is wrong.

And we do. And we will.

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