Right, left, right, left, right, left... give it up already.

Lucas Gonze lgonze@panix.com
Tue, 21 Jan 2003 14:08:35 -0500 (EST)


In a way, though, this accusation means that you're not really following
the conversation.  I'm not trying to get John Hall to agree with me or
vice versa (right, John?), I'm digging around in a specific set of ideas.

Notice the ad hominem attacks I'm attracting, which show that the
'antiamerican' hook goes straight down the well into godwinland.  How come
so many completely sensible and non-bloodthirsty people (e.g. gojomo) buy
this hook, then?  That's what interests me.

I mean, I really want to know.  Since September 11 I've done an enormous
amount of thinking about patriotism.  I want to know what's in it aside
from grade school piety.  Do I have it?  Damned if I know.  So when I bug
people to say what anti-american means, I'm actually asking a question.  
I absolutely believe that some people who find meaning in the phrase have
enough self awareness to help me find out what they mean.

Interestingly, maybe, if you can stand to listen to it, I have found some
kind of meaning in it.  Patriotism means community to me.  It's a way of
expressing _shared_ quality of life.  It incorporates my high school
burnout pals, the muggers, the cool Dominican guy next door in my
apartment building as well as the wacko Puerto Rican lady downstairs, and
maybe even the local politicians on the hustle in the Jamaica Plain Dunkin
Donuts.  But I don't have a simple and clean way of articulating that, and
certainly not one that simultaneously negates the toxic jingoism and love
of bullying that emanates from god-guns-and-guts machismo.

- Lucas