Logic and Life 101

An open mind and a hole in the head are not the same thing!

The slimy undercurrent of “patriotism”

These days I seem to be seeing a lot of racism and bigotry sliming its way into the popular mindset disguised as patriotism. Here’s an example: I was recently sent a forwarded e-mail that started:

All My Patriot Friends. We all need to be aware that we live in the greatest nation the world has ever known but because of that too many of our citizens are sheep swiming in a sea of apathy. These citizens have had life so good and ordered that they refuse to believe history and chose to ignore warnings that history teaches us are in our future based on the tendencys of mans nature in the past. If you are a student of history you will know that man there are men who strive to rule and control his fellow man. We have such a man in the white house now and he and his fellow conspititors in congress are attempting to do that to OUR REPUBLIC and it’s people….[sic]

It goes on, but you’re already starting to get the gist of it. Ignoring the spelling and grammatical errors that hint at the originator’s intelligence level, it starts with flattery (We’re WONDERFUL! Just ask us!) but quickly devolves into fearmongering (Watch out! We might not be so great if you don’t do as I say!) and a political/racial attack. It continues, evoking Eisenhower and the Holocaust and of course building into a case for hating Muslims and Obama with wild accusations and innuendo that implied that the Holocaust was actually perpetrated by Muslims (!!!) and Obama is one of them and trying to control us all!!! Danger, DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! (If you don’t get the reference, look it up! What, you expect me to do everything for you?)

Well of course I had to respond, so I wrote:

Let’s not forget it was a CHRISTIAN who was responsible for the Holocaust: “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work…Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . we need believing people…My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.” These are the words of Adolf Hitler, a lifelong Catholic Christian, and sound suspiciously like the words used against Muslims today. The problem is not Islam, or Christianity, or Judaism, the problem is faith and bigotry, it’s hating someone because their beliefs differ from yours. I suggest everyone watch this video of an America soldier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akm3nYN8aG8

Hate begets hate. We cannot defeat terrorism by becoming terrorists. Yes, I agree, we should NOT be burying history because it offends someone, be they the Muslim or the Catholic denying their connection to terrorism and hate. We should NOT be burying our own country’s sordid history of genocide against this land’s natives or the slavery condoned by churches here in the South. Are you willing to forward this too, or are you just going to repeat the cycle of hatred?

To his credit, he responded: I JUST POSTED THAT ON MY FACEBOOK FOR EVERYONE TO SEE… YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT…

I’m not sure where I know this person from, so I’m not sure if I caused a major conversion in thinking or he just noticed the undercurrent of racism and bigotry in the forward after I called it to his attention, but in either case I’m betting there are plenty of people out there who wouldn’t care anyway. And that just scares me. These inter-religious feuds and fanatical atrocities have been happening for centuries, and even if you accept the basic premise of patriotism – that you somehow should assume that anyone who lives near you is right and anyone living further away is wrong, regardless of the facts – patriotism should not be an excuse to automatically hate other people.

To me, a true patriot thinks independently and decides what is best for himself and his country, and works peacefully and ethically to advance those goals. He (or she) does not seek to encourage hatred or violence, both of which are costly overall to the race as a species. He makes decisions based on facts, evidence, and logic, not on fear or prejudice, or faith. But that’s just me. What’s your definition?

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