I didn’t have much to say on or about July 4th, for a lot of reasons that are difficult to articulate effectively. (At least not without offending somebody.) Fortunately, I don’t have to via The Blue State I came across this Washington Post column that pretty much sums up why I don’t have much to say on July 4th or holidays like it.
Have you ever noticed a certain hesitant quality to the expressions of patriotism by progressives or left-wingers?
The patriotism of the conservative goes unquestioned. It’s assumed that every politician on the right will wear a flag on his lapel and effortlessly hold forth on ours as “the greatest country in the history of the world.”
… But the progressive and the reformer have a problem with what passes for unadulterated patriotism. By nature, the reformer is bound to insist that the country, however glorious, is not a perfect place, that it is capable of doing wrong as well as right. The nation that declared “all men are created equal” was, at the time those words were written, the home of an extensive system of slavery.
Most reformers guard their patriotic credentials by moving quickly to the next logical step: that the true genius of America has always been its capacity for self-correction. I’d assert that this is a better argument for patriotism than any effort to pretend that the Almighty has marked us as the world’s first flawless nation.
The thing is, in post-9/11 America almost nobody wants to hear that there’s much of anything that still needs correcting, that the country isn’t perfect, that it’s ever been wrong, or that the mistakes of the past are still with us in many way. So, I’ve learned to zip it on holidays like July 4th, Thanksgiving, etc.
Maybe it’s because folks like me rush in too quickly with critiques. ignoring the admonishments that “now is not the time.” Post-9/11, the sentiment that greeted anyone with the temerity to suggest that some “self-correction” might be necessary was usually along the lines of “love it or leave it. My own take on that has always been “love it or change it.”
Whatever my criticisms, I still think this country has a better than average chance of being the country many already declare it to be, and of realizing the high ideals of its founding documents (even if those ideals were in short supply when those documents were written — see, there I go again). I haven’t figured out how to get that across. So, sometimes I just keep quiet.
Fortunately not everyone does. My admiration for Sen. Russ Feingold went up during the Senate wrangling over the FMA, when he stood up against the amendment. When I saw his new PAC represented at YearlyKos, I went up and asked the guy at the table to deliver my personal thanks to the Senator. I meant to post a link to Progressive Patriots Fund after that, but it slipped my mind until now.
The Progressive Patriots Fund is dedicated to promoting a progressive reform agenda and supporting candidates across the country.
This organization enables me to be a part of a larger national effort to build the Democratic Party throughout America. I am able to travel across the country, listen to others, speak out on important issues and advance a progressive reform agenda.
I hope it works.