Blind Patriotism

I love my brother, but two more disparate siblings, you’d be hard-pressed to find.  David is someone who believes wholeheartedly in America and everything “she” stands for.  But I’m guessing it’s more what he thinks America stands for, based on the propaganda we’re all fed.  He’s said, on more than one occasion, that anyone who doesn’t like how this country is run needs to get their derriere out of it (of course, he uses stronger language than that) 😉 .

I, on the other hand, see that we are a flawed country.  How can we not be?  In relative terms to most countries out there, we’re a mere toddler in years.  And, I’m not saying that we’re the only flawed country, or that all other countries are better, but I think our collective arrogance that “America is the BEST!” keeps us from learning from other nations and how they do things.

I’m not even talking about how they’re run; though I do believe many of them have MUCH more freedom than our government claims we have.  Even with areas like transportation and public services, we have a lot we could learn from them.

I remember my first trip to London, and how amazed I was at the inter-connectivity of their transit companies.  The Tube especially was very clean (in most places), quick-running, and quite comfortable.  They were also amazing at communicating when the next train was coming by, or if there were any delays.  I’ve seen the transportation companies here in the Bay area start implementing the time updates, which is great, so maybe some of the other big cities here in America have begun to adopt that as well, but we still have a long way to go in regards to cleanliness.

Or how about public toilets?  Over in Europe (at least, the cities I’ve visited), they have public restrooms all over the place.  Yes, you have to pay to use them, but the cost is minimal, and worth it.  By paying to use the toilets, you’re assured that they’re safe–because there’s usually an attendant on premises–and they’re always clean–again, due to said attendant.  This would also give jobs to people, which is great for the economy.

But getting back to the subject of patriotism . . .

I think it’s wonderful to have a strong love of your country, but too often I hear that sentiment shouted from people who have never stepped foot outside of the one they live in, to see what lies elsewhere.  When someone like that says that their country is the greatest ever, my first thought is “How do you know?”  How can someone possibly know that something is the best, without first checking out the other possibilities?  Why would you even say that without more information?  Just because your government tells you so?

That sort of blind faith bothers me, in any capacity; whether it’s religions, countries, artists, idols, or whatever else we decide to put such a strong belief in.  If you’re taking what someone else says as a truth, then you’re doing yourself a disservice, especially now that we’re in the information age, where verifying anything is as simple as turning on your computer and Googling it.  Unquestioning acceptance is what caused generations to be shocked to their very core when they found out about President Nixon’s involvement in Watergate.

I think many of us born after Watergate have no illusions that our leaders are corrupt in some way, shape or form.  Which is why it scares me when someone from my generation (or later) still has such a dedicated loyalty to a country whose hypocrisy and law-breaking ways are so obvious.  Do they see it and just refuse to acknowledge the wrong doing, or are they simply not paying close enough attention?

To further show the difference between my brother’s beliefs and mine, I will admit that I believe in several of what gets termed “conspiracy theories” about our government.  I believe, without question, that our leaders had knowledge of the events of 9/11, and may have even had a hand in them.  I believe that they are building super computers with the intent on spying on everyone in this country, if they haven’t already (which completely violates our basic Fourth Amendment rights).  I believe that–while our government still says we’re the Land of the Free–more and more of our freedoms are either being taken away, or at risk of that, “for our own good,” as our leaders would have us believe.  That America seems to be backsliding into our Puritanical origins is quite apparent to me.

I’m not saying that other countries’ governments don’t do these same things; they might, for all I know.  What I’m saying is that it’s necessary to keep your eyes and ears peeled, and not to take every factoid you’re fed as truth; even the conspiracy theories.  I don’t believe all of them that I hear, and I prefer to do my own research to find out what both sides are saying on the matter, before deciding what I believe.

How could I not?

As an update, I was just shown this clip from the new show, The Newsroom.  I wholeheartedly applaud the speech, and Aaron Sorkin for writing it, and Jeff Daniels for his delivery.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dolly Chamberlin
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 05:53:33

    From someone who worked inside the political arena (a place I never want to experience again), I must agree. Many Americans close their eyes to a multitude of questionable happenings, & blindly follow what they want to believe is true. I believe something catastrophic will have to occur before the current structure of our government changes. I can dream. )


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 08:19:53

      I’ve said for some time, mom, that we’re ripe for another revolution, so maybe that’s the “catastrophe” that will help change things.

      Thanks for stopping by today.


  2. cminichino
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 08:01:50

    You don’t have to have traveled extensively to agree with you, Alyx — maybe not the specific theories, but certainly in principle. Also, what’s worse to me, is that we’re becoming the American Idol country, where intelligence, experience, and depth no longer matter. It’s all about the glitz. People are rewarded for being “brave” enough to perform before they’re ready; kids “graduate” from preschool just because they attended; and it seeps into our government.

    I could go on!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 08:22:48

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, Camille. I’ve seen more & more rewarding of people for less & less. And the fact that our TV programming is slanting toward the “reality” shows scares the crap out of me. Not only is this seeping into our government, but it’s sucking the intelligence & self-responsibility out of our kids.

      Yes, we could discuss this topic for hours, but I’m glad you came & put your two cents in today. 🙂


  3. Bette Golden Lamb
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 08:53:23

    I agree completely with your blog. America is a great country, but has much to learn about helping the people that live here, or fostering the culture and arts that keep us vital.
    This is a subject that we could discuss for days, but your blog is a good beginning..
    Keep up the good work.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 09:05:42

      Thanks, Bette. I try to stay away from controversial topics, but was just compelled to write this one.

      You made a good point about fostering culture & the arts, too. We SORELY need those things to be cultivated again, not removed in the name of “progress.”

      Thanks for visiting.


  4. Dana Fredsti
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 09:50:57

    Raising a glass of wine to you (or will when I get home ’cause it’s only 9:50am, I’m at work and have no wine, more’s the pity). I’m so with you on all of this.


  5. Terry Shames
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 11:22:14

    Love this post, not just for its content, but for your bravery and putting it out there. I was reading the comments without paying attention to who wrote them, and ran across one that I thought, “How smart. Who is this?” Our beloved Camille, of course!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 12:23:18

      LOL Yep, Camille made some very good points. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Terry. And yes, I was a little anxious about posting it, for the controversial content. So far, so good, though. 🙂

      And thanks to you for visiting today.


  6. Maddy
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 17:05:33

    I’m not really qualified to comment as an expat. I complain while I’m here but that’s because I’m so good at it. Then, when I go and visit the UK I become all defensive about the States. The thing that annoys me most is the question, ‘but don’t all Americans…….’ fill in the blank. It’s the diversity that defies pigeon-holing.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 18:14:11

      I agree, Maddy. Any sort of blanket statement like that is quite unfair, but it’s not only Americans that get pigeon-holed like that. Doesn’t excuse it, but it’s still there.

      And, I think you’re qualified to comment, seeing as how you live here. Being an expat might make you even more qualified, since you’ve lived through governments in different countries.


  7. cminichino
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 20:38:59

    Clearly this was a needed topic, Alyx. Thanks for the posting (and thanks for the good word, Terry!)


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