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Patriotism: Words Of Wisdom



"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.' You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.

Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free." --President Shepherd in the movie "The American President," 1995, script by Aaron Sorkin.

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it." -- Edward R. Murrow.

"Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive." -- Henry Steele Commager.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." -- James Baldwin.

"There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.

This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies." -- Rabbi Sherwin Wine.

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." (1918) -- Theodore Roosevelt.

"Patriotism does not oblige us to acquiesce in the destruction of liberty. Patriotism obliges us to question it, at least." -- Wendy Kaminer.

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." -- William O. Douglas.

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” -- Edward Abbey.

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” -- Mark Twain.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 8th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
WOW!
(Anonymous)
Apr. 8th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
That Sinclair Lewis quote is one of my favorites ever.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 10th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
You've got a great collection of quotes there!

(lisa @ Midwestern Mommy)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )