You’re not a patriot unless you fly the flag. Or, flying the flag has nothing to do with your true love of the USA.
You’re not a patriot unless you support war. Or, being bloodthirsty and wanting to see American troops in harm’s way is very unpatriotic.
Numerous threads have questioned, tangentially or directly, posters’ patriotism when they espoused certain views. This debate is: is there an objective standard for determining patriotic, and, if there is, what is it?
Here’s my take: I agree that this land is made up of many viewpoints, many political theories and beliefs. And the genesis of those views has always been America’s unique strength. So, in general, I’m hesitant to label any disagreement or contrary views as un-American.
But I also think there’s a limit. For example, Jane Fonda’s conduct during the Vietnam War, in which she openly derided the American combat troops, called them baby-killers, allowed herself to pose and be photographed in a North Vietnamese AA gun turret, and may even have turned POW’s notes, given to her in secret, over to POW camp commanders, goes well beyond any stretching of the defintion of patriotism that’s reasonable. I would argue that even if, in her heart, Ms. Fonda’s actions were motivated by a sincere desire to make America better, the methods she chose ruled out any chance of her being called patriotic.
I would also argue that the line can be drawn much further back than Fonda. I agree that healthy disagreement and discourse are uniquely American, and we should never completely silence those who have merely unpopular views.
But I also have a firm conviction that there is a time for discussion and a time for decision. Once the decision is made, even if you personally disagree with it, there is a value in unity - in tempering disagreement and showing solidarity.
In practice, in the wake of last week’s disasters… I’m not so sure how I believe this theory should translate into reality. Thus… this thread. Your thoughts are welcomed.