Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And with that out of the way.

Now that I've given the Republicans the Nelson Muntz laugh, I'd like to be serious for a moment.

I'm not certain where we're going from here. Politicians on the national stage don't like to talk about pride in their country as being conditional, but I'm not bound by that limitation. Pride is like forgiveness. If given out universally, without regard to to circumstance or reality, it has no meaning and it loses its value.

I haven't been proud of my country for the past eight years. Horrible things have been done in our names by worse people and the populace has stood idly by as the very foundations of our Democracy have been eroded. The United States has embraced fear. It has embraced mindless faith. It has embraced anti-intellectual thuggery. It has embraced torture, preemptive war, internal espionage, loyalty oaths and countless other terrors. And along those lines it has embraced the most shallow and subservient form of patriotism.

It is this patriotism that demands we 'support the troops' by not questioning their orders. It is this patriotism that says that the US is the Greatest Country On Earth(TM) regardless of its many failings. And it is this patriotism that finally failed.

I don't know what the future holds, but I know this: For the first time in a long time I am proud of my country because for the first time in a long time my country has done something to be proud of.

There is going to be a long road ahead. We have to rebuild and repair the damage done. There are criminals who need to be captured and punished and I hope that there is a will do so. President Elect Obama is not a perfect man or a perfect candidate but he strikes me as the right man for this time. It is cliche to evoke Kennedy here but I can't help but do so, perhaps in the vain hope that my generation will mean something the way the youth of that age did. If I even qualify as youth anymore.

True patriotism is bittersweet because for all of the swell of pride, it doesn't allow you to succumb to the easy high of tribalism and exclusion. There is responsibility there and the knowledge that maintaining this pride is not an easy path. I know now, however, that there will be millions on that same path with me.


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