Some Thoughts on U.S. Citizenship and Patriotism
The U.S. is always going to be a collection of cultures and sub-cultures.
We will never become homogenized into some sort of bland, monochromatic singular American goo. (Amitai Etzioni is wrong.) That is because freedom never completely redirects itself back into what is mainstream, traditional and conventional. That’s just not its purpose and its just not that interested in it. Freedom is experimental, adventurous, creative and must test the boundaries. It cannot and never will be based in allegiance to any type of hierarchy.
Freedom was born in rebellion and rebellion is in its blood.
Thomas Jefferson thought we should have a good rebellion every 20 years or so.
He saw it as cleansing. He was one of the few forefathers he did not look in absolute terror upon democracy and people power. Jeffersonian Democracy was a general vision of the states as mechanisms of experimentation and locally centered empowerment of citizens.
Yet too many still have fear of protests, riots, marches in spite of the fact that our very Bill of Rights protects our right to these — especially when things go wrong.
Why are some afraid of such demonstrations? Because it represents the power of people unified across all kinds of conventional boundaries and differences, which takes away power from people in government telling us what to do, reducing the legitimacy of their offices and jobs. This is particularly true for agencies of law enforcement. I think this is because when people are so unified it is much harder to make the case for a society in constant peril, that we should be afraid of our neighbors, especially the ones that don’t look or talk like us.
To me being a real American means overlooking the differences in how people look, walk, talk, dress, believe, paint their houses or any other superficial thing or matter of personal preference.
None of these things threaten my identity, safety, freedom or personal integrity.
How is it we have allowed politicians and agencies of power to pit us against each other in fear and maintain a low level suspicion of each other?
Crime has been down and decreasing for decades. Haven’t you noticed?
Because we wanted a government big enough and powerful enough to keep us safe from ‘them’ (whoever that is) while complaining about the evils of big government when it benefits someone else.
A government big enough and powerful enough to keep us safe from ‘them’ is strong enough to lie to us, propagandize us on an ongoing basis and punish us severely if we dare think for ourselves and be outspoken about it or live independently according to our own consciences and encourage others to do the same.
This type of government encourages malice towards others and suspicion of each other, because when the people are divided it gets even more power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely? Yes, when Americans do not stand as one, a singular absolute Collective American in which ‘my rights’ are your rights and ‘your rights’ are mine.
Each person’s freedom freely exercised that does no harm to anyone is a victory for all of us. Pursue happiness and interfere with no one else’s pursuits of it.
Empower no government to punish unless and until there is a victim.
Don’t expect some homogenized America to come and give us all some gooey, soft feeling about how nice things are. We left that behind in the 1950s. It wasn’t that good anyway. It was stick your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye. It was the farce of “separate but equal.” It was lynchings in the south.