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Oh say can you see?

Wealth has never yet sacrificed itself on the altar of patriotism.
-Bob LaFollette, congressman, senator, governor (1855-1925)

(note: In this case, let's define "patriotic" as "love of and/or devotion to one's country.")

Everything else being equal, which would you rather be?




( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
My sense of "patriotism" is frequently compromised - therefore, money it is! :D
Nov. 24th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
I feel weak.
Nov. 24th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
Eh, I'd rather be confident in my ability to support myself than in my country to support me. And I don't necessarily mean in a financial sense...I mean that in a my-own-two-feet sense.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 24th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
Good use of icon-age. :-)
Nov. 25th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
An ultimate example of a patriot is Robin Hood. His fight against tyranny and for the betterment of his country caused him to loose his wealth, his home, and his title and become an outlaw. He willingly gave up these things because he could not support his government, such as it was. He remained loyal to the absent King and did all he could to support the common people.

I submit that patriotism is not just following the government and believing whatever the media feeds you through your television set. Real patriotism is when you take a stake in your country and are willing to risk yourself for its improvement, which sometimes means railing against the established order, going against the axioms of today because you believe in your country's improved tomorrow. You are informed and knowledgeable about the outside world. You keep your country honest the way a coach keeps his team in shape--sometimes with loud criticism, sometimes with grudging approval, sometimes whooping with joy. You are humbled by how very big your county is and how far it has come and how far it still needs to go. Your first loyalty is to the citizens, not to the state.

A true patriot's relationship with his country is not that of a sheep to a shepherd, and too often I think that is the impression we are given. We need change the way we, as a country, view and define patriotism if we are going to have any patriots left in our generation.
Nov. 24th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
I think he was speaking more to corporate wealth -- the business interests that profit from activities and situations that harm the general population. Anyhoo, corporations owe a larger and more complex "patriotic" debt to society than individuals do.

Edited at 2008-11-24 03:08 pm (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
The poll is only loosely related to the quote. :-) More like inspired by the quote.
Nov. 24th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
I was trying to spark a larger conversation. :)

I think I have the same issue with the choice that mountainheather does. I don't view them as being in the same category of substitutes.
Nov. 24th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
I would like to think that I could give up some patriotism for a little wealth.
Nov. 24th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
Cheating on your taxes this year?
Nov. 24th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
I thought of a good way to think of it! If some random country were going to pay you 150k for some espionage work against the US, would you do it?
Nov. 24th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
Would it be dangerous? Would I have to fly somewhere in an airplane? Would it be just copying Neil Diamond songs and distributing them to my friends? These are important questions that must be answered before I can tell you what I would do.
Nov. 24th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
Would it be just copying Neil Diamond songs and distributing them to my friends? These are important questions that must be answered before I can tell you what I would do.

*bursts out laughing*
Melissa, I ♥ you :)
Nov. 24th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)

Nov. 25th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
Your icon just made my day! I have that pound puppy, but I haven't seen him in years. It's nice to see an old friend! :-)
Nov. 25th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
Awww! Fudgie was my pound puppy. Actually...don't tell...he's on my bed right now! Would you like an icon, since my pound puppy and your pound puppy were obviously long-lost siblings? You can either tell me what you want it to say (I'll take a new picture, too), or I can just send you some photos and you can do with them as you please. :)
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
I seem to remember that his nose spun. *giggles* I'm not sure what I would have a pound puppy icon say. Thanks for the offer, though!
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
Sure thing. Fudgie's ears came off twice. My mom sewed them back on dutifully. They haven't come off once in adulthood. I hope my daughter is kind to him!

You have some really eloquent writing down there. I was stalking this post today when my comments were coming in.
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
Well thankee!
Nov. 24th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
I realized a lot of questions would come up after I came up with the question! Oops. My first question was... will I get caught? :-O
Nov. 24th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
Also... do you get caught?? :-O
Nov. 24th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Certain things are more important than money, IMO. It's been very stylish to 'hate' America for the last eight years because so many people didn't like our President, but to me, a country is made up of more than its leaders. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people lose sight of that when they don't like who's in charge.

Nov. 24th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Here, here!
Nov. 24th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)

I just realized I'm not getting my comments emailed to me. What's up with that, LJ? *grumbles*

Nov. 24th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
They will come!
Nov. 24th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
Slowly but surely :)
Nov. 24th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I could chose because the contrast doesn't work. Maybe I don't understand the quote?

Remember that game, 'what thing is most unlike something else'. Patriotism and wealth have nothing to do with each other in my head.
Nov. 24th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
The quote and the poll are only slightly related.
Nov. 24th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Having now lived abroad for over 3 years I'm all about the money as my love of country is pretty flexible.
Nov. 24th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Just a note to say, beautiful icon. Cornucopia's are so pretty. :)
Nov. 24th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
You should thank Sillyliss for it, she made it for me :)
Nov. 24th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
I would rather be devoted to people and ideas than political arrangements.
Nov. 24th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
I guess then we need to define "country"!
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
I recently finished listening to a podcast of a history class which discussed that issue in the context of sovereignty. The answer was basically "it's complicated". A lot of nations are defined by shared ethnic or cultural features. Sometimes these don't map onto political borders, which can cause trouble, such as in Ireland and Cyprus. The United States is interesting because it doesn't have such an ethnic identity, but instead tries to define itself by adherence to certain ideas. Sounds neat and tidy, but what throws a monkey wrench into it is the fact that America and its people have not, at any point in their history, seriously lived up to those ideas (Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is a heavily slanted yet informative summary). It's hard to feel patriotism towards a country that can't make up its mind about what it is.

But as much as people talk about patriotism being about your home, your people, and your ideals, in practice I've found that the perception of patriotism is based on how well you play along with symbols and ceremonies and how closely you align with the political views of upper-middle class white people.
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
My first impulse was to say "wealthy," but then I realized that was because I was caught up on the word "patriotic," which is a word I associate with people waving flags and shouting things I don't agree with.

If I step away from the raw semantics of it, what is being asked here is which I am more attached to: money, or a sense of belonging to a place or a people. When faced with a question of loyalty or riches, I would like to think I'd choose loyalty. However, it is not as simple as saying, "Would I sell out my country for money?" You must also look at the flip side, "Would I give up my wealth for my country?"

To the first question, I cannot think of an instance where I would let someone pay me to do something I believed would endanger my country. While I do not consider myself a patriot or a lover of my country, I do have a few glimmers of hope for it and the main reason I've had anti-American leanings at times is that I think, as a country, we aren't living up to our potential and I am disappointed in our lack of adherence to the ideals we were told we had in grade school. This sense of disappointment or disillusionment is not the same as dislike for my country, and it is unlikely I would do anything to endanger America no matter how good the money was. If not to the country itself, my loyalty would be to the people who live here.

However, aside from a grumbling handing over of funds to the government with each purchase and each year in April and again in July in the form of taxes, I doubt I would give up my wealth for my country. When I say that, I don't mean a few dollars here and there or a percentage of my paycheck, I mean handing over your wealth in the Biblical sense, where you give up everything you have. If there were a war on American soil and the government needed resources that I had, I am not sure if I would be glad to surrender those resources, but I would do it. If the American government turned corrupt and was becoming tyrranical, and the effort to bring back freedom and democracy needed my help and I would likely loose everything by doing helping, I probably wouldn't be brave enough to let my worldly possessions slip away in order to fight for a better world, but I would wish I was, and in the right circumstances, I might.

This is why I chose patriotism over wealth. Patriotism is the higher call, the ideal road... as long as you can get past the semantics.
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )



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