For July 4 thoughts, it's probably not the best idea to start at the Daily Kos. Meteor Blades wrote a piece emphasizing the idea of patriotism is for "rebels" and "dissidents," not for "bootlickers."
The writer can't stand that patriots believe in American exceptionalism: "They make this claim as if—besides giving us impressive and justifiably revered notions of liberty and justice—our Founders and their successors did not expand the nation from sea to shining sea (and beyond) with a century of mass murder and grand larceny against indigenous peoples, a ginned-up war to grab more than half of Mexico, another to snag Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and a few lesser skirmishes by which places such as Maui became territory where the Stars and Stripes now flies."
Conservatives who revere our founding ideas as unique are easily bashed as "pretend patriots" who are nationalistic idol worshippers:
The pretend patriots are mortal enemies of us citizens who deeply love our country, but who recognize that, historically and now, it is a composite of the good, the bad and the ugly. We who refuse to reiterate the latest version of my-country-right-or-wrong should be cast out. They deplore us who acknowledge with condemnation that a jingoistic, exclusionary, authoritarian patriotism was in large part what helped make the United States “great” in the worst sense of the word. We who object to the idolatrous intermingling of militaristic nationalism with patriotism might as well be terrorists in their view.
In the words of George Washington, those who practice these “impostures of pretend patriotism” try at every opportunity to stifle dissent and fill the silence with propaganda. This week we commemorate the Fourth of July! How dare I disrespect patriotism on the very anniversary of the day 56 men signed what could have been their death warrant, the Declaration of Independence. Can’t there be just one day when we critics shut up, stand up and salute? Thus do pretend patriots do as they have done throughout American history—confuse dissent with disrespect, critics with renegades, patriotism with obedience.
All too many know-nothings scarf up the red-white-and blue propaganda turds of our right-wing punditocracy as if they slid directly off the parchment signed by the Founders. Our nation is awash in purveyors of what makes a true patriot and what does not in terms Mussolini would have loved. They equate aggressive nationalism with patriotism, dissidence with treason, love of country with love of leaders. Such upsidedownism is a hallmark of right-think. For three and a half years, a boatload of pretend patriots have been fabulously well-paid to spread their poison about liberals, in general, and Barack Obama, in particular. Unlike the purveyors of Manifest Destiny who had no need to hide their desires for a white man's America, today's pretenders, all too many of them grifters, wink, nod and dog-whistle their way through the script…
I’ll admit that calling oneself a patriot is damned hard for someone whose Seminole ancestors were killed in three wars by soldiers flying the Stars and Stripes, with amends and apologies yet to be made. But I call myself a patriot because patriots are rebels. That is not a cry for overthrow and the guillotine. It is an optimism that patriots can and must remake the United States, just as in the past it was repeatedly remade by dissidents who rejected slavery, women’s second-class status, workers’ impotence, racism’s reign.
There is, it goes without saying, much left to achieve. And these days, much to re-achieve, as the oligarchy tightens its noose around the necks of the working classes and its puppets in Congress and, increasingly in the Supreme Court, continue their assigned task of dismantling the legacy of the New Deal and Great Society.
Nothing, of course, offends right-wingers more, seems more disrespectful and disloyal, than when we dissenters, our criticisms barely escaped from our lips, claim ourselves to be patriots. They go apoplectic when we say it’s not patriotism that we disrespect but rather the pretenders who have made a fetish of it, twisted it and commodified it. These idolaters love the idea of dissent, the iconography of it, but jeer its reality. To them, patriots must be bootlickers. In extreme cases, jackboots. Proof, if more were needed, that even the word itself, "patriot," must be recaptured from those who have hijacked it.…
U.S. nationalism pretending to be patriotism has led to imperialist wars, the slaughter of indigenous peoples, the repeated suppression of dissent. In times of global tension, nationalism masquerading as patriotism demolishes the capacity of people to assess the reality of threats as well as to object if they find those threats less than apparent.
Fighting for a better country is what patriotic dissidents have done from the beginning of the United States. Arrayed against them and their high principles in every case were the pretend patriots, those for whom dissent was anathema, who saw attempts to expand the nation’s democracy as a violation of their rights, who labeled opposition to expansionism and imperialist war outright treason.
Despite the pretenders who engaged in naked aggression against abolitionists, suffragists, trade unionists, civil rights workers and others, these dissidents made America better. They remade America. In our time, they are lauded, but in their own, they were vilified, assaulted and even, sometimes, murdered for their audacity, for their patriotism, for their belief that the ideals in the Declaration were not pretend. We owe them. The best way to repay our debt is to imitate their example, to show our patriotism by fighting to remake America once again.
Source: NewsBusters.org blogs