Patriot Gift Shop.

posted in: Uncategorized, Washington 1
Detail, Pueblo Indian garment. Photo: Me
Detail, Pueblo Indian garment, National Museum of the American Indian. Photo: Me

To the number of friends I need to return calls and texts from: forgive me. Feeling poorly then mustering the will to still get out and do things with my friend before he leaves has me stretched a thin. I will repay you in cups of coffee shared in an air-conditioned cafe. It is so blinkin’ hot and humid here everyone is constantly wet and warm to the touch. It’s sexy, really.

Yesterday, I spent time at the National Museum of the American Indian. Between that visit and the visit a few days ago to the Museum of American History, my patriotism looks like it’s been taken into a back alley and been given a lesson with a baseball bat.

Here’s a definition for you:

patriot (n.) A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors

I’m on board with the “prepared to defend it against enemies” part. If Country X tried to invade my hometown of Winterset, IA., I’m on the next plane to Des Moines and I’ll be taking that baseball bat with me, thank you very much. I could not understand how someone would choose not to defend their home against someone who wanted to take it. There’s pacifism and there’s pacifism.

But Dictionary, you usually solve all my problems and this time you have not. This is not helpful, Dictionary: “a person who vigorously supports their country.” Dictionary, either you’re being vague or the word “patriot” (and “patriotism”) is problematic. I think it’s the latter, Dictionary, but don’t go anywhere, yet.

I support democracy as a concept. I support the idea of state’s rights and federal rights. I vigorously support freedom of speech, the freedom to assemble, definitely a free press, etc. But to “support [my] country” is impossible. Straight up, no chaser, support my country? No way. That would imply blind faith. It would imply the end of inquiry. It would imply I’m not reading the news. It would imply that everything I saw yesterday at the American Indian Museum about white settlers’ merciless cruelty toward and ungodly ruin of the people living peacefully in what is now Winterset, IA (for example) was justified and played out just the way it should’ve played out. I don’t support that. I reject that and need to excuse myself to go vomit. Am I still a patriot?

Perhaps being a patriot means questioning all of this, being an active participant in the discussion of one’s national culture or national identify. But that’s not what you said it means, Dictionary, and in a few days I’ll be at Monitcello and there are slave’s quarters there, so.

 

  1. Melanie
    | Reply

    I’m reading a few of your past posts in a very random fashion. Thus, this “new” comment on an “old” post. The word “ex-pat” used when referring to those from one country but now living (permanently) in another, has mystified me. Given the definition of patriot above and if “ex” refers to previous or former, it would seem that “ex-pats” are folks who no longer support their country. I’m not asking you to solve this or even explain it, I just have found it a little odd. I guess it could be loosely interpreted to mean that they no longer live in their home country.

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