Saturday, August 2, 2014


by Pa Rock

There is an oft repeated quote that is credited to early twentieth century author, Sinclair Lewis, on the subject of fascism which goes something like this:

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

Some doubt that it was actually Sinclair Lewis who posited that warning, but whoever did come up with the image hit the nail on the head.

I am growing so very sick of these loud-mouthed Christian patriots who manage to defile Christianity and patriotism with almost every sentence they utter.  What the hell is Christian about vilifying children fleeing unbridled violence in Central America as they rush toward what they hope will be sanctuary in the United States?   Jesus would be horrified at this wall of human hate that is coalescing along our southern border trying to keep the youngsters out.   And can we call the exclusion of others patriotic in a country that was founded by multitudes fleeing poverty and oppression?

What is patriotic or Christian about giving corporations more rights than women - or gays - or racial minorities?  Was it a corporation that sewed our first national flag, emancipated the slaves, or walked on the moon?  Corporations are not people.  Period.  And if corporations were people - and citizens - many would not be very good ones.

Of course, some real people aren't especially good citizens either.  Willard Mitt Romney, are you particularly proud that you managed to hide some of your income in off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes? And Mitt, did you have any trouble sleeping after each time that Bane Capital sent one of its corporate acquisitions into bankruptcy, fired workers, and looted their retirement funds?   Did you still make it to church every Sunday, and were you wearing an American flag lapel pin like a good patriotic Christian?

This week while digging through some old journals, I came across a page, in my handwriting, titled "Patriotisms."   I don't know when I began composing this list, or what my ultimate intent was - though I was probably fooling around with ideas for this blog.  Whatever the intent, the list never made it into the Ramble.

Here are a few things that I identified in the list as patriotic acts:

  • Paying Taxes:   Without taxes we loose many of the benefits of living in a civilized setting:  paved roads, hospitals, libraries, protection and defense, and even ugly necessities like prisons.
  • Charity and Service:  Taxes don't cover every problem facing society.   By dipping into our pockets or donating our time, we help others to overcome their problems - and we help ourselves to become better human beings.
  • Military Service:  While serving in the Armed Forces is obviously not everyone's cup of tea, the military does play a role in protecting the interests of our nation and is often called on to help out with national emergencies.  
  • Defending the Rights of Others:  Sadly, there are many victims among us - those who are bullied or beaten or jailed or even killed for their political and religious beliefs, skin color, gender, or sexual orientation.  Refugees, the downtrodden and oppressed, minorities, the poor, the hurting - they all deserve our love and strong support.
  • Conservation and Protection of the Environment:  Those who rape nature (strip mining, clear-cutting forests, fracking, dumping waste into public water supplies, creating air pollution, scheming to keep the nation dependent on fossil fuels - etcetera) steal health and money from each and every one of us.  They are not motivated by a love of country, but simply by unbridled greed.  We can all do our bit to make the country a better place by conserving water, using less energy, planting more trees, recycling - and hundreds of other things that contribute to the common good.
  • Preserving Culture and Creating:   A nation's output of literature, art, and music is a true measure of its greatness.  Create - and enjoy the works of others.
  • Voting:   Voting is becoming more difficult because certain political groups are actively trying to disenfranchise the poor and some minorities - but voting is critically important and we must all redouble our efforts to get to the polls and vote.   (I once ran as a candidate in an election that ended up a tie - every vote counts!)  Make it to the polls and make a difference!
There are many, many more things that contribute to being a good citizen, and most, if not all, contribute in equal measure to being a good Christian.  Please feel free to add to my little list - and pick up litter on your way to the polls!

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