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3^3 and patriotism - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2008-07-04 00:36
3^3 and patriotism
Today at 11:37am I will enter my 28th year (EDIT: meaning I've now lived 27 years, hence the 3^3), and the country in which I was born will enter its 233rd (by some definitions of a country's beginning, anyway). I've had an uneasy relationship with patriotism for much of my life, and it's not because I share my birthday with my country's, though perhaps that has made me think more about it than I might have otherwise. In some ways I'm deeply patriotic in that I agree with many of the tenets of freedom and equality on which our government is theoretically built, though I am and have long been critical of the various instantiations of our government and its role in both the lives of its citizens and in the affairs of other countries. In my mind, the best patriot is not blind to her country's problems but works to address them. Also, there is another, more concrete, aspect of patriotism that is important to me, but in lieu of explaining it myself, I'll quote a poem I remember from high school that I think expresses it well. It was originally written in Spanish, but I'll post both that version and the English translation.
High treason
by José Emilio Pacheco

I do not love my country. Its abstract splendor
is beyond my grasp.
But (although it sounds bad) I would give my life
for ten places in it, for certain people,
seaports, pinewoods, fortresses,
a run-down city, gray, grotesque,
various figures from its history
(and three or four rivers).

Alta traición

No amo mi Patria. Su fulgor abstracto
es inasible.
Pero (aunque suene mal) daría la vida
por diez lugares suyos, cierta gente,
puertos, bosques de pinos, fortalezas,
una ciudad deshecha, gris, monstruosa,
varias figuras de su historia,
(y tres o cuatro ríos).

flags in New York on Flickr
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2008-07-04 08:57 (UTC)
(no subject)
Happy Birthday, Morgan! I'm glad you were born lo these 28 years.
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2008-07-04 09:28 (UTC)
(no subject)
Happy Birthday!!
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2008-07-04 09:36 (UTC)
(no subject)
Happy Birthday!!!
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Darcy: tara candle
2008-07-04 15:07 (UTC)
(no subject)
picture_keywordtara candle
Oh, happy birthday!
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2008-07-04 16:13 (UTC)
(no subject)
Many happy returns of the day! Hope yours is filled with much fun and love and laughter (and maybe a wee bit of dancing?)!
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Darth Absinthe: Cowbell
2008-07-05 01:04 (UTC)
(no subject)
Happy Birthday you! I'm going to go watch some fireworks in your honor tonight!
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2008-07-05 02:28 (UTC)
(no subject)
Patriotism is one of those odd, vague words that nearly everyone treats with deference, but has definitions all over the map. I think it is often used as a code word to substitute for deeper thought (one can attack a politician's "lack of patriotism" without having to explain why, exactly, their actions were wrong) — which makes contemplations like this essential. To some people there is little difference between patriotism and nationalism or even national superiority. But those of us who are realists know that true love cannot exist in the absence of humility and criticism. I tend to think of patriotism as a willingness to hold one's country to high standards.

Something I've always admired about you is the way you think about the world around you. Even on your own day your thoughts tend toward the common good.
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2008-07-05 17:08 (UTC)
(no subject)
Happy birthday!! Sorry I'm a day late; internet connection is spotty in the mountains. We'll get together soon!
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2008-07-05 20:13 (UTC)
(no subject)

aside from the state of the union, i hope you enjoyed your day with many more wonderful days to come! :)
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September 2013