Best of Secret Republic 2011:
Meaningful Patriotism: A Sustainable America
Go ahead and call it a fantasy, but I often wish we could react to today’s challenges - climate change, dependence on foreign oil, urban decay, severe social inequity and broad lack of sustainable policy - with the same collective fervor as “The Greatest Generation” did in order to win World War II. Together they sacrificed, even willing to invest their hard-earned dollar in the effort.
Can you imagine? A war for sustainability. Victory gardens, car clubs, a reduction in consumption as a patriotic act. Campaigns for public transportation bonds, urban redevelopment bonds - collective responsibility met by collective action.
Forget the insipid political bickering, the pandering, the shameless marketing, the underlying class warfare, there’s a war to be won! Should we lose, no, we won’t all be speaking German; we’ll be much worse off than that.
Patriotism is a funny thing. As my generation knows it, it is nothing more than a rhetorical ploy for votes from those whose real interests are slyly undermined. What if we took patriotism back for Americans? What if patriotism belonged to both sides of the isle, what if it meant more than a flag lapel? What if we flew American flags from our bicycles instead of from the antennas of our SUV’s?
What if patriotism meant real sacrifice again? Rather than serving as a badge of machismo, what if patriotism meant a maternal embrace of our environment, our land, our American soil? What if patriotism once again meant working with our government for progress instead of decrying our own pillar of democracy as the problem?
Let’s take patriotism back. Let’s work hard and be proud. Yes, I am an American, and I believe this is possible. America remains a country with a deep reserve of ingenuity, innovation, and a spirit of opportunity.
A new direction is never beyond our reach.