Saturday, June 17, 2006

Natalie Maines' Question

(Cross-posted at Blanton's and Ashton's.)

From the Telegraph [emphasis mine]:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country ... I don't see why people care about patriotism."

There can be no rational explanation of how Maines's remark came to drive a red-hot poker into America's divided soul, but it's only now that some of the poison has begun to dissipate.

Early concerns about the premature demise of the Chicks' career subsided when the furiously unapologetic single Not Ready to Make Nice became the most downloaded track on iTunes, despite a lack of radio airplay. Then the album went to number one on the Billboard 200 after selling half a million copies in the week after its release in America last month. It looks set to be their first UK top 10 album this Sunday.

There is a difference between "patriotism" -- meaning a love for the country you were born in, and have lived in all your life; and "nationalism," which is an ideology that claims superiority for one's country over all others, and that privileges one country's wishes, ambitions, and perceived needs above those of all others.

"Patriotism," as the term is commonly and conventionally used by people like Michelle Malkin, is closer in meaning to xenophobic chauvinism than it is to simple love of country. I love my country, because it's where I was born and raised. I love my country regardless of whether I love the particular administration in power at any given time. I love my country and also believe, without contradiction, that loving my country does not mean I think my country has the right to kill thousands or millions of human beings living in other countries in order to keep my country Number 1 on the Most Powerful Country List.

I can love my country, and still live in harmony with people all over the planet who love their countries as much as I love mine. I don't have to kill anyone, or conquer, or invade, or occupy anyone else's country, to prove my love.

Michelle Malkin, on the other hand, can only feel "patriotic" by plastering the American flag over every available surface, and giving her unquestioning support to war, occupation, arbitrary detention, and torture when carried out by her country. Malkin's patriotism is inseparable from militarism.

The question Natalie Maines asks is a valid one, and deserves a thoughtful answer. Perhaps Michelle Malkin can take some time out from her frothing-at-the-mouth rage at the Dixie Chicks to provide that answer.

1 comment:

FreeThinker said...

Great post, great blog! I'm trying to enjoy the new Dixie Chicks CD without letting politics get in the way (for the record, I too am ashamed of the President).