The people who miss the point of a democracy most are the ones who see our nation as without faults or only minor ones at worst. They seem to find their most comfortable bed partners with militarists. They see themselves as so right that they will ram the barrel of a gun down your throat to prove the wonderful nature of their form of "democracy." We meet them on the street everyday, they often have flags in their lapel, or some patriotic bumper sticker on their car. Their bigotry is kept more hidden unless they can express it anonymously. Like all cultures throughout history, the U.S. is flooded with them. We can ignore their violent ignorance, but at what cost?
"The U.S. is having the same troubles as Rome in its search for 'defensible frontiers.' " -Lord Curzon
"Nationalism is always an effort in a direction opposite to that of the principle which creates nations. . . nationalism is nothing but a mania, a pretext to escape from the necessity of inventing something new." -Jose Ortega y Gasset
"Born in iniquity, and conceived in sin, the spirit of nationalism has never ceased to bend human institutions to the service of dissension and distress." -Thorstein Veblen
"No other factor in history, not even religion, has produced so many wars as has the clash of national egotisms sanctified by the name of patriotism." -Preserved Smith
"Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill." -Richard Aldington
"My rackets are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way!" -Al Capone
"Do not. . .regard the critics as questionable patriots. What were Washington and Jefferson and Adams but profound critics of the colonial status quo?" -Adlai Stevenson
"Too many Americans are super patriots until the President of the United States is of the wrong color, or the wrong party, or the wrong political perspective." -Lester E. Schultz
"Many studies have discovered a close link between prejudice and 'patriotism' . . . Extreme bigots are almost always super-patriots." -Gordon W. Allport
"Our country...when right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right." -Carl Schurz [one of the most misquoted statements in American history]
"Law, in a democracy, means the protection of the rights and liberties of the minority." -Alfred E. Smith [you may all want to check his Republican credentials]
"Democracy means not 'I'm as good as you are,' but 'you're as good as I am.' " -Theodore Parker
As we Americans haggle about race, color, immigration, religion, militarism, sexual orientation, status, democracy, ad infinitum, let us remember that we are each members of the same human race. It is appalling to me to see people express hatred against people because they were born someplace else, or believe something different, or look differently, or have different needs, or whatever. Think of a world, think of a nation in which we see each other as brothers and sisters.
"There is a destiny that makes us brothers, none goes his way alone./ All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own." -Edwin Markham