MONDAY MUSINGS July 6, 2020
This past weekend of July 4th celebrations prompted my thinking about patriotism. The dictionary definition of “patriot” is: A person who loves, supports and defends his/her country. In this divisive political time in our nation it seems everyone claims the title of patriot, with the not so subtle implication that if you disagree with me you are not as patriotic as I am.
I have found it is instructive to frame the discussion with these two statements. Our country needs Critical Lovers. Our country needs Loving Critics. Those who can embody both realities are true patriots.
The First Amendment to our US Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Unlike closed, totalitarian systems, our Constitution anticipated the ability of our people to protest and demonstrate against perceived injustices. From the birthing of our nation we sought to protect those who would contest decisions and policies they saw as unwise and/or unjust. Loving our country should not make us blind or mute to injustice. Being critical is not an end in itself; it is the avenue for making this a more perfect union.
The mistreatment of Native Americans is a shameful stain on our history. The Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis should be a required destination for every American. Enjoy the art on the first floor, the distinctive cafeteria, and a unique sales shop. Make sure you spend time on the second floor. There you will be confronted with the terrible story of our invasion of this country and the planned extermination of those who were here, their home, before we “discovered” this continent. The demonstrations in the Black Hills at Mount Rushmore this past weekend were inconvenient and irksome to those who just wanted a patriotic celebration. The faces of four white men are imposed and carved into their sacred land, land that was stolen from those who revere that place. The protest was viewed as bad publicity. There was no willingness to be reminded of a history Native Americans live every day.
Black Lives and Black History Matters. Native American Lives and Native American History also Matters. Patriots are Loving Critics and Critical Lovers.
Peace, John Krueger