Patriotism and Democracy

July 4th is Independence Day for the USA. Patriotism isn’t just waving the flag, it is about supporting democracy. It may not be a perfect system, but it is the best foundation we have for peace, harmonious societies, and stable markets.

Illustration by Christoph Niemann; Animation by Olivia Blanc

In this time of hyper-partisanship, this is a nonpartisan call for a concerted effort to invest in all of the institutions of a transparent democratic society:

  1. Recognition of the worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Faith in majority rule and
  3. Minority rights (equal rights and opportunities)
  4. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press
  5. Respect for the balance of powers – executive, judicial and legislative.

It seems that last one: respect for a balance of powers – executive, judicial and legislative – holds up all the rest of them. When one branch seizes power from the rest, it threatens all of our rights and freedoms.


from: International Idea

 This is not just an American institution; activists and leaders around the world are fighting for basic freedoms every day.  If the standard falls we must rally to pick it up. As the U.S. flag waves this week, I leave you with the words of Walt Whitman expressing the ideals on which democracy is built.

Did you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name? I say democracy is only of use there that it may pass on and come to its flower and fruit in manners, in the highest forms of interaction between people, and their beliefs – in religion, literature, colleges and schools- democracy in all public and private life.

Walt Whitman

6 thoughts on “Patriotism and Democracy

  1. Since I posted this I discovered “Protect Democracy” a nonprofit, nonpartisan org. defending the principles of democracy – which have been eroded in recent yrs. (So many examples of the latter but no one is above the law; authoritarianism starts when leaders strives to protect his friends from the laws of the land and punish his enemies.)


  2. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that the balance of power is far more fragile than we’d ever imagined. And that long-established norms must not be taken for granted.

    Thank you for the Whitman quote. I don’t recall having seen it before.


    • Hi Annie – Ain’t it the truth? I always thought the balance of powers was our safe guard – at least against a would be king. (Have you heard he told the governor of ND he would like to see his own face on Mt Rushmore?…. and had T-shirts made with his mug next to the honored presidents!!!


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