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

Patriotism and Democracy

 

Patriotism isn’t waving the flag and standing for the national anthem – that’s all show. Real patriotism supports our democracy, whether that means giving your time and energy to improve your community and country or paying your taxes to support our infrastructure and institutions. Lobbying for lower taxes, seeking tax loopholes and hiding money abroad undermines the democratic system.

The United States was founded on respect for the justice system and balance of powers – executive, judicial and legislative – and a free press.  Thomas Jefferson once said, if he had to choose between government a free press, he would choose the latter!

We should not court foreign dictators and excuse tyranny,  because we believe in equal rights (including political rights) equal opportunities and tolerance of differences.  As the US flag waves this week, I leave you with the words of  Walt Whitman and a song from Pete Seeger expressing the ideals on which this country was 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

I got a song to sing, all over this land.
It’s the hammer of Justice,
It’s the bell of Freedom,
It’s the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.                                      
Pete Seeger