“Candidate’s Words Differ From His History” (TIMES, 5/18/10)


          “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels,” is a quote that can’t be repeated enough in the present-day United States. 

          I am an American citizen by birth and a second generation veteran of the armed forces. My U.S.-born father (serial #3194972) served in the Second Pioneer Infantry of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I and was stationed at Chaumont, France, where he probably unloaded supply trains, but was never “in the trenches.” 

          After basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, I (U.S. 51307256) served with the 25th Signal Battalion at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. On active duty from March 11, 1954 to March 9, 1956, I am officially a Korean War veteran, though I never went anywhere near that country.

          Though a staunch New Deal Democrat who despised the more conservative Republican Party, in great part because of the Bonus Army Incident (June 1932), my father was patriotic and a member of the American Legion. I remember him standing at ramrod attention while the “Stars Spangled Banner” was sung at Ebbets Field during my first visit there.

          Now, when “God Bless America” is sung during the seventh inning stretch, I turn off the television. When I used to go to Dodger Stadium, my son and I would stand to sing “Take Me Out To The BallGame” in as rousing voices as we could muster.

          I am an American; I am NOT a patriot. Patriotism is a matter of choice. It is a sanitized word for nationalism and the latter can be a serious problem wherever it raises its head.

          I realize that there are a lot of decent Americans who identify themselves as patriots but there are also too many phonies who wave the flag to advance their own selfish agendas.

          Patriotism/Nationalism is also a barrier to a rational world order. Social, political and economic harmony will be impossible as long as this way of thinking holds the dominant position that it maintains now.

          PATRIOTISM IS THE LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDRELS.

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