written by Charles Foltz
Since both Liz and I have been addressed in the exchanges here, I think I should make my own comments regarding the meme in question. I've reread it several times and come away with the opinion that it is a valid question, especially now at this time of remembering the sacrifices of service people. The meme deals with the nation as a whole, not the limited acts of organizations or individuals who are genuine and concerned with others suffering. There are numbers of wonderful feeling people in our nation, but they are often overshadowed by the policies and actions of government that lead us all into representing a much darker picture than we are willing to own up to. Over time, we have created a romantic image of our nation that is not very accurate as to our conduct.
This romantic image has been created and reinforced by numerous institutions (schools, churches, veterans groups, etc.) so we can view ourselves as acceptable no matter how distasteful some events really are in the question of patriotism. Many a patriot has fought and died for the idea of America, not the actual nation. I lived with the training of Marines some years ago, and have a pretty good idea of why we do this kind of thing. During world conflicts, it is essential to make an enemy seem devilish in order to get troops to kill each other. But many current day conflicts have had no basis in a real threat to the nation, and young people have been coerced into believing they are protecting hearth and home to be part of the military. The sad truth is that we have often helped to create some of these conflicts in order to gain footholds in other countries and provide profitable business opportunities to, what we use to call, the military-industrial complex (nothing more than a description of big business). I have lost friends to this camouflaged ideal of sacrifice, and I have counseled with troops that have come home damaged and sometimes disrespected for having been part of a now disparaged conflict.
If one cannot see the necessity to reveal the true underside of international politics and our (meaning nation) involvement in it due to a select few of ensconced congresspeople and ultra-wealthy business owners, then even those wonderful personal responses of genuine patriots becomes discredited in the world psyche! One of the reasons for our declining image here within our borders is due to overpowering patriarchal control in social relations that separates people due to race, religion, color, etc. It has gone so far as to keeping alive the misinterpreted belief structure of evangelical pulpits using scripture to keep people in the role of OTHER (LGBTQ, Black, Latino, Asian, etc.). This is not the glue of a proud cohesive nation that deserves to be recognized for accomplishments; it is the mythology that gives us an attitude that we need to police the rest of the world, and that they should see how righteous we are. This is un-adulterated bunk! Our coming generations need to know the true history so they can take the steps to remake the nation in the pattern that we all wish it could be.