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Renewal of Patriotism a Tragedy in Itself

see that face behind your screen staring back at you as you read this? it looks like you, but its me, Erik Stockmeier. yes, i can see you and i will know if you skip even a single word-- so keep an open mind and read the fucking article. it won a tony award.
We all watched in horror as the events of September eleventh unfolded. In classrooms and employee lounges, on car radios and at dinner tables, people around the world came together to bear witness to perhaps one of the greatest catastrophes ever to befall humanity. Shock, anger, paranoia-- the emotions began to slip over us with a feeling of utter vulnerability. We needed to tell ourselves that we were still secure. We needed to unite. We didn't need nationalism.
Aside from the thousands of lives lost and certainty of more to come as a result of U.S. retaliation, possibly the biggest tragedy resulting from the suicide bombings of September eleventh has been the resurgence of nationalism. WHY? At a time like this, mindless flag waving will benefit no one. Flags cannot stop bullets, destroy pathogens or put out fires. They cannot fly airplanes very well and are a pitiful means of defense even against a box-cutter. Nobody was "given" any freedom or liberty by a paltry flag, EVER. The ideas behind such logic suggest that human beings don't have these rights when they are born, that such freedoms are mere privileges granted by a merciful government. Sadly, many people would agree with this reasoning.
At a time like this, every true patriot would use these so-called "privileges" to their full extent, looking for as many solutions to the terrorist threat at home as possible before looking at who we can bomb overseas. Unfortunately, this may mean constructively criticizing The United States of America, perhaps the only form of speech that is not tolerated, especially in wake of the recent attacks. It seems that America can do no wrong, though it is clear that we NEED to take a revisionist look at our foreign policies.
It is clear that people living in the United States can no longer say the rest of the world does not affect them. If we really want to curb terrorist attacks, we must focus on real solutions. After attacks like these, a superpower like the United States should not need to resort to revenge (and yes, it is revenge-- the media's headline "America Strikes Back" has little more to say) to pacify millions of enraged patriots.
True, we needed to-- and still need to --unite. Instead, we isolate ourselves from the rest of the world with borders and tell ourselves that these invisible lines separate the good people from bad people, the good governments from the bad governments. We buy stickers that remind us to never forget the events of September eleventh and then turn our backs when more atrocities are committed on people that appear to be of the Muslim faith.
Singing "God Bless America" or flying a flag on our car antenna will produce only a shallow rush of patriotism. In the long run, this mindless game of Follow the Leader can only end in more tragedy.
 
 

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