Racism was practically dead in the United States back in the 1970s when the comedy of Don Rickles made it ridiculously laughable, but somehow, it has reemerged. Now, Black Lives Matter campaigns against racial profiling and inequality against African-Americans, but personally, I have never witnessed the prejudice that they claim exists.
In fact, it is utterly ironic that Colin Kaepernick breaks protocol during the National Anthem by getting down on one knee in protest of racism against blacks because his contract with the San Francisco 49ers is worth $114,000,000! Actually, he is an excellent example of the American dream come true. His black father had abandoned his white mother, who in turn gave him up for adoption, yet this poor orphan has become rich and famous. That fame, however, has turned to infamy because his protest, which many other football players have adopted, is unpatriotic.
Patriotism is not merely a sentimental bond to a nation. It is a virtue in the spiritual will of the human soul. Without patriotism, our hearts would suffer an empty void. Patriotism is a kind of piety, which is a part of justice. Justice demands that we give to others their due. Religion, for instance, is the part of justice whereby we give to God His due. Piety is giving to our parents and country their due, but that debt can never be fully paid. Just as we owe our existence to our parents, so too, our life depends on our country, and therefore, we owe our complete allegiance in return. Patriotism requires loyalty and reverence.
One can sin against patriotism, however, by excess or defect. The vicious excess is nationalism or jingoism. Such national elitism was far more common in the early half of the 20th century. Indeed, it is what motivated the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler and other fascists.
On the other hand, the vicious defect is cosmopolitanism, which is to consider oneself simply as a citizen of the world. Today, that popular ideology is widely accepted and promoted. Its moto is ubi bene (or panis) ibi patria. In other words, our home is wherever life is good.
This suits George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, which undermines national sovereignty by promoting open borders, a cause embraced by his erstwhile beneficiary, Hillary Clinton. The United Nations has always fostered cosmopolitanism, but since Brexit and the last American election, the tide is shifting back toward patriotism, so the U.N. is losing favor and may even lose its funding.
Because cosmopolitans have lost the virtue of patriotism and a sense for the middle, they imagine that Trump or anyone else to the right of them is another Hitler, and therefore, a racist too. Actually, extreme cosmopolitans are similar to extreme nationalists inasmuch as they both desire worldwide domination. Both are equally intimidating to moderate and upright patriots.
America has always been a land of immigrants. Even so-called “Native Americans” arrived from Asia many centuries ago. Our population is a diverse community of languages, subcultures and ethnic backgrounds, but after two or three generations in the melting pot, we all become distinctly American with a common language and culture. We assimilate and, with time, become increasingly homogenous, while retaining some differences.
Our republic is pluralistic, recognizing the rights of all, regardless of religion or sex. Bill Clinton’s One America Initiative fostered and embraced diversification, but diversity is not an end in itself. In fact, rapid diversification can disintegrate a society if it is not balanced by equivalent adaptation fostering an integral culture. That is one reason why immigration must be regulated and also why Muslim immigrants cannot demand sharia law.
Americans have long been taught to respect everyone, no matter how distinct, but the fairness of equity has sometimes gone to the absurdity of egalitarianism. Equality ought to be proportional, not absolute, like different size glasses all full. A recipe that includes every ingredient and seasoning equally results in a disgusting meal. On the other hand, mosaics and tapestries are beautiful because they are not all gray. Our goal is not lukewarm mediocrity in which even right and wrong or truth and falsehood are treated equally. Sometimes, discrimination is good, like distinguishing one restroom from another.
Regardless of the guilt of individuals, the nation itself is guiltless and should not be denounced. Tragically, however, the modern adoration of diversity can lead some citizens not only to neglect their civil duty, but even to curse our homeland. Although the Supreme Court wrongly decided in Texas versus Johnson in 1989 that the desecration of the flag is permitted under the 1st Amendment, it is still a sin against patriotism.
In his reasonable dissent, Chief Justice William Rehnquist said that, “the flag is not simply another ‘idea’ or ‘point of view’ competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas.” Indeed, it represents the United States of America to which all Americans are indefinitely indebted. For the same reason, it is wrong to deface currency. As an act of patriotism, I ordinarily bend over to pick up a penny. Burning a flag is akin to stepping on a Crucifix. Although it’s not really Jesus on the Cross, it represents Him. Likewise, burning a flag is a profane sacrilege, and that’s why lawyers use the term “desecration.”
God Himself allots the nations and appoints His angelic princes to direct them, so to dishonor our country and its symbols is an affront to its inherent sacredness. In fact, God has greatly blessed America. Who dares to curse it? May the Lord, then, infuse patriotism directly into our souls, for, as President Trump said in his inaugural speech, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
I am a “so called Native American”. So what should we be called?
Notwithstanding, good article.
Doc – Member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa of North Dakota.
Tribal Chairman Emeritus
First, let me say that I am partly Algonquin. My ancestors lived along the Ottawa River. I have no problem with the word Indian. In fact, I think of it more as an honor than an offense that Cleveland’s baseball team is the Indians and that Washington’s football team is the Redskins or that Chicago’s hockey team is the Blackhawks. On the other hand, if you say that a thousand years in one place earns the right to be called native, I would not argue.
Good stuff, Father Gerry. Always appreciate your insights. Thanks.
Are you serious Father “I have never witnessed the prejudice that they claim exists”
Civil Rights and Justice for all has nothing to do with Patriotism. Sounds to me like you want to set this country back by about 100 years or more. I’m a Viet Nam Vet, served my country proudly and yet because of the color of my skin upon returning home i faced bigotry, racism, discrimianation even in my Parish some of the Priest treated me differently. Things have changed very little. Yes black lives does matter except to some of the thugish racist white police officers that do not hesitate to take a black life even when their life is not threatned, or the unfair judicial system that incarcerates more blacks and give them more time than their white canterparts for the same offense.
I salute the flag I sing the Star Spangle Banner and America the Beautiful. But you tell me where is the justice???? – there ain’t none. The only true Judge is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I don’t think He is at all pleased with you a Dominican Priest for writing this.
I will be praying for you – God bless
It’s true that I have not witnessed prejudice, but I’m sorry that you have not only witnessed it, but have even experienced it against yourself. It hurts me to know that. The connection between civil rights and patriotism is, first, Colin Kaepernick who acts unpatriotically to protest racism, and secondly, the cosmopolitans who accuse and even attack patriots as racists and Nazis. I certainly don’t want to take us back in time, but the problem does seem worse today.
Thank you for your service in Viet Nam. For that, I honor you. What you say about some police and even priests may unfortunately be true, but corruption can be found anywhere. I’m glad that you salute the flag. Keep on doing so because injustice is not the fault of America, but of individuals here and there.
The Lord is the One Who inspired me to write this article based on a teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas on patriotism as opposed to nationalism on the far right and cosmopolitanism on the far left. What makes my message so urgent is that recently the far left has been acting violently against patriots for trying to make American great again as if we were racists and Nazis. Thank you for your prayers.
I suggest you research some newer social constructs such as white privilege and implicit association bias. There are even websites where you can privately take tests to show you which groups (disabled, racial, etc) you unconsciously favor.
Racism may seem worse to you now because of the prevalence of technology which documents and publicizes the shooting/murder of innocent unarmed black men by policemen who react unconsciously based on their fear of “the other”. As a white woman, I don’t expect or have to tolerate being followed in stores or have to fear policemen over-reacting. I imagine there is even less chance that a white priest would ever experience those situations. I think Colin Kaepernick is the true patriot because he believes America can be better and is willing to take an unpopular stand (that has no personal benefit) to publically witness to the murders that are being committed by public servants (who should be held to an even higher standard.)
Thank you Jean for suggesting avenues for further knowledge. Wedsite tests, however, are not always reliable tools. As a Catholic priest, I have often encountered people who are against Catholicism because Catholics are sinners. Yet, Catholicism itself is holy. We need to abstract. Likewise, just because some Americans are evil doesn’t mean that the United States of America is bad. I’m sure that there are some bad cops, but I honor the majority who do their duty. There are even some police officers who make mistakes in the line of duty, maybe even killing innocent people, but while some have been condemned, others have been acquitted after due process. Are we to say that the judiciary system is at fault? I tend to trust that justice will be served.
Mr. Kaepernick commits a sin of injustice by his unpatriotic act as if America itself is to blame; it’s not. Sins of individuals do not allow anyone to protest against a nation. It’s the same principle. Patriotism is a duty that we all owe in justice.
Personally, I grew up poor and now I’m in a mendicant order vowed to poverty, so I’m not sure that I have ever experienced any privilege of being a white male. Some of my most beloved friends are good black Catholics. We don’t even think about race. We all make mistakes. May God preserve us so that we may never offend anyone unjustly. +
The eagle on the US Flag posted by Posted by Rev. Gerard Lessard, OP | Jan 25, 2017 | 2016 Election, America, Culture, Ethics, Featured | 7 | has no copyright. Can you help me track the copyright of this image, so I can determine if my group can use it on our documents?
The picture was taken from a search on Google images, so I obtained it in the public domain, but as for copyrights, I don’t know.