The observance in the past few days of Canada Day and U.S. Independence Day led Red Room to wonder about patriotism. (We note that several other countries celebrate independence or national days this week, including Venezuela, Malawi, Comoros, and Lithuania). In Enlightenment-era France, patriotism simply signified loyalty to the state as opposed to the church. These days, even constructive critics of government are accused of being unpatriotic by "love it or leave it" types. This week, please post a Red Room blog entry on the subject of patriotism. (Please don't post your entry in the comments section below, but please do tag your entry patriotism blog.)
To spark your imagination, browse more than fifty books about political criticism, an act that is often born out of love of country so strong that one must write about it. Whether you agree with Samuel Johnson that "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" or would stand with Nathan Hale, whose only regret was having but one life to lose for his country, please blog about patriotism this week.
A few featured bloggers will receive books by Red Room authors:
In Of Thee I Sing (2010, Knopf Books for Young Readers), a "tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama (with illustrator Loren Long) has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America's children."
Susan Griffin asks "what does it mean to be a citizen of the United States in her 2008 book Wrestling With the Angel of Democracy (Shambhala Publishers). Her "provocative investigation of that question takes us from the Declaration of Independence to the Iraq War, with many stops in between."
Griffin and Karin Lofthus Carrington take the question global as they co-edit Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, (2011, University of California Press), an "inspired collection offers a new paradigm for moving the world beyond violence as the first, and often only, response to violence." In it, "a diverse array of contributors--writers, healers, spiritual and political leaders, scientists, and activists, including Desmond Tutu, Huston Smith, Riane Eisler, Daniel Ellsberg, Amos Oz, Fatema Mernissi, Fritjov Capra, George Lakoff, Mahmoud Darwish, Terry Tempest Williams, and Jack Kornfield--considers how we might transform the conditions that produce terrorist acts and bring true healing to the victims of these acts."
In his neighborhood, racial, and economic activism, Ishmael Reed showed the commitment to community that some equate with patriotism, even while criticizing the inequities that have so often characterized the United States. His new novel Juice! (2011, Dalkey Archive Press) is "a lament for the death of print media, the growth of the corporation, and the process of growing old, Juice! serves as a comi-tragedy, chronicling the increased anxieties of 'post-race' America."
So post a blog entry today about Red Room's topic of the week
For help on how to blog, please see the directions here. We'll choose one of these blog posts to be featured on Red Room's homepage next week. Post your entry by Friday at 10:30 a.m. PDT (GMT-08:00) for consideration, and be sure to tag it with the keyword term patriotism blog in the Blog Keyword Tags field so we can find it. (Please don't forget the exact tag. For more information about tags, click here.)
And don't forget to check our most recent blog topic of the week, favorite work of LGBT literature. From an erudite appreciation of Walt Whitman’s poet-politics to a sharp critique of gay and lesbian stories’ lack of a happy ending, bloggers explained what's great about the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender books, short stories, plays, and screenplays.
Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room