Essay about Robert Jensens Patriotism

Essay about Robert Jensens Patriotism

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Many people believe that they are patriotic people. But, what truly makes one patriotic? In “Saying Goodbye to Patriotism” Robert Jensen critiques the effects of patriotism on today’s modern society, the United States, and globalization after the attacks on 9/11. Jensen defines patriotism in his talk delivered to the Peace Action National Congress as “love and loyal or zealous support of one’s own country.” (Jensen 741) But, that is not the only definition of patriotism. One may love living in the United States so does that make them patriotic? Patriotism is probably one of the hardest words to define in today’s society.
Jensen presents two alternative definitions of patriotism in his speech. The first one suggests that patriotism is to defend our country because it was attacked, and that must mean that there is a need to defend the United States and the citizens of the United States must support. Perhaps, this definition is the one that George W. Bush had been taught. In his speech he states, “…we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger into resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or justice to our enemies, justice will be done.” Just nine days after the attacks on 9/11 and already a plan to fight back was being constructed. In Fahrenheit 9/11, Lila Lipscomb supported this definition of patriotism, but that was before her son was killed in action. Patriotism was probably the last thing on her mind as she grieved the death of her son. Perhaps she has a different outlook on patriotism after her experience. Perhaps a lot of people who lost a loved one during a war that they are not sure what they are fighting for.
The other definition as given by Jensen speaks of the following: “…exercising our judgment, evaluating policies, engaging in discussion, and organizing to try to help see that the best policies are enacted.” But how many people can actually say that they practice those activities on a daily basis? Politicians probably will tell you that they do, but not even members of congress read the bills that they vote on as seen in Fahrenheit 9/11. To quote John Conyers, “Sit down, my son. We don't read most of the bills.” These are the exact words from the congressman on how they were going to pass the Patriot Act without reading it. If our leaders don’t have the right idea of patrio...


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...re many different types of patriotism in this world and sometimes they conflict with one another and that is ultimately what creates war in the first place. Patriotism is supposed to be, as defined in the dictionary, “love and loyal or zealous support of one’s own country.” (Jensen 741) Instead, it has become the leading cause in war itself. One could say that the United States is much like the New England Patriots professional football team, pun intended. The patriots are undefeated as of this writing and they take out all of their opponents fairly easily. This is much like the United States, undefeated, because we do not consider Vietnam a loss. The Patriots are a brute force in the NFL; the United States is a brute force in the world. The New England Patriots rage war on the football field, the U.S. rages war on Iraq. The New England Patriots celebrate in times of victory and grieve when a player gets hurt, but still play to win. The United States celebrates in victory as well, and grieves when a loved one has died in battle. If the patriotism of the United States is just as barbaric as the likes of an NFL football team, that gives means to consider a revaluation in patriotism.

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