Patriotism and the left

Emil Shaw’s recent contribution (PWW 1/31-2/6) could serve as a catalyst for a much-needed debate on the left regarding the proper role and function of patriotism.

In his book “Land of Idols: Political Mythology in America,” author Michael Parenti draws a useful distinction between super patriotism (also know as pseudo-patriotism) and genuine or progressive patriotism.

When these two patriotisms collide, the left has a tremendous advantage (although many on the left don’t realize this). Stripped to its bare essentials, super patriotism consists of an almost pathological desire to kill and die for one’s country, combined with an excessive preoccupation about how much freedom exists within nations deemed official enemies by the U.S. moneyed elite.

Progressive patriotism is far more attractive. While not for a minute neglecting the building of friendships with citizens of other countries, progressive patriots pay healthy attention to the standard of living, civil liberties and democratic rights of those residing within our own borders. Progressive patriots unapologetically embrace a form of enlightened self-interest. Our concern is not with a contentless reverence for the United States as an abstract entity. We are far too busy involving ourselves in popular struggles that will improve the lives of the flesh and blood individuals who make up our great and diverse nation.

Adam MinskyBrookline MA

Liked story on 9/11 inquiry

Just came across your excellent article “Questions about 9/11 refuse to go away,” by C.F. Niles (PWW 1/24-30). Please keep up the good work.

M. Grimes Rockville MD

Bush an ‘evil pirate’

I enjoy reading the PWW’s articles, especially those that criticize Bush and Cheney. Please keep on printing stories that condemn Bush and keep on discrediting him. I think President Bush is an evil pirate and rotten to the core. I also do not want them elected another term. Nov. 2 is “ejection day” for Bush. Let’s show him the door. He needs a pink slip. We would all be even happier to get Bush-Cheney out before Nov. 2. After Bush is fired he should be put on a one-way bus ride back to his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Even better would be to send him to Mars. Keep up the good work and reach out to voters to vote Bush out forever!

Edward BroderickWest Haven CT

Wants wider scope on sports

I was greatly pleased to see the addition of a regular sports section in the PWW, which began several months ago. Chas Walker brings a welcome new element to the PWW, and does an excellent job at it as well.

However, I have never considered myself a football fan, and I have found myself skipping over the column a lot recently, as it seems there has been nothing but football coverage. How about some NHL coverage? Some coverage of women’s sports? Maybe even box scores? Or even some perspective on issues in sports such as corporate ownership, contract struggles, or male dominance and chauvinism within the industry?

Gabriel SmithBuffalo NY

Kucinich still raising issues

The following is excerpted from Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-Ohio) Feb. 11 audio postcard message to campaign supporters.

Well, there’s been a lot of excitement around the country after we finished third in both Maine and in Washington state. And I can tell you that people are now starting to take another look at our campaign because they realize that we have the ability not only to finish in the money, but that we have the ability to change the whole debate.

The debate is needed so much now on Iraq. All the other candidates would like not to talk about it, and yet as we have 130,000 troops there who could be there for years and years, we understand our obligation to keep that issue in the forefront. The same goes for not-for-profit health care and with canceling NAFTA and the WTO, starting a whole new debate on what we can do to keep jobs in this country.

As you know, ultimately what the race ends up being about, as far as the Presidency, is the ability to gather delegates … to be able to put together a block of delegates that will put us in contention at the convention in Boston.

So I’m asking you to continue to keep organizing … to continue to keep showing the kind of dynamic courage, the quality of heart, which each and every one of you who have supported this campaign along the way have demonstrated.

Dennis KucinichVia e-mail