Tuesday, June 28, 2005

In a time of dissent, what is patriotism? from Boston.com

In a time of dissent, what is patriotism?

WASHINGTON -- When the American literary lion William Dean Howells turned 75, in 1912, New York's superintendent of libraries asked him for some words of wisdom that could be read to children. Howells chose a subject that bristles with tension even now, 93 years later, as a vastly different United States prepares to celebrate its own birthday.

''While I would wish you to love America most because it's your home, I would have you love the whole world and think of all the people in it as your countrymen," Howells wrote. ''You will hear people more foolish than wicked say 'Our country, right or wrong,' but that is a false patriotism and bad Americanism. When our country is wrong she is worse than other countries when they are wrong, for she has more light than other countries, and we somehow ought to make her feel that we are sorry and ashamed for her."

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