Peace is not patriotic

Chris Kok

Walking across campus, you are bound to see a bumper sticker that says, “Peace is patriotic.” This is a lie; peace is not patriotic. I’m sure many conservatives are jumping up and down enthusiastically, saying, “That peacenik finally admitted that peace is unpatriotic.” As should be no surprise, conservative logic doesn’t lead to the truth either. The truth is that peace is anti-patriotic.

Patriotism is a devotion to one’s country and is very much linked to support of the government. To be unpatriotic is to be apathetic about one’s country. Anti-patriotism looks beyond governments and borders by focusing on all of humanity.

In the lead-up to the Iraq War, patriotism was almost mandatory. For a while, it seemed that it was illegal to drive a car without an American flag on it. At times, it was utterly ridiculous with people claiming to love our freedoms yet saying, “Love it or leave it!” This is what the anti-war movement faced. The liberal response was defensive at best with the slogan “Peace is patriotic.”

This liberal response comes with baggage: the primary focus on America. These people focus on the amount of American soldiers dying while ignoring the completely disproportionate amount of Iraqi casualties.

The peaceful patriotic view does not support wars that hurt this country, but will support wars that “help” this country. The effect of war on the people of the world is not a major concern.

Real peace requires that people see all people of the world as being equal. The death of an Iraqi is just as tragic as the death of an American. Anti-patriotism rejects the idea that countries should separate people. It disrespects the power of governments, foreign or not, and instead supports the power of the people.

Why should anyone support this government? Sure, citizens of America have many rights, but at the same time, this government is trampling the rights of people across the world. This government is spending millions of dollars on nuclear weapons while people across the globe are starving.

The American government does not represent the interests of its citizen nor respect the interests of humanity. It is spending half a trillion dollars this year on the Department of “Defense” and yet there aren’t enough funds to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. As a result of the Iraq War, 650,000 Iraqis are dead, 1.9 million are internally displaced and 2 million are refugees in other countries. These actions should be criminal, and I hope that one day the Bush Administration and the Coalition of the Willing are brought to justice. At the very least, any government that commits such actions should not be respected.

The people of this country are good people. They are friendly and generous. The land within the artificial borders of America is beautiful. Tide pools on the Atlantic, foggy Appalachian Mountains, Lake Michigan sand dunes and the cliffs and canyons of Utah are all amazing, but all countries have good people and beautiful scenery. These qualities should not be attributed to the government, particularly when it is as murderous as the American government. Peace must be internationalist; it must reject patriotism.

Chris Kok is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].