Grounded as I am in coming-of-age during the tumult of the 1960s and ’70s, I tend to have a problematic relationship with patriotism and all its accoutrements—the flag, the pledge, the star-spangles, the moist-eyed emotion and breast-beating triumphalism.
In my college years, I learned to cast a skeptical eye on government pronouncements and white-washed histories. I discovered the relevance of sociology (Hmm…sociology, now there’s a thought!), psychology (Oh, what a neurotic-at-best mess we are!), and the role of basic brutality and genocide—there is simply no other way to say it—in subduing the American frontier. All under the cloak of “manifest destiny,” a handy and high-falutin’ term for “God wants us to own all this, so let’s go wipe out another Indian tribe.”
The revisionist look at American history taking place then was only exacerbated by the travesty of Vietnam, when the mode...Read More