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Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 23-24, 2016: Crowd-sourced Patriots

[For this year’s series on genuine American patriots, I focused on contemporary figures who are doing the hard work of patriotism. If there was a through-line to these four, in addition to the ideas I discussed in my Patriot’s Day post, it’d be Howard Zinn’s famous quote, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” This crowd-sourced post is drawn from the responses and nominees of fellow AmericanStudiers—add your own in comments, please!]
First, I’ll add one more great example of online public scholarly patriotism to Friday’s list: ‘Merica Magazine, which was founded by graduate students Ed Simon and Wade Linebaugh precisely to practice this more critical but still celebratory form of patriotism.
Responding to the Howard Zinn quote, Matt Ramsden writes that it “reminds me of a video I saw yesterday of Keith Haring drawing graffiti in an extremely public place; fresh off a train in a New York City train station with dozens of onlookers.”
Steve Edwards writes, “I like John Francis, the environmentalist who gave up riding in cars & *talking* in order to protest our reliance on fossil fuels.”
Ben Lieberman writes, “George McGovern. Not only a Presidential candidate who combined real policy chops with principle, but a pilot who flew many missions over Europe during World War II”; Ben also nominates “Thurgood Marshall and Nelson Mandela.”
Andrew DaSilva nominates, “First are the US patriots. Former State Senator Therese Murray she helped pave the way for major health care legislation. Then there's Congressman Joseph P Kennedy III who has picked up the torch of public service for the people of this great Commonwealth like his great Uncle President John F Kennedy before him filling the shoes of the great liberal icon Congressman Barney Frank. As for foreign patriots I know it's controversial and he maybe a lot of other things but he is most certainly a patriot that being Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel while in the military he saved Israeli lives on the hijacked plane Sabena Flight 571 and while in politics he championed the Israeli cause of continued growth and nationhood. Lastly there's José Mujica former president of Uruguay. He donated a large percent of his salary to charity and although being imprisoned and shot at by the gov't he still went on to serve his country with compassion and humility of a bygone era....”
Larry Rosenwald notes that the “first person to come to mind is Edward Snowden.”
The aforementioned Wade Linebaugh goes way back and provocative (in the best sense), writing, “Not (just) trying to be a square peg here, but how about John Brown? He is far from an uncomplicated figure, of course, and memorializing his role in history doesn't need to mean condoning violence in the here and now. But still: a certain (maniacal, homicidal, treasonous) kind of patriot, perhaps.”
And AmericanStudier pére Steve Railton goes similarly old-school with Henry David Thoreau!
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? Other figures you’d nominate?

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