John Nichols wrote a wonderful piece in the Nation. But it was one of the comments to that piece that really said it for me.
The older I get, the more I get Pete Seeger. Never did better walk this Earth, and if you don't understand why, then I suggest that you have become trapped by your own arguments, unable to see beyond the boundaries your rhetoric has defined.
I believe in the equal dignity of all the living, a principle which demands equal respect for, and equal protection under the law of, the natural, common, inherent, and unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and an equal share in the gifts of Nature, which were never created by the hand of any individual. That is the only kind of patriotism worth having.
Our culture has devolved into abject neoliberal productivist selfishness, elevating self-interest, market worthiness, and acquisitiveness above all. Self-interest is only the lowest form of morality, a foundation, not a goal, upon which we build higher morality. As we form legitimate government powers based upon the sacrifice of certain rights of the people in order to protect others, so do we form higher morality based on the sacrifice of personal self-interest for the greater good of the group, the family, the community, the nation, and all of humanity.
We can choose to pretend that the United States of America is a shining beacon to the world, or we can choose to fulfill the grand dreams of our forebears. My committment to my country can best be described in the words of one of the greatest Americans in history, the Republican Senator from Missouri, Carl Schurz, who in his address on the floor of Senate in 1872 spoke these powerful words, much mangled by those seeking self-serving, jingoistic pablum: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right, and if wrong, to be made right."
Also I've been listening to some of Pete Seeger's songs. Here is one I was not familiar with. Such a great epitaph to a great artist, man, and patriot.
To show my rainbow race, it's too soon to die