I would be very careful, too, about confusing chauvinism with patriotism. #Patriotism celebrates free speech, particularly free speech that you disagree with. Because in America, its not the speech we cherish, its the underlying Freedom. #Chauvinism demands loyalty and attempts to silence dissent (it could say, just trust me; I alone can fix it.)
#History is not an irrelevant artifact. It is a continuous river with currents (some dangerous) – parts that exist in the past but, nevetheless, continue to direct future:
History … is how you “really see what direction you are going and without understanding what direction you are going, it’s really hard to correct course in order to make change in the future.” – Dan Freidenburg
“It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead… [a] understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun….As commanders and staff officers, we are coaches and sentries for our units…. And how can you be a sentinel and not have your unit caught flat-footed if you don’t know what the warning signs are…
– General James Mattis
“One of the things that I’ve learned to appreciate more as President is you are essentially a relay swimmer in a river full of rapids, and that river is history,” he later told me. “You don’t start with a clean slate, and the things you start may not come to full fruition on your timetable. But you can move things forward. And sometimes the things that start small may turn out to be fairly significant.
“I think we are born into this world and inherit all the grudges and rivalries and hatreds and sins of the past,” he said. “But we also inherit the beauty and the joy and goodness of our forebears. And we’re on this planet a pretty short time, so that we cannot remake the world entirely during this little stretch that we have.” The long view again. “But I think our decisions matter,” he went on. “And I think America was very lucky that Abraham Lincoln was President when he was President. If he hadn’t been, the course of history would be very different. But I also think that, despite being the greatest President, in my mind, in our history, it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality. I think that doesn’t diminish Lincoln’s achievements, but it acknowledges that at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”
O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless–of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light–of the objects mean–of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of all–of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest–with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring–What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here–that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
– Walt Whitman. LEAVES OF GRASS. 1900