Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Evolution of Patriotism

120th Philippine Independence June 12, 2018
Guest Editorial (Greater Lagro Gazette
Patriotism is a way of life. So with loyalty. Both must live with and in us always. 
Dr Abe V Rotor

Image result for Philippine independence 119 anniversary photos

Theoretically and ideally patriotism is a sacred temple founded on four pillars:
· love and compassion,
· support and defense of ones country
· national loyalty
· universal principle for peace.

Before arriving at this ideal definition, patriotism has undergone a long historical evolution 

To children patriotism and heroism are tied up, say in Superman comics and in the classics. Here the protagonist prevails over the villain and circumstances while building the moral of the story. Heroism is a result of strife, sacrifice, guts and Providence. In tragic stories, death is justified by a cause, such as freedom. At the end it is always the human spirit that triumphs.

Our children therefore must be guided to inculcate in their mind and heart the sense of  patriotism and 
heroism and as they grow up will understand their common grounds and differences, whether fiction or true story.

To scholars, patriotism has many faces. In the age of colonization the master was the patriot, the self-proclaimed civilizer as he “brought the subjects – the natives into the folds of civilization and converted them into a new faith.”

First Philippine Republic: Asia's First 

Going back to June 12,1898, proudly the Philippines proclaimed independence from Spain, the first to break away from colonial rule in Asia. Though short-lived, the First Philippine republic, nonetheless catapulted the Filipino nation onto the world’s consciousness carving not only a place among the family of nations but also a distinct niche as the first republic in Asia. 

The birth of new nations in post-colonial era spawned a new breed of heroes and patriots, hardline nationalists building a glamorized image as benevolent dictators. while they were trapped to allegiance to either democracy and socialism polarized during the Cold War which lasted for 45years until 1989.

Racism, apartheid, anti-semiticism, extreme fundamentalism, and the like, have faded from the limelights of enlightened societies. Walls dividing ideologies were knocked down. Divided countries like Germany and Vietnam were reunited. USSR was dissolved back to Russia we know today, liberating its union members into independent states.  

Today the concept of patriotism is again at the crossroad. For one, the indigenous peoples have found a place among former colonial masters in government and in various fields, and even excel in many of them. Indigenous leaders considered before as enemies are now recognized as heroes like Lapu-lapu in the Philippines, and   Montezuma of the Aztecs (early Mexicans). Many aboriginal leaders in Australia, Africa, the US and other parts of the world have been brought to fame and bestowed honor. Patriotism brings back the pride and dignity of ancestors, aborigines and indigenous people: Mac-liing of Upper Chico River in Kalinga Apayao, Wangari native of Kenya led the planting of millions of tree, Barack Obama and Luther King led the once maligned Negro to international respect, redeeming him from freedom to equality. 

Patriotism in Postmodern Era

Patriotism grows with the times. But it must stand firm, it should not be engulfed by the current of change. On the contrary, patriotism must serve as anchor against rapid and chartless change, especially in our new era we call postmodernism, which means “living tomorrow today.”

The electronic age has “wired” the globe. Today we are just a dial away from each other. Communication satellites loom in the sky.  We are now subjects of the cyberspace empire. Today we ask what is patriotism in social media, in the Internet? To Google, Facebook, Twitter et al

No one should live in the future. It is too dangerous, lonely and uncertain. Out there is a battlefield where the enemy is no other than us – ourselves, having drifted away from

· time-tested tradition,
· valuable lessons of history,
· the primordial institutions of family and community,
· honored values and tradition, and
· man’s harmonious relationship with nature.

Where does patriotism come in - in this scenario? In this battlefield that covers practically all human societies linked by a network of communication and transportation, commerce and industry, the so-called progress has been found to have miserably failed to bring true prosperity, peace and happiness. It has undermined the true meaning of The Good Life. It is taking man away from the realities of life, much less its challenges and conditions that make life exciting, fulfilled, and worth living, that ensures the sustainability of these attributes in future generations.

One unique characteristic of Patriotism is its humbling effect, contrary to popular notion. It brings man to his knees to reflect and meditate. And to gather courage and strength for change. But it is a change against, and away, from futurism. Away from the brink of Armageddon, from a cataclysmic consequence of a global conflict that is not remote from happening.

Let us seriously consider these disturbing global events that threaten world peace and security:

· rise of organized terrorism,
· escalating Syrian war,
· the sudden diplomatic row between and among countries in the Middle East.
· breakup of the European Union,
· nuclear threat by North Korea and Iran
  (and the unaccountable nuclear stockpile during the Cold War.)
· unabated pileup and emission of wastes on land, sea and in the air
· global warming, climate change, induced force majeure and other consequences
· runaway increase in population (7.7 billion today)
· eroding values and tradition
· greedy capitalism and consumerism,
· maverick science and technology (Frankenstein syndrome)
· extremism and fundamentalism leading to separatism and alienation.
· our own present Mindanao conflict.

We must be soldiers to defend none other but ourselves, the human race. No species on earth is as self-destructive as Homo sapiens, ironically the “thinking man,” the only rational organism on earth. 

"We are soldiers ourselves to protect ourselves."

If we are soldiers ourselves for our own sake what then are we fighting for or against? Remembering the great Mahatma Gandhi, we must renounce the seven Deadly Sins defined by this great leader, acclaimed Man of the Millennium (the greatest man who ever lived in the last one thousand years) by starting with and in ourselves. 

Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Aristotle who lived 2500 years before, qualified such change, said, “It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.”

These sages meant that a good man has higher attributes than just being a good follower, law-abiding, and conscious of his rights and privileges. Patriotism surpasses tenets and doctrines; it sets inviolable principles. It prods us to renounce

· Wealth without work
· Pleasure without conscience
· Science without humanity
· Knowledge without character
· Politics without principle
· Commerce without morality
· Worship without sacrifice.”

― Mahatma Gandhi, Seven Deadly Sins

Patriotism is committed to preserve tradition. 

It is a conservatory of values that have guided our ancestors for eons. In fact one writer said, “Primitive people were more patriotic than we are today.” The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was at its greatest before there was any civilization. On the road of change let’s look back and see the beacon that has guided man's aspiration and goal.

“A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations  in their hour of peril” said the great British hero, Winston S Churchill.’’
We have reasons to cherish life which nature provided us free and plentiful. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children.

Tradition is the saving grace of a dangerous postmodern world. We are living in a bubble that can burst anytime. As a consequence economics over the world will collapse. We are sitting on a social volcano which may erupt in Syria, Middle East, Mindanao, Europe or North Korea.

Among us are heroes and patriots in their own way: senior citizens still active, still contributing to the welfare of our society;
 teachers dutifully attending to their duties as vocation; media men and women truthful to the code of journalism even as they face the risk of the profession; "doctors in the barrio" as how the late Dr Juan Flavier described them; widows, orphans in great resolve to go on in life - these and 1001 others are the unknown heroes in our midst. They are like the Unknown Soldier, who only God is witness to his deed. And that there is no deed, however small, is insignificant.

Yes, patriotism is a way of life. So with loyalty. Both must live in and with us always. x x x

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