Monday, December 13, 2010

On Patriotism

A friend of mine in the state employee's union (which has a vaguely communist ring to it) wrote jokingly to me, "So now you'll be contributing to the Chinese economy and making it even stronger at our expense! Enjoy the Food!"

Last week, I read a poem again that ranks high among my favorites. Wendell Berry's To a Siberian Woodsman. The seventh and final stanza reads:

There is no government so worthy as your son who fishes with
you in silence besides the forest pool.
There is no national glory so comely as your daughter whose hands
have learned a music and go their own way on the keys.
There is no national glory so comely as my daughter who
dances and sings and is the brightness of my house.
There is no government so worthy as my son who laughs, as he comes up the path
from the river in the evening, for joy.

This morning I read Tax Deal Angers right as well as left in The Washington Post. This article references a piece by the Post's own Charles Krauthhammer, where the ultraconservative columnist writes:
[The tax deal] will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years - which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election.
Even if he is right, is this the wrong thing to do? Are the Chinese our enemy or can they be our greatest partner?

What is your definition of patriotism?