THORSDAY THUNDERBOLT: the Power and Perils of Patriotism

Mjolnir_the_Mighty_Hammer_of_ThorTis that time again, good warriors! Another Thorsday hath come and time for Surly Thor to put his ramblings into written form.
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This Thorsday happens to coincide with the fine American holiday known as Independence Day. The day your young patriots did sign the Declaration of Independence and give Great Britain a great big middle finger. Several years later, with a lot of blood, sweat, and to be honest a great deal of help from the French, thou managed to win thy freedom. Now, a few hundred years later, thou celebrates’t thy patriotism by consuming thy weight in hot dogs and trying not to blow off any of thy fingers in what, from up here, doth sound an awful lot like all of thee trying to emulate the calling card of thy favorite disgruntled deity. In honor of the day Surly Thor would like to speak on the subject of patriotism, the good, the bad, and the ugly of it.
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Patriotism is defined by your Midgard scholar Merriam and her ’80s sitcom cohort Webster as: “love for or devotion to one’s country.” Love and devotion art fine things most people want in their homes, applying it to the place one lives either in a communal sense or on the broader national sense makes sense on many levels. Patriotism also should serve to humble one or at least bring one to be thankful for all the reasons they hath to be proud of their country. It could be as simple as being thankful for those who hath given their lives to make their country or the world a better place or to something as lofty as making one want to run for office in an attempt to keep their country as the shining beacon they believe it to be.
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Now, I’m sure a fair amount of thee art out there going, “Gee, Surly Thor, how could there be a downside to patriotism?”. Therein lies the rub, patriotism is fine, the problem is that it can oft lead to extremism. In America both major parties occasionally suffer from this type of overzealousness. On the right thou oft see those who think it is their right, nay their duty, to dismantle the government by force or by bullet. This hath crossed the line from patriotism to sedition. Thou already hath all the force thou needs’t to change thy government without picking up a weapon. Thou wert given a voice and a vote, both of which can be more destructive to a standing government than any weapon. Don’t believe Surly Thor? Go look at what happened in Egypt this week and come back.
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One the other side of the political spectrum thou hast one of the most infurating movements Surly Thor hath seen… the Occupy Wall Street movement. Odinson says infuriating not because of who they were but because they had energy and momentum, and they literally pissed it away by not having structure. Imagine if a dozen or so leaders had emerged out of the movement who could hath set up a platform, and from that platform they could hath drawn more allies onto the same field, and thou could hath easily seen another party step in to shake up the status quo. All the best intentions to tear down and rebuild the system mean Jack and squat when thou won’t put thy bongos down and actually do something.
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If one pushed patriotism e’en farther thou go from patriotism to nationalism, and now thou start to get to the real ugly side of pride in thy country. Once thou cross into nationalism thou go from simply feeling pride in thy country to believing the rest of the world is inferior to thy country of residence. Not to Godwin up this article but a perfect example of nationalism goes horribly, horribly wrong is Germany in the 1930s when that funny little chap with the moustache took control. Pride in one’s country becomes pride in one’s heritage, and when a charismatic asshole comes along and says these people who aren’t us are the reason thou aren’t doing so well people happily go marching off to remove them from the country or worse. Sadly, tis not ancient history; thou can still regularly see politicians or the general public in Europe angry, usually against now the Muslims who hath come to reside there.
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The important thing in all this is to regardless of thy level of patriotism to always maintain thy sense of value as an individual. Mortals hath a bad tendency to go with the flow, so to speak. Pushing against the masses can seem a daunting task, and sometimes it doth seem easier to simply go limp and allow the masses to do the work for thee. The problem then is finding oneself in unknown territory with no idea how to get back to the point where the journey began. Or to put it bluntly, pushing back is sometimes the most patriotic thing to do. Look at those in the days after 9/11 who did oppose going to war with what seemed like most of the middle east, those people were spat upon and called unAmerican or unpatriotic; a decade later the people clamoring for war can be counted on a single hand.
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As a brief aside before Odinson doth wander off in search of ale, today thine internets were abuzz with the rumors that Ted Nugent is considering a run at the Presidency in 2016. Surly Thor asks all of thee to beseech whate’er gods thou doth hold dear and make sure that this happens, for the sake of comedy, as thou know this doth need to happen. Anyways, the hour is late and Odinson is thirsty. Enjoy thy day, spend it with friends and family, and try to come back on the morrow with all of thy digits.
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Do good things.
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ST
sockpuppethor
  • As usual, Odinson doth hit the nail mightily on its head…

  • Mama Lynn

    Occupy Wall Street had such amazing potential.