Friday, August 24, 2018

Can Democrats Reclaim Patriotism?

No. Next question?

But see the New York Times, FWIW, "Reclaiming Patriotism for the Left":

The resurgence of blood-and-soil nationalism around the world seems to prove that appeals to nationhood are too racist, too tribal and too dangerous to be of value. Yet surrendering patriotism to champions of the ethno-state abdicates the fight for the soul and meaning of the American project.

The American left, from the center of the Democratic Party to its insurgent challengers, needs a dose of national vision. One of the core lessons of Trumpian politics is that Americans are starved for a meaningful politics of what it means to be American. Getting rid of the vainglorious Trump administration is only a partial solution. The causes of his rise remain.

Call what is needed a reinvigoration of “civic nationalism” or “civic republicanism” (a reference to the ancient political ideal, not the party). This is a revival of the “bond of common faith,” the “bond of common goal,” as Robert Kennedy once put it, which needs constructive outlets if what is left of American democracy is to survive.

In recent decades, progressive forces in the United States have split between two positions, both of which surrender a robust and hopeful sense of national citizenship. On one track can be found a cosmopolitan economic elite that embrace a multicultural world order shaped largely by the politics of corporate globalization. On the other track are radical critics of the racism and imperialism of the American state who often support local community and transnational solidarity but maintain a deep cynicism, even despair, about the American project. Both groups have abdicated the national story to their shared political enemies. What remains is a fervent hybrid of nationalism and anti-statism, an echo of the rebel yell.

The American past, according to the historian Gary Gerstle in his book “American Crucible,” can be understood as a struggle between “two powerful and contradictory ideals” — a civic and racialized national vision. Yet the dissolution of a progressive civic dimension has left us with an unchallenged ethno-racial nationalism.

Globalization has further complicated the problem. In a dizzying world of oppressive economic and political inequality, global trade, immigration and technological disruption, voters seek grounding not in technocratic detail but in place, in time, in tradition and, above all, in the shared fate, history and meaning of the nation...
This "project" will fail.

As long as Democrats (who are not "centrist") champion and glamorize their most ardent radical factions and agendas, rejection of civil nationalism will remain at the center of their program.

It's a program of self-hatred.

But keep reading.