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Liberty Weekend

July 13, 1986

As the tumult and the shouting die over the second unveiling of France's tribute to our boast of Liberty, it may be appropriate to note two continuing, related worldwide evils we share.

First is the standard confusion of patriotism with nationalism, at the expense of patriotism--which, to me, is loving pride in the virtues of a homeland and dedication to making it ever better by recognizing and correcting flaws; while nationalism divides the species with "My country, right or wrong, and to hell with all others," and considers continuing improvement unnecessary, if not downright treasonable.

I am not proud of being an American, which simply means unjustified arrogance for the accident of my birth. Rather, I am thankful for the accident.

Second is our practice, generally shared through all history with all nations, of ignoring the dark side of our history, which may be summed up as the practices of theft and genocide.

I suggest that we look hard (as we have at last at our national disgrace of slavery fading into bigotry--slight modifications of theft and genocide) at our treatment of the subjects of continuing outright theft and genocide: specifically and now, the Hopi and Navajo and Alaskan Indians, whose homes sit on wealth coveted by the invaders with historically serpentine-forked tongues.

Oh sure, say the Big Boys, this is the world today, and we cannot rewrite history. But we can and do write it, now, and a little unaccustomed honesty, humility, and decency would really not degrade us.

HENRY REESE

Hollywood

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