VERY nice post from Done with Mirrors.
Patriotism and Metaphors. excerpt:
You love your homeland the way you love family: with quiet affection and admiration punctuated by shouting matches and slammed doors. You know their faults intimately. You piss and moan about them all day for a week, but when trouble comes calling, you know where you stand, without thinking about it. That seems to be me. It may not be you.
I said “family.” Not “parents.” There’s this idea, big with political thinkers, that everyone in the United States regards the government as a sort of parent. The big thinkers get off on the insight that people have two parents and Americans have two parties: Democratic mommies and GOP daddies. Nurturing Mommy and stern Daddy. As if we were 260 million children fretting about potty training.
But a lot of we the people don’t think of the government as any kind of parent. It’s an unruly child of the people, a creation of, and a function of, the civil society, the voters as a whole, the community. America is our child. Ours to nourish, our responsibility when it breaks something. Ours to believe in, because if you raise a child and you believe in him, he might yet go bad, but if you don’t believe in him, he almost certainly will.
Read the whole thing.