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What is true patriotism? Part III

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If citizenship, either in a family or clan, or geography, or a nation-state, defines us; then our sense of patriotism or love for that family or group or community is assumed to be primary and always presumed to define one’s loyalty.

That loyalty, I think, is primary and must become our public but also declared identity of responsibility and identity. When we do not, or create an artificial or arbitrary new one, not recognised by the rest of the world, we create a problem called Islamic State or IS.

For example, we have rulers or royalty in Malaysia who are normal human beings but are culturally treated as if they are greater than their normal human qualities. Therefore, others kiss their hands and show personal allegiance to the quite human other. As a Christian, I do and cannot do this as it may be seen as idolatry. Idolatry is not tolerated by God.

In yet some other cultures, I understand that ordinary mortals are required to crawl on all fours to meet their royalty. To me, that is even more demeaning and dehumanising. Human beings are created equal and given the honour and dignity befitting of the Creator. No one person, for whatever reason, should submit and oblige himself to another; for God is a jealous God.

Patriotism as gender equality

Gender equality in Asia and the world became a conscious global issue at the United Nations Summit Meeting China in 1995. Now the president of China is hosting another gathering in New York to recognise the 20th anniversary of a landmark women’s rights conference in Beijing. At least the Chinese now believe fully in this ideal.

Some 74 presidents and prime ministers are scheduled to attend the meeting, including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. President Barack Obama will not be among them. Maybe China should invite Hillary Clinton to address the meeting. After all, she was there 20 years ago, too.

Talking about this kind of patriotism of equal humanity, in the first US presidential debate this issue of human equality became focus on one of Donald Trump’s failures in life. The potential new lady president put this agenda on the table. The former first lady defined the agenda and the Latino lady from Venezuela stole that show. The entertainer was left dumbfounded. The show ended.

The storyline was that she was “verbally abused by Donald Trump” when she was not quite 20 years old. CNN anchor for the Anderson Cooper 360 show interviewed this now new mother of one daughter and I genuinely thought she gave a patriotic performance about what the US and democracy means of freedom for as a new migrant.

 

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