Normally Sekhmet pays little attention to politics, regarding it essentially as an exercise in futility ... But one overlooked aspect of the current American political scene has caught her eye. The scenario is familiar to all. The American president (and also Grand Sheriff) George W. Bush has thrown down his philosophical gauntlet, declaring, 'If you ain't with us, you're agin' us'. He and his posse brand all those "agin' "as 'unpatriotic.' Alleged unpatriotism is equated with 'aiding the terrorists', effectively treason. The accused deny the charge, staunchly defending their patriotism; citing dissent as the very essence of patriotism. This confrontation interests, bemuses and yet saddens Sekhmet, for she finds that no one, not one politician, no journalist, no TV commentator, no one anywhere --as far as she is able to determine-- has bothered to look at patriotism itself. So she has taken that look and reports:  

Patriotism is not a virtue; it is a pathological condition. Patriotism provides a surrogate soul for nonentities who have never developed souls of their own. (Yes, Virginia, there is a soul, but, like a talent for music or baseball, it must be developed. No development, no music, no baseball, no soul.)  

Patriotism is inherently confrontational, divisive and destructive. The familiar bumper sticker reads: GOD BLESS AMERICA. But the hidden, sticky side says: AND FUCK EVERYONE ELSE.  

Hitler's storm troopers were patriots; Palestinian suicide bombers are patriots-without-a-country as were the members of the Irgun and Stern gangs in those conveniently forgotten pre-Israel days. Of course, there's a difference between American patriots and their patriots. American patriots are good. God loves American patriots (otherwise why would He have made them so rich?) Their patriots are evil. God hates their patriots.  

It was Stephen Decatur, 200 years ago, who best captured the essence of Bush-style patriotism. 'Our country! In her intercourse with other nations may she always be in the right; but our country right or wrong.' This ranks high on Sekhmet's list of Ten Stupidest Statements Ever Uttered by a Human Being. It is like saying, 'My father! May he never kill or rape, but killer or rapist, my father!' 

Having diagnosed the malady, prescribing a cure remains problematical. The normal Washington response to any problem, real or perceived, is to declare war on it. But the wars on Drugs, Poverty and Crime are losing battles. Moreover, a War on Patriotism has a genetic illogic to it. Who would fight it? The Unpatriotic? True, America is winning the War on the Environment, (unconditional surrender is due any day now). It's unlikely, however, that a War on Patriotism would attract the same marshaled support from government and corporate forces.


The only hope, according to Sekhmet, lies in a massive, across-the-board recognition of patriotism for what it is, a tragic but repugnant psychological affliction -like pedophilia, but more dangerous- incurable yet broadly containable via applied public pressure. In other words: when patriots have the same social status of child molesters then, and only then, is there any possibility for peace to prevail.  

Sekhmet notes that intelligent, informed, considered solidarity in the face of real danger (not pretend danger like Iraq) is the constructive approach. This must not, under any circumstances, be confused with patriotism.


Sekhmet Speaks 1

Sekhmet Speaks 2

Sekhmet Speaks 3

Sekhmet Speaks 4




  J.A.W. Credentials   © John Anthony West 2002