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Patriotism, Parenting and Peacemaking

From the Winter 2002 Newsletter



In response to the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, there was strong agreement by Americans on at least three goals:

  • We must find and punish the perpetrators of the violence.

  • We must eliminate, or at least greatly minimize, the possibility and likelihood of future terrorist attacks.

  • We must seriously address the underlying conditions that give rise to terrorism.

The question of how to achieve these three ends has created a real challenge for those committed to peacemaking and nonviolence.  There is not as clear an answer as we might like to the question of what kind of response is appropriate, just and moral.


In this issue of our newsletter we address one of the phenomena spawned by the events of September 11:  an explosion of patriotism.  Most people, I dare say, regard the many different expressions of patriotism as a positive development, a way to rally support for the War on Terrorism, and a means to build greater solidarity and community in a country too often divided by an extreme individualism.  There are, however, many people who have been disturbed by the extent of patriotic fervor.  Too often in the past unbridled patriotism grew into a kind of blind nationalism, and a commitment to "my country, right or wrong."


We hope this issue will raise some key questions about how we can blend patriotism and peacemaking.  In particular, we address the family perspective on this issue and offer some insights, ideas and resources to parents in dealing with these issues in the family and with children.  Hopefully we will challenge your assumptions and stimulate further reflection.


Two articles from the Winter 2002 Newsletter:


Be the Best That We Can Be by Jim McGinnis

Can Patriotism and Consumerism Really Mix? by Susan Vogt