Happy Fourth of July, folks.
"Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?"
"A Republic, if you can keep it."
-- Ben Franklin to an unknown lady,
per the notes of delegate Dr. James McHenry of Maryland.
We've been called worse. A corporatocracy, an oligarchy, a plutocracy...whichever the definition, they seem to be far and away quite different from the initial goal of a republic. But across all forms, regardless, is the ever-present and apparently common denominator of national pride, perversely corrupted and reduced to nationalism and jingoism.
The two should never, ever be mistaken for a true, uniquely American definition of "patriotism" nor should they ever be used to justify war or to quell dissent.