Thursday, September 14, 2006
Twain on the Question of Patriotism
I find this quote from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in an essay by Howard Zinn in the latest newsletter of Poets Against War. I have been struggling a long time to figure out how to answer, "Do you love your country?" Or "Do you consider yourself patriotic?" Zinn's words come closest to answering that question for me.
A wonderful surprise is Zinn's first paragraph, in which admits to getting discouraged (he's human!) and says that he turns to literature for restoration. A marvel.
"Whenever I become discouraged (which is on alternate Tuesdays, between three and four) I lift my spirits by remembering: the writers are on our side! I mean those poets, novelists, playwrights and songwriters who speak to the world in a way that is impervious to assault because they wage the battle for justice in a sphere which is unreachable by the dullness of ordinary political discourse." Read the full essay here.