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What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather
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What Unites Us Quotes Showing 1-30 of 91
“It is important not to confuse “patriotism” with “nationalism.” As I define it, nationalism is a monologue in which you place your country in a position of moral and cultural supremacy over others. Patriotism, while deeply personal, is a dialogue with your fellow citizens, and a larger world, about not only what you love about your country but also how it can be improved.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“We are a nation not only of dreamers, but also of fixers. We have looked at our land and people, and said, time and time again, "This is not good enough; we can be better.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Empathy is not only a personal feeling; it can be a potent force for political and social change. And thus the suppression or denial of empathy is a deliberate part of a cynical political calculus. Dividing people and stoking animosity can pave a path to power (and in many recent elections, it has). This has been well known since the time of the ancients. But these divisions inevitably come at the expense of the long-term health and welfare of the nation as a whole.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“We often hear about how we need to be more tolerant: to make room for people, ideas, and actions with which we may not agree. This is a prerequisite for a functional democracy. But tolerance alone is not sufficient; it allows us to accept others without engaging with them, to feel smug and self-satisfied without challenging the boundaries within which too many of us live.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Recently we have seen a level of public protest unlike anything we have witnessed in decades. Dissent is about marching, and making one’s voice heard in the streets and at the ballot box. But at the same time, there are strong voices calling this dissent unpatriotic and dangerous. We cannot let the forces of suppression win. America works best when new thoughts can emerge to compete, and thrive, in a marketplace of ideas.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“No one has a monopoly on the truth, but the whole premise of our democracy is that truth and justice must win out. And the role of a trained journalist is to get as close to the truth as is humanly possible. Make no mistake: We are being tested. Without a vibrant, fearless free press, our great American experiment may fail.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“It is important not to confuse “patriotism” with “nationalism.” As I define it, nationalism is a monologue in which you place your country in a position of moral and cultural supremacy over others. Patriotism, while deeply personal, is a dialogue with your fellow citizens, and a larger world, about not only what you love about your country but also how it can be improved. Unchecked nationalism leads to conflict and war. Unbridled patriotism can lead to the betterment of society. Patriotism is rooted in humility. Nationalism is rooted in arrogance.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“To suppress the vote is to make a mockery of democracy. And those who do so are essentially acknowledging that their policies are unpopular. If you can’t convince a majority of voters that your ideas are worthy, you try to limit the pool of voters.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Those who seek to suppress voting today are either ignorant of the history or are, as I suspect is more often the case, malevolently choosing to ignore it...

To suppress the vote is to make a mockery of democracy. And those who do so are essentially acknowledging that their policies are unpopular. If you can't convince a majority of voters that your ideas are worthy, you try to limit the pool of voters. This reveals a certain irony: Many who are most vocal in championing a free, open, and dynamic economy are the same political factions that suppress these principles when it comes to the currency of ideas.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Dissent is most controversial during wartime because it is cast as unpatriotic and dangerous to the national cause. But that is precisely the time when a democracy should be asking itself difficult and uncomfortable questions.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Patriotism—active, constructive patriotism—takes work. It takes knowledge, engagement with those who are different from you, and fairness in law and opportunity. It takes coming together for good causes. This is one of the things I cherish most about the United States: We are a nation not only of dreamers, but also of fixers. We have looked at our land and people, and said, time and time again, “This is not good enough; we can be better.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“God forbid, but if this nation ultimately fails, I believe it will be because opinions, propaganda, and superstitions replaced facts as the basis for our governance. By doing so, we will have undercut a key strength of the United States over the course of its history, one that receives too little attention: science.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“a democracy requires open access to ideas. It requires a willingness to struggle and learn, to question our own suppositions and biases, to open ourselves as citizens, and a nation, to a world of books and thought. If we become a country of superficiality and easy answers based on assumptions and not one steeped in reason and critical learning, we will have lost the foundation of our founding and all that has allowed our nation to grow into our modern United States.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Art is an attempt to capture the truths of the world as you see it in a medium you can share with others. It is about lending your voice, your perspective to local, national, and global conversations. And that is why, in the United States in particular, our definition of what is art and who is an artist must be as varied as our citizenry.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“I worry that our nation today suffers from a deficit of empathy, and this is especially true of many in positions of national leadership. It is a phenomenon that is born from, and that exacerbates, the broader divisions tearing at our republic. We see a rising tribalism along cultural, ethnic, economic class, and geographic lines. And the responsibility for these divisions should fall more squarely on the shoulders of the powerful, those who need to be empathetic, than on those who need our empathy. When we live in a self-selected bubble of friends, neighbors, and colleagues, it is too easy to forget how important it is to try to walk in the shoes of others.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“We see elected officials pounding their chests, saying their vision of America represents the only real patriotism. To them I say that patriotism is not a cudgel. It is not an arms race.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Washington” has become for many a dirty word that connotes self-serving politicians and devious lobbyists. To be sure, they are there, but I remember when I first went to work in the city in the wake of the Kennedy assassination, being struck by how populated the government was with young people from every corner of the nation, there to do the right thing and serve their country. I still feel that way whenever I return. Yes, you see ambition, but also idealism and the desire to work hard. You see purpose and patriotism. It is bipartisan. This is a part of Washington that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“In 1987, under President Ronald Reagan, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) abolished the Fairness Doctrine. In place since 1949, it had stipulated equal airtime for differing points of view. In this environment where media outlets felt less compelled to present balanced political debate, AM radio stations in particular started to switch to a lucrative form of programming best exemplified by Rush Limbaugh—right-wing talk radio. For hours on end, Limbaugh, and others who followed his lead, would present their view of the world without rebuttal, fact-checking, or any of the other standards in place at most journalistic outlets. Often their commentary included bashing any media coverage that conflicted with the talk-radio narrative.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Orwell understood that a government that is beyond the reach of accountability has little incentive to tell the truth. Indeed, its power may arise from the obliteration of objective facts. In the world of 1984, contradictory statements lose all sense of context and we are left with preposterous slogans: “War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.” And yet Orwell asks us, if there is no one with the power to call out a lie as a lie, does it end up ceasing to be a lie?”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Simply put, we have more people talking about news and less original reporting. Whether on television or online, there is no shortage of analysis. But analysis is only as good as the information that supports it. The deep cuts to newsrooms in print and electronic media have resulted in far fewer reporters waking up each morning deciding what story they will chase. There is less investigative reporting ....”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“We all have come here from somewhere else, and the vast majority of us are only a few generations removed from another land. Whether that is one generation or ten, it seems rather sanctimonious to claim that there is much of a difference. Not many of us can trace our arrival back a few hundred years, let alone millennia. But even the ancestors of the Native Americans are believed to have come across a land bridge from Asia—a reminder that we are a species of migrations, and always have been.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“To suppress the vote is to make a mockery of democracy. And those who do so are essentially acknowledging that their policies are unpopular. If you can't convince a majority of voters that your ideas are worthy, you try to limit the pool of voters. This reveals a certain irony: Many who are most vocal in championing a free, open, and dynamic economy are the same political factions that suppress these principles when it comes to the currency of ideas. I think the record is clear that our republic has benefited from the expansion of suffrage.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“The role of dissent is to force all of us to question our dogmas and biases. It is to stretch the spectrum of discourse.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“President Reagan had said, in a presidential debate against Walter Mondale, “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.” Imagine: The patron saint of the modern conservative movement made the case for a concept that today would have him pilloried by the right-wing press and those cynical politicians who have learned to exploit division for their own electoral success.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“People can disagree politically and philosophically on all the issues that confront our nation, but if more of our elected officials had served in causes other than their own advancement, I believe they would approach their jobs with less certainty in their own assumptions and more sympathy for the needs of others.”
Dan rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“The true foundations for those buildings are not brick and stone, but our Constitution, our rule of law, our traditions, our work ethic, our empathy, our pragmatism, and our basic decency. As I have seen over the years, when we cultivate these instincts, we soar. When we sow seeds of division, hatred, and small-mindedness, we falter.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Going into the forest with my dad was a backdrop to my young life. It was just what people did. I was expected to be able to identify the species of trees and to know how to avoid getting lost. Nature wasn’t something that you drove to, or planned on seeing, or for which you bought a fancy outdoor wardrobe. I worry that now it is an activity that must compete with soccer practices, homework, piano lessons, and all the other responsibilities that fill up the calendar of a family with children.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Gerrymandering isn’t just a recent phenomenon, though; the word was coined in 1812 when Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry went to such egregious lengths to redraw the state senate districts in his party’s favor that one district took on the shape of a salamander.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“Patriotism would require standing up to what I had seen, not standing alongside it in silence.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
“What sticks with me more than even that act of kindness was how my mother talked to me about it... So I asked my mother why we gave those families gifts at Christmas when we ourselves didn't have much. I remember then answering for myself: "It was because we felt sorry for them, right?"

"We do not feel sorry for them," my mother said sternly, "We understand how they feel.”
Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism

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