Much as I wish I could take credit for the word "matriotism," another woman wrote to me and gave me the concept. I was so intrigued by the word that I have been meditating on the possible ideology behind it, and a new paradigm for true and lasting peace in the world.
Before I dive into the concept of Matriotism, let's explore the word "patriotism." Dictionary.com defines it as: love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it. When we all know that patriotism in the US means: exploiting others' love for country by sending them and their children off to sacrifice for my bank balance!
There have been volumes written about patriotism, defining it, supporting it, challenging the notion of it, etc. I believe the notion of patriotism has been expediently and nefariously exploited, and used to lead our nation into scores of disastrous and needless wars. The idea of patriotism has virtually wiped out entire generations of our precious young people and has allowed our nation's leaders to commit mass murder on an unprecedented scale. The vile sputum of "if you aren't with us, then you are against us" is basically the epitome of patriotism gone wild. After the tragedy of 9/11 we were on our way to becoming a fledgling Matriotic society until our leaders jumped on the bandwagon of inappropriate and misguided vengeance to send our young people to die and kill in two countries that were no threat to the USA or to our way of life. The neocons exploited patriotism to fulfill their goals of imperialism and plumder.
This sort of patriotism begins when we enter kindergarten and learn the nationalist "Pledge of Allegiance." It transcends all sense when we are taught the "Star Spangled Banner," a hymn to war. In our history classes the genocide of the Native American peoples is glossed over as we learn about the spread of American Imperialism over our continent, though it wasn't named until the 1840's, when the doctrine of Manifest Destiny was expounded to justify the USA's conquest of and "civilizing" of Mexican territories and Native American populations. Manifest Destiny sought to spread the "the boundaries of freedom" to the American Continent, with the notion that we have a special mission from God. Sound familiar?
All through school, we are brainwashed into believing that somehow our leaders are always right and certainly have our best interests at heart when they wave the flag and convince us to hate fellow human beings who stand in the way of making immense profits from war. As Samuel Johnson said, patriotism is the "last refuge of a scoundrel."
Matriotism is the opposite of patriotism...not to destroy it, but to be a yin to its yang, and balance out the militarism of patriotism.
Not everyone is a mother, but there is one universal truth that no one can dispute no matter how hard they try (and believe me, some will try): Everyone has a mother! Mothers give life, and if the child is lucky, mothers nurture life. And if a man has had a nurturing mother he will already have a base of Matriotism.
A Matriot loves his/her country but does not buy into the exploitive phrase of "My country right or wrong." (As Chesterton said, that's like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober.") A Matriot knows that her country can do a lot of things right, especially when the government is not involved. For example, I know of no other citizens of any country who are more personally generous than those of America. However, a Matriot also knows that when her country is wrong, it can be responsible for murdering thouands upon thousands of innocent and unsuspecting humans. A true Matriot would never drop an atomic bomb or bombs filled with white phosphorous, carpet bomb cities and villages, or control drones from thousands of miles away to kill innocent men, women and children.
There is one most important thing that matriots would never do, however, and this is the key to stopping killing to solve problems: a matriot would never send her child or another mother's child to fight nonsense wars...and she would march into a war that she considered just to protect her child from harm. Aha! Matriots would fight their own battles, but take a dim view of having to do so, and would seldom resort to violence to solve conflict! Patriots hide behind the flag and eagerly send young people to die to fill their own pocketbooks.
Women flocked to Camp Casey in August to run the huge enterprise and work for peace, and women from all over the US and the world have invited me to visit and speak and advocate for true and lasting peace. Men, who are in touch with the matriot inside of them, have also been important to the cause of eradicating war.
Whether you are a male or female Matriot, Code Pink Alert, endorsed by Gold Star Families for Peace, is calling for an International Day of Peace on March 8 th...called for, organized by, and supported by women. Women and men with matriotic tendencies can get more info and endorse the call for peace at: www.womensaynotowar.org. It is past time for we Matriots to get together to stridently call for an end to the immoral bloodshed in Iraq.
I know one thing from the bottom of my heart. My son, Casey, who was an Eagle Scout and a true American patriot, was not served well by his idea of patriotism. I will never forgive myself for not trying to counteract more the false patriotism he was raised on, with a true sense of Matriotism.
I also know that the women of the world who don't have a voice, such as the mothers of Iraq who are struggling just to survive in their needlessly destroyed country, are counting on us women who do have voices to use them to end George Bush's manifestly idiotic doctrine of preemptive wars of aggression based on the justification that "I think that country might be dangerous to me and my pals."
War will end forever when we matriots stand up and say: "No, I am not giving my child to the fake patriotism of the war machine which chews up my flesh and blood to spit out obscene profits."
"It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens." ~Baha'u'llah
Matriotism above all is a commitment to the truth, and to celebrating the dignity of all life.