Excellent -- and brave, on this Veteran's Day -- article in Salon about the knee jerk patriotism we are force fed on a daily basis. Since 9/11 it has been exaggerated to surreal extremes.
You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy - Salon.com: Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible. (Salon)