Yesterday before heading out to McDonald's with the kids, I saw a Facebook status that was akin to it being "Karma" that Japanese people are dying because generations ago, the Japanese military bombed Pearl Harbor. And the status also noted that we shouldn't be collecting donations for the Japanese people because they didn't do anything for us. I had a very instant "WTF" response, and it pretty much tainted my whole evening because it was so amazingly ignorant and xenophobic in nature.
It's gotten a lot of blowback from the internet community since, showing up even on reddit, and I just have to get up on my soapbox for a minute here. I really shouldn't have to state why that avenue of thinking is dangerous and self-centered, not to mention incredibly stupid to boot. But I just have to say this:
You can be a patriotic American without being hateful towards another country or its people.
It's simple common sense but everytime I read about the religious protesting the right for a mosque to be built, or Indians being targeted because they looked like Muslims, or even that vapid comedian with his goddamn terrorist puppet - it drives me insane. They perpetuate the stereotype of the narrow-minded gun-toting American that the world is wary of. Shoot first, ask questions later.
In recent months, I've read about troops in the Middle East disobeying orders to shoot citizens protesting their governments, and these troops no doubt love their country and have swore to protect their homeland. But they have to know the difference between right, wrong, and being patriotic - and where that patriotism rests on the scale of ethics.
So if you read about one of these Facebook statuses, I think the best thing to do is to comment on their post, and tell them that you've donated some money in their name for the people of Japan. I think that's the most patriotic gesture you can show.