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New Organization Invites Public to Pledge Commitment to American Ideals

September 18, 2019
Jason Shevrin: [email protected], 202-994-5631
Timothy Pierce: [email protected], 202-994-5647
WASHINGTON (Sept. 18, 2019)—Acclaimed advocate and academic Amitai Etzioni has launched the Patriotic Movement to encourage people to publicly pledge their commitment to core American ideals. 
“Most Americans love their country, without being blind to its flaws, and want politicians to express a shared view of a more perfect union,” said Dr. Etzioni, a University Professor and professor of international affairs at the George Washington University. The organization is inviting people to sign an online petition supporting this idea. Dr. Etzioni explained that the petition is a “wall on which people can pledge their support for curbing polarization and encouraging politicians to work together.” More than 250 people from all over the United States have made their pledge public so far.
For Dr. Etzioni, partisanship in the context of patriotism can be positive. “We are not seeking agreement on everything, democracy relies on healthy disagreement,” he said. “But that disagreement must be grounded in a belief that we can all move forward together. This is the premise of true patriotism.” 
“There are a lot of groups promoting more civil discourse, dialogue across partisan lines, and otherwise working to lower the volume of political disagreement, which is needed,” said Dr. Etzioni. “Our effort is different because rather than create avenues for more agreement from the top down, we are asking people to publicly pledge their commitment to a set of values that set the context for disagreement from the bottom-up.”
Dr. Etzioni argues that true patriotism invites debate to find the best solutions to shared problems based on a shared set of values. Patriotism stands in contrast to nationalism, which emphasizes commitment to a strong central leader and discourages debate.
Dr. Etzioni’s new organization coincides with the publication of “Reclaiming Patriotism,” a book in which he makes the case for renewed patriotism and against nationalism. Dr. Amitai Etzion is a former senior adviser to the White House, former president of the American Sociological Association and the founder of the Communitarian Network.