What Does "Homeland" Mean to You?


I was getting my daily dose of NPR this morning when Morning Edition's listener letters segment came on. One comment from Linda Lewis from Branson, Mo., really resonated. She was complaining that when NPR interviewed Homeland Security advisor Frances Townsend about the new National Intelligence Estimate that the interviewer had "bought into" the language of "protecting the homeland."

Ms. Lewis complained: "I wasn't alive during World War II, but I associate "the homeland" with Nazi propaganda. It's fascistic and offensive." She prefers "U.S" or "America."

For me, too, the word "homeland" conjures a kind of antediluvian primitive nationalism (tribalism) based on blood and soil, not a people united by their devotion to political ideals like liberty and free speech.