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Before I get into this, I would like to point out that this is not a post about taking sides, and it is meant as a way to reach out to everyone regardless of political stance. I was given the idea for this article by a great woman in my life, and she deserved a mention before I dove in.
Recently, a news article was brought to my attention that asked the readers about their standards for the future. My father (wonderful man) asked who we were at present. The comments section was frustrating to read, to both him and myself. The readers of his post made it about party lines, and one in particular I’m sure simply refused to read the article because it came from what they considered “liberal trash media.” The article itself was certainly not pro-conservatives, but it did bring up a good point about what people truly expect from the leaders we elect and how justifiable one believes their actions to be in the name of their cause. This began a train of thought for me that lead straight to the heart of what it means to be an American, a patriot.
The phrase “American patriotism” evokes an image of military members in uniform at attention, Americans with their hands over their hearts, all facing what is presumed to be a flag that is displayed as a background. It also would presumably bring up an image of the current president, who is our representative to the world as a nation in the new global society. But how do we really define patriotism as a concept? How do you define it as an individual?
The most common definition I seem to come across consists of:
- Some form of blind devotion to the leaders in government (assuming they claim to align with your political views)
- A firm belief in the Catholic/Christian God
- And, on-demand recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance from the age of four, up
While I’m sure that is how a fair number of people actually define it, I’d like to give people some credit and assume the majority has better judgment than that.
I also come across something embodying the following:
- An intense need to criticize elected representatives
- A full embrace of science only
- And, an agreement on the on-demand recitation
In truth, this doesn’t seem much better.
So how do we find a compromise that both attends to our needs and makes the most sense given our current state of affairs? Is there anything that everyone should abandon? Is there anything that should be added that is missing here?
I’ll leave you what I responded to my dad’s post:
“I firmly believe that to be a true patriot is to love your country so much that you are willing to do everything in your power to better your country, and you better your country so that it will love more people than just you back, and more people can have the opportunity to love your country as you do.”
If it’s not very clear, all I’m saying there is that I have a strong pride in my country. In fact, I love it so much that I want to share it with all kinds of people, and give them the opportunity to love it as much as I do. In order to facilitate this, I think that we should have our country, government, and national identity be in a constant state of improvement and refinement. Change in order to create a better nation for all in equal measure should be a goal, not a philosophical exercise.
As readers, anyone who reads this is certainly welcome and encouraged to respectfully discuss and share opinions about what patriotism should really mean to us, regardless of choices in politics.