Saturday, January 17, 2009

Patriotism: What it means

Patriotism means different things to different people. Patriotism in a strict sense means love for or devotion to one's country. This is not really a very descriptive dictionary meaning and there is a need for expounding on what patriotism really means. I wrote an earlier article asking for all Americans to remember those that are deployed busy protecting our freedoms. One reader to this request of remembrance inquired "Do you think it’s possible to love your country and disagree with its decision to go to war? and took my request out of context. The answer to this question is obvious, yes it is possible to love your country and disagree with its decision to go to war. However, the answer is much deeper than a simple yes or no. we have to add some context in order to present a clearer picture of what the real question is and then answer.

First, the answer is obvious in the sense that it is more than possible to love your country and disagree with it simultaneously. It happens in love everyday. I disagree with my spouse on many things. We come from two extremely different cultures. I'm from rural America, my spouse from one of the largest cities in the world. I grew up in a free America, my spouse understands totalitarianism. Yes we have very distinct disagreements on certain subjects. But we don't have to go to the extremes to understand that disagreement doesn't necessarily mean not loving or being devoted. The question can not be answered in the obvious. In order to truthfully answer the question we must take into account actions. It is the actions of the individual that will determine the love and devotion the individual has.

In the context of the Iraq war sure it is possible to disagree with the war and still love your country. However, fringe elements commit unpatriotic acts when they strike out in violent and unlawful demonstration. It's not patriotism when fringe elements plot violent protests. Its not patriotic to set explosives off with the intent of damaging property or maiming and killing fellow Americans. This is the case of Barack Obama's pal William Ayers. William Ayers will never be able to credibly claim he is an American patriot. He and his fellow underground weathermen are criminals that spit upon their country. Burning the American flag is not patriotism. It may be a right, and it may be an expression of free speech, but burning the symbol of America is not patriotism. This act may be legal and it may be a right but it is not patriotic. Fringe elements like "Code Pink" that steal press credentials to illegally enter for purposes to disrupt others rights to free speech is not patriotic. It is illegal, pathetic and stupid.

Now I don't agree with everything my country does. I'm not enamored with the idea of bailing out labor unions and corporations. Any bailout of the US automakers is a crime against America in my opinion. The industry did not move with the changing times. The industry is relic living in the past. The unions have priced themselves out of the competitive market. Now I as an American taxpayer am expected to bailout both the union and the corporations. Now you can bet that I will voice my displeasure. I will and have written letters to my representatives in the house and senate voicing this displeasure. I have written on this blog which is available to everyone on the net. But what I will not do is plot the overthrow of my government. I will not plot to destroy a part of American infrastructure. I will not set explosives, damage property, or maim or kill my fellow Americans. Therein lies the difference between an American exercising freedom with a philosophy of the ends justifies the means and the American Patriot that will make sacrifices and compromises to defend a nation.

To the person that asked the question (Mary), yes you may disagree with the war and still love and be devoted to your country. However, with that being said when you spit upon those that are carrying out lawful orders and sacrificing their families, livelihoods, and lives for America that is not patriotic. The soldiers of America did not start this war. The soldiers are carrying out the orders of the leadership in America. By snubbing and forgetting about them just because you disagree with America is the same as burning the flag in my opinion. You are destroying a symbol of our strength. You are destroying the fabric of America by creating divisions among the citizens of my great country. Try destroying, forgetting, or ignoring, a friend, lover, or spouse, and see if the love transcends the hatred. I can guarantee you that if you set out to diminish a partner in a relationship the relationship will not last. Patriotism is much more than claiming to be an American. It is much more than attempting to make America better. Patriotism is also about an undying faith in the principles that make my country great. Patriotism is being supportive even in disagreement. Patriotism means not always getting your way but always remaining faithful. We can change American but we should not destroy American symbols or ignore the people that make it great. Patriotism is love and devotion. Sometimes in America we have to do things we don't like or agree with. Always remember God, country, flag and you will be a patriot.


jeanniejo said...

Political Lizard Annex:

Thanks so much for a beautiful page. Patriotism is a gift we should share with others. It isn't a gift that is earned; but is it a gift that is learned.

Jeremy E. Sarber said...

Very well-written. Thanks.

L said...

What do you mean always remember God, country, and flag to be a patriot?

What if I'm an atheist?