Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Patriotism

Patriotism:
Main Entry: pa·tri·ot·ismPronunciation: 'pA-trE-&-"ti-z&m, chiefly British 'pa-Function: nounDate: circa 1726: love for or devotion to one's country

Well, according to that definition, I am loaded with patriotism. I love my country, and have always felt privileged to have been born here. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear the Star Spangled Banner...and I do NOT think we should replace it with America The Beautiful, although that too can cause a throat lump or two. I fly my country's flag and love seeing it flapping in the breeze. Does this mean I have a corner on patriotism? Not at all.

I am relatively secure in the belief that Frenchmen feel patriotic, the British feel patriotic, Australians and Germans and Russians too. We all love out homeland and her accomplishments and place in the world. Each and every one of those countries, ours included has had those things in her history for which we feel less than great pride. But on a whole, we can all hold our heads up and say we are proud to be whatever nationality we are.

I am proud that I had ancestors who were willing to risk life in this great un-chartered, untamed world before we were even a country. They were the corner stones on which we have built this great country. I am proud of the Prussian immigrant who was my great grandfather, who came here, married, had a child and then enlisted in the Civil War, serving with great pride in his newly adopted country, in Hooker's Brigade. He was patriotic, but then so were all those who fought for the south. But, again, every country has her heroes...public and private.

Being a liberal American I feel, and maybe, just maybe, rightly so, that I am continuing to live the ideals on which this country was founded. I do not expect, however, that everyone I know, will feel or believe in my sort of Patriotism. But, we did set ourselves up to be the "shining beacon on the hill", to which all those in other countries longed to become a part. As Emma Lazarus so aptly put it...


Give me your tired your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these the homeless, tempest tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.


And so many did come. And so many went through hell upon arrival. But, they were determined to become Americans, and we could not have made it to the place we are at today if not for them all. True Patriots everyone.

Now there is a fly in the ointment of our patriotism. The neo-con right who tell us that we are NOT patriotic if we do not share their world view of our country. How dare they! As far as I am concerned they are the least patriotic group. They wrap themselves in the flag of their country, shout patriotism and then go about the slimy work of undermining everything that the rest of us hold dear.

I received a nasty little poem yesterday, from a friend. He feels as I do, but passed it on as just another indicator of how skewed the thinking is of those on the right and how they manage to get their message of bigotry and hate out there. The poem was about welfare and was based on the premise that all those entering our country today, are coming just to live off welfare. We have "the Great Communicator" to thank for that lie. Just who, exactly, is sucking more money out of this country? My bet is on Halliburton and a crazy, unwinnable, illegal war, compliments of George Bush & Co. Now who is taking advantage of the system?

We have come a long way and we have yet a long way to go. We have ground to gain back as it has been dug out from under us in the guise of patriotism. As long as we have a puppet president, one who allows those with an agenda set in fear and far from representing Patriotism running the show, we will have a lot to recover from as well. And we all need to pray that it will not be too late. Everyday that this man is in office represents another nail in my wonderful country's coffin. He has made us reviled the world around, and that makes me sad beyond words.

Hitler running roughshod over Poland. Soviet tanks running amok in Budapest. Who was not horrified at the naked aggression. We came to the aid of tiny Kuwait because of the aggression of Iraq. (Well maybe oil played a teensy, weensy part in that too...after all that WAS Bush I) But we were never the aggressor. We were the champion of the little guy. We helped those unable to help themselves. Somewhere along the way we have been duped...or at least a certain segment of our population has been duped...into believing that the behavior of this administration and it's agenda is patriotic. The perpetrating of "Shock and Awe" on helpless people is patriotic? Since when is sending our young men and women, our future, to die in Iraq, patriotic? Since when is being the bully boy on the block, the neighbor from hell, patriotic?

I still fly my flag proudly. I am still grateful that I am an American. I am still a patriot. Nowhere else in the world I would rather live. But now I am disheartened to see what those who call themselves patriots and great Americans, and protectors of our freedoms are doing in my country's name! They are making a mockery of Patriotism.

Well, I do not like it. It is NOT patriotic., and damn the eyes of anyone who says that it is. Their brand of Patriotism is one created by fear. Fear that has been manipulated for way too long now by a group which is exactly like that which our Founding Fathers sought to extricate us from over 228 years ago.

Now that the smoke from the holiday bonfires and fireworks has cleared, I hope some will be able to see more clearly that there is more to being patriotic than marching in lock step with those in Washington. Get your hands on a copy of the Constitution, really read it. Listen to the words. Read about Paul Revere, the Boston Tea Party and Concord Bridge. Patrick Henry's address to the Virginia Convention. Read about Nathan Hale. Read about anyone who has worked for the good of the entire country, and do not equate true patriotism with anything remotely involving George W. Bush!

Now go light up a sparkler!

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