What is it to be a patriot

5 Jul

Most people who’ll read this know that July 4th is Independence Day in the USofA.

They know it either because they are US citizens/live in the US themselves, or because they are familiar with the date via media (Independence Day, Born the 4th of July, etc). Either way, most people–regardless of their own origin–understand national pride. And those familiar with US culture are probably aware that national pride/patriotism is usually expressed very loudly in the US.

Yesterday, Ken at Popehat (a blog I love, particularly his own posts), posted a very lovely and thoughtful piece on America’s exceptionalism:

“American exceptionalism is too often treated as plumage. It isn’t. It is a sought-for ideal.”

“We have not achieved American exceptionalism as a laurel on which we can rest. It’s a grimly determined acknowledgement of duty, not a complacent boast of accomplishment. American exceptionalism is a set of challenges to ourselves about liberty and equality and the rule of law and justice. We have not finished, and will never finish, the work to fulfill those challenges. American exceptionalism is not “I have earned this.” It’s “what can I do?””

Then, Ken linked to a story he posted last year (I read it then and it moved me as deeply then) about WWII Filipino veterans finally being granted citizenship–more than fifty years after Congress reneged on the promise made to them. Most of them died before another Congress, more than ten year later, granted them a meager lump sum in lieu of all the benefits they never received.

The United States of America are not exceptional, but the dream that made this country possible is a beautiful goal worth working for, a beacon of hope that shines for people all around the world. That’s why we come.

To be a patriot is to work towards that dream, to believe that you can make a difference and act accordingly. To keep an eye on, and disagree with, the machinery of the government when it abuses the powers granted by its citizens. Mindless cheering and willful blindness are not patriotism, but a dangerous path that leads to dark times for everyone–both the willfully blind and those who see clearly.

Be a patriot, do not remain silent, take action.

(With humble thanks to Greg for the tip)

3 Responses to “What is it to be a patriot”

  1. Lori 05/07/2013 at 1:24 PM #

    OMG! That clip was amazing.

    • azteclady 05/07/2013 at 1:50 PM #

      I know!

      I have seen ads for the show, but since I don’t watch tv, I really didn’t pay attention. But Jeff Daniels and Aaron Sorkin? I need to see this!

  2. Lea 06/07/2013 at 4:56 AM #

    I love this show. We’re about to start season 2 and I’m ready to bookmark and start again. A lot of it goes over my head, as did West Wing but there is something that keeps drawing me back. I’m sure you would both love it!

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