March 30, 2008
“What does it mean to be Patriotic?
By Larry John
There is no doubt about it - most of us have grown up to believe that being patriotic is not only important, but mandatory to be a real citizen of the United States. I have always considered myself patriotic even though as I grow older my definition has totally changed. Some people believe that being patriotic means to support the leadership of the country 100% and not doubt their direction and motives. I certainly used to believe that. The mantle of the President of the United States was nearly an infallible position as perhaps even given to him by God. Many still believe that. People believe that we are the only true God certified and validated country of the world. The United States is God’s true country. After all, we are a Christian country and God, of course, is a Christian. It makes perfect sense to them. Not to me.
I make it my responsibility to continue to doubt the decisions and motivations of all elected officials. Very seldom are their motives pure and made for the common good for all citizens. It is clear that greed governs most of their decisions and direction. “Follow the money” still is important advice in most cases. The concept of a pure democracy may be ideal but could never work for very long. The human desire for greed and power always gets in the way. Thus, what does it mean to be patriarchic? It certainly can’t mean to follow blindly without questioning. If it does I am definitely not patriotic. When we live in a “police state,” and call that freedom, we are turning a blind eye to the obvious. Being patriotic means you see things as they are and don’t passively “wave your flag” when atrocities are occurring. We must talk about the atrocities and get others to talk about them and start a quiet revolution of positive change. If you want to be patriotic do more than to just accept bad government. If you love your country, be patriotic enough to point out the evils of men. If people’s rights are being taken away saying “there is nothing we can do” doesn’t work. And the simple solution is to talk to each other about the problem…and the more people talk, the more we can change things. Talking doesn’t kill people. And if we talk we must be willing to listen. We must talk about the “hard” subjects in a peaceful way. It is amazing how much talking will change the world.
Like I said, blindly following is not what it means to be patriotic. It is quite the opposite. Patriotism to me is doing what is best for the people of your country and the people of the world, with conscious disregard for your own personal interests. Patriotism means saying what needs to be said, regardless of political correctness and willing to suffer the consequences of your actions. All actions must be legal; however, there is so much we can do that is legal that may have consequences. Patriotism means talking about things that no one wants to talk about like race, gender, ideologies, politics, religion, and all the topics of life that divide us. It is by the medium of personal communication with others that progressive changes of life begin. We must talk openly without getting so mad and upset that we stop talking. To communicate less will never change anything. The problems will only fester more and more until the only solutions are war or revolution. We must learn to talk.
If we want to be patriotic we must be able to love and hate our nation. We must be able to praise our country without becoming so prideful that we think our way of thinking is the only way to think. We live in a world of people… it is not just us and them. A representative democracy is only one of many ways we as people can choose to be governed. A parliamentary democracy for Britain works for them, and frankly many dictatorships work for other nations. We must be patriotic enough to refuse to go to war and demand that our leaders talk with other nations. We should be wise enough to protect our borders, but we are not the “police” of the world…and no nation should be. That is patriotic thinking.
I am patriotic, but mindless flag waving is stupid. See the sins of our nation and stop the madness. Be a part of the solution not the problem. The problem is anything that divides us. Bring people together. Killing the people of the world so they will be like us is not a solution to achieving peace on earth. We need to talk more and kill less. That’s what it means to patriotic.