‘Love for, or devotion to one’s country’ is a fairly simple definition for Patriotism. Yet with in those seven meaningful words lies a universe of interpretation. Your idea of love and devotion, are there limitations to love and devotion? Is it without question? Undying? What is country? The Government, the land, history, the people? All of it? For most Americans, our love for our country is rooted in our Constitution, our history. However you define the word, it’s more than a word, being a belief system. ‘We the people’ defines a dream, a collective belief for every word and sentence that follows. While collective, dreams are also personal. And changing. It’s one of the reasons our Constitution is a living breathing document. So too is our Declaration of Independence, with the preamble, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Words that speak to personal truths, equality, personal religious beliefs and our basic human rights as citizens, and as human beings. All men are equal. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are our rights, our legacy, given to us by whatever creator we believe in. Rights expressed as truth that is evident to all.
This is where my patriotism lies, in ‘We the people’ and the preamble of the Declaration. My patriotism is not toward political party, our military, our president, our culture, our society, our media, but to each other, to my fellow citizens. It is a belief that regardless of who you are, where you’re from, who you worship, you’re sexual beliefs, or the color of your skin, we are equals, standing before our makers at the end of the day, naked and responsible for our behaviors. That each of us are entitled to our lives, to be free, to be happy.
We live in interesting times, heartbreaking times. Where patriotism is defined as loyalty. Not to a belief, but to party, to religion, to race, to culture, to people who are like minded. So much so, that there are those who betray American ideals for petty dictators, expressing their belief that patriotism is rooted in strength and oppression. Gone is the belief of equality, the dream of a better world quashed under the hollow words of subservience to the cause.
We have never been a perfect nation, we will never be a perfect nation. There will always be injustice, and inequality, there will always be wrongs, but as Americans, our history has been to resolve those wrongs. Yes, it has taken time. Yes, we have failed at times, and we continue to take our time, and we continue to fail on issues that need to be resolved. Time and failures are not reasons to cast one’s loyalty toward a given person, a particular party, or a foreign government. Doing so, refutes all that we have achieved as Americans, denying our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.