The word patriotic has taken on uncomfortable connotations for those of us on the fringe, partly because of the Bush Administration’s deliberate creation of polarity instead of continuum. Patriotism is the love of or devotion to one’s country, but when you have poor laws like the Patriot Act (HR 3162) that do nothing but violate the fundamental law of the country (i.e., the Consitution) the meaning gets twisted.
And when you shout at me that I’m obviously not a patriot if I criticize the leader(s) of our country, then you further mis-use the word.
From my place here on the fringe, I look around and see a country made of of many different people with many different perspectives. We do very well as a country despite that variety, and in many cases because of it.
We are fortunate that the participants in the Second Continental Congress were, by and large, very intelligent. They drafted a foundation document that clearly declares why it is that this country is a dream for so many:
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.
This is deliberately universal language, lifting us to a high moral standard and accepting nothing less than our best — for ourselves and for each other. Its a governmental standard I can get behind, because my own moral compass is as rigorous.
Today we celebrate our founders’ declaration of Independence from Britain. think about that for a moment: Unlike some countries our independence day is not the day we won the war, its the day we said “enough! no more.” We are celebrating a non-violent moment. Again, this is a high standard to live up to.
I am blessed in many ways: I am healthy, I am wealthy (by any rtional standard), I have achieved some measure of wisdom, I am loved by the Gods, and I an American.