Exactly what is called for when citizens are to be patriotic? Clearly patriotism asks for some form of love for the nation in which one was born and/or currently lives. It is only natural, one grows up loving the members of their own family. Human nature almost automatically produces these positive feelings toward those things with which one is familiar - evidenced in things such as cheering for hometown sports teams.
There is no requirement for reason or for contemplation to be involved. Patriotism is a 'gut' feeling that surfaces all by itself. Examination, speculation, observation, study, scrutiny and other mental activities, when applied to the values and ideals of 'loyalty' toward family or city or country only serve to complicate the issues. Patriotism only asks for 'love of'...
A person, for example, can be patriotic and still refuse to travel around the world to kill others in support of his or her government with whom he or she disagrees on moral, political and/or ethical terms. One can love their own country while acknowledging what one considers to be serious failings in their country just as one can love their family and recognize that their family fails to perform in some manner that is important to the observer.
As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July, we can look at history to understand how this 'holiday' came into being, and we can look at current conditions in our nation to understand where we stand in regard to our stated purpose that led us to this national display of patriotism.
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress, adopted the Declaration of Independence declaring the 13 colonies to be an independent nation, free from the rule of King George III and the British Empire.
While virtually all of us are familiar with the words used to frame the Declaration of Independence, "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...", almost none of us reflect on what those words mean and how they have been applied in this 'great' nation.
And while 'self evident' seems obvious, we absolutely disregard the "all men are created equal" or we would not have our on-going difficulties between blacks and whites for just one example. This same concept would apply to whites and Native Americans, whites and Mexicans, and whites an Asians as well as applying to Christians and Jews, or Christians and Muslims, or Christians and Hindus... right up to applying this to Americans and everyone who is not an American...
We don't even know what the phrase "inalienable rights" is supposed to mean. We have constant battles in congress and in the courts to determine which right belongs to which person or group of persons. Who has the right to do what (vote, for example) and who has the right to say what or to think what. We clearly believe that some people should have rights (the wealthy), but others (the poor) do not deserve to have those rights.
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is good for some people. But if poor, and especially if poor and a minority, then this doesn't apply to you. In fact, for you it can be quite the opposite... death, prison and misery.
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 advocating independence from Great Britain to people in the Thirteen Colonies. Written in clear and persuasive language, Paine used moral and political arguments to encourage common people in the Colonies to fight for egalitarian government. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title, and is still in print today. It could be beneficial if read and understood today.
Those very same moral and political arguments are applicable in America today.
But, perhaps reading such material requires too much thought and examination and speculation and study.
Perhaps that is why the 4th of July has been reduced to bargain shopping including the purchase of American flags to be waved wildly on our day off from work while we celebrate with parades, picnics and fireworks - now, that's good old fashioned patriotism... and that's the truth !!!
of Various Subjects