Monday, August 25, 2008

The Essence of Patriotism

There is a lot of strife in our country right now about who's a patriot and who's not; and what actions constitute the accusation of a lack of patriotism. I should know, I've accused certain members of the liberal establishment of not being patriotic (and sometimes downright treasonous) myself. However, I think that maybe I can help shed a little light into this important discussion (instead of throw gasoline onto the fire) if I can give a very specific, well-reasoned view of what I believe patriotism to be.

There are those who believe that this world should be perfect. They will not even vote because neither candidate will be able to achieve their notion of perfection. They, admirably enough; want everyone on earth to be equal and happy and believe that they are entitled to zero violence, equality of property and wealth, and no suffering anywhere in the world. Surely this is a noble desire, there's no one who could complain if that happened. But their worldview incorporates America as a facilitator of this; and if we are not causing a perfect world, then we are still a nation of "evil."

They look at these things with a sense of entitlement. That they're a given, and since America is not delivering them, America is thus "evil" and not good.

I see differently.

I look at my nation and feel gratitude, not entitlement. I look at it as something that could of course use refining, but the idea in actualized form is great and just. I look at the sacrifice of my country- how much bled we have shed for the idea that men everywhere should be free. I start from a position of "my country is the greatest...and here's how I can make it better."

Since its founding, no country has ever done more good in the world; we have sacrificed American blood on foreign ground, fully believing the principle that as a shining example to the world; we will not only be proof that democracy works and is empowering; but that we believe it should be so for ALL people of all nations- we will not let stand tyranny or oppression of free people. People complain about us being "the world's police"- since when is backing up your ideas of freedom and democracy a bad thing? Why should we not dedicate our very lives to the freedom of others?

One thing I am simply incapable of understanding is that we should be donating more money to poorer countries- but war is never an option. Military action is never an option. If we donated supplies and money to places like Africa, and don't back it up- the strong take from the weak, they never get to where they were meant to go. We are only empowering the oppressors; giving them more leverage. It's happened before, what makes us think it will not happen again; either there or elsewhere? When it comes down to it; nothing is so effective as force when it comes to dealing with tyranny. All the prettily-spoken words in the world would not have brought foreign-owned colonies to the independent world superpower we are today. Ideas must be reinforced with sacrifice, not more ideas. Not even money is always the best option. To say that drastically reducing our expenditure on national defense and the military in general is not in our best interests whatsoever- especially since our "allies" use as little money on military as possible. We only spend 4% of our GDP on national defense, they spend even less. With Russia and China both bulking up as quickly as possible, as well as terrorist-sympathizing countries and leaders trying to attain nuclear weaponry; with what reason can someone suggest this?

Instead of looking to America and our government to solve all of our problems; we need to be grateful that our country gives us the opportunity to solve them ourselves. We need to take real pride in our country's history and ideals, starting from the position of gratitude towards our forefathers.

We also need to be aware that we're not perfect of course (though easily the greatest nation in the history of nations); and need to be trying to improve America. Be that as it may we must never think of our own country as evil in itself- because of what it is; we can always change it to be better. It is our own actions that guide this country's course throughout history, it is our responsibility to both take pride in our country and to ensure that it stays the course the Founding Fathers set for it so long ago. Is it too much to ask to unite over one common thing, to each say "America is great. America is a source of good. I love my country." Because if you believe that, if we all start from that position and then let our passions and ideas roam free; then we can finally accomplish something. If NOTHING else, those of you who disagree with loving your country from default should at LEAST love it for the fact that you don't have to. You can change America yourself, so there is no reason to be calling it "evil."

So, I'm going to start. I love my country. I am grateful for it, and for its founders. I am grateful for my freedom to love it and disagree with others and to state my own ideas in whatever form I wish. America is the closest humanity has ever come to spreading the idea that all men are free.

In short: I am a patriot.

Who is with me?


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