Equal laws protecting equal rights are the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country. –James Madison
Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever persuasion, religious or political. — Thomas Jefferson
It’s difficult for me to be patriotic. I’m never filled with pride at the mere sight of a waving flag. I never liked “pledging my allegiance” to anything other than a cross or my fellow human beings every morning at school. I never bought the whole “America-is-exceptional” story. I know too much history and read too much news for that.
It’s difficult for me to be patriotic. At least according to the definition that society has crafted over the years.
Being patriotic is not about denying the fact that America has a dark past and continues to portray itself as a savior of the world while playing the same game that all empires have played for thousands of years. For me, patriotism is about holding America to the standards that the founding fathers established. They may have been a group of old, white, and most likely racist men who would be shocked at cars, the Internet, women’s rights, gay rights, and so on, but they were smart enough to know that America would change. Their values were purposely vague, and I believe that’s because they knew that the America they founded would not be the same America hundreds of years later. A lot of people make a big deal about “what the founding fathers intended,” but if we asked them, they would probably throw their hands up in the air and say, “That doesn’t matter now! Things are different. Why are you asking us? We gave you some guidelines, now make it work.”
Patriotism is also about unity. There are two things I cannot stand: 1) Questioning someone’s religious devotion based on politics and 2) Questioning someone’s patriotism because of their politics. Assuming someone is not outright saying, “America is the worst. It shouldn’t exist. I revoke my citizenship,” they are most likely invested in politics and what is going on because, ultimately, they love their country and the people in it. You can say, “Your idea is terrible for America, mine is better,” but DO NOT say, “You hate America, and that’s why you have this idea.” A bunch of conservative pages on Facebook featured two pictures, one of President Bush and one of President Obama, and were trying to make a statement about the “difference” between the two’s patriotism. This was on the Fourth of July. That is a very low blow and the Fourth is not the day for partisan politics. Come on.
I love America because it is my home. Something about this country drew my ancestors from Europe, Japan, and Okinawa, and something about it is keeping me here. I have been given great opportunities and because I love America, I want to make sure that everyone gets those same opportunities.