As we approach the celebration of America’s 242nd birthday we will be hearing a lot about the word Patriotism. I think this is a wonderful time to ask what Patriotism is. Is it blind obedience to whatever government is in power at the time? I don’t think so. Does being a Patriot require us to wear a uniform or serve in some government position? Not necessarily. Many patriots never serve a day. Is it saying “My country right or wrong?” The founders of our nation would rise up to a man in disagreement with that idea.
What is a Patriot?
From my perspective a true Patriot is one who follows the words and spirit of two of the most beautiful documents ever created; the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. This means we don’t pick and choose which of the rights we support. I know, it can be uncomfortable to support the rights of someone accused of a heinous crime, but that is one of the things which defines the concept of America; the right to a fair and open hearing. No one part of these two documents is more important than another. You may think it would be wonderful to have a national religion, but the freedom to choose our own religion or no religion at all is one of our precious rights. Freedom of speech transcends any administration, as long as that speech does not threaten others freedoms.
To be a Patriot is to honor ALL people, regardless of their skin color, national origin or economic status. It is to lend a hand to those in need and show them the promise of a better life is still represented by the Lady in the Harbor. These concepts are part of the fabric of what we stand for. They are what has made America a beacon of light to the world for almost 250 years.
Happy Fourth of July to Patriots everywhere.