September 04, 2008

Patriotism

I have a confession to make.

I am not always proud of my country.

When I think of the waste we produce, and how we deplete our natural resources and contribute towards global warming, I am not always proud. When our country stands by while atrocities are committed in the Congo and Darfur, I am not proud. It disappoints me that with our vast power and resources, we don't take more responsibility for protecting the least among us, in our own country, and the global community.

There has been a running theme at the Republican National Convention where the speakers all talk about how they've always been proud to be Americans, as if that makes them more patriotic. The definition of patriotism is love and devotion for one's country. Pride not required. I believe it's possible to love this country and all of the many things it offers, and to still feel that we can do a better job than we have done, of working towards a world where those advantages can be available to those who struggle.

From the earliest days of this country with the Salem witch trials, the forced relocation of the Native Americans, the practice of slavery, the war between the states, black listing during World War II, Japanese internment camps, the bombing of Hiroshima, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the KKK, the Guatanamo Bay imprisonment of persons who have not been charged with a crime, provided legal representation or a trial by jury, and every war we're ever fought in where we sent our willing soldiers off to certain death- I have trouble believing that people who lived through any of those events, have always been proud of their country.

The Founding Fathers began the Constitution by saying:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."
Don't you see? They knew this country wasn't perfect.

They knew this country was a work in progress.

I believe that it still is.

2 comments:

Mom said...

Beautifully written. And spot on.

Tom said...

Very nicely done.