When I started this blog, I swore to myself I wouldn't let it get political. Up until this week, that wsn't a problem. But then I watched the recent Democratic Debate on ABC and found myself disgusted and incensed by the shallow nature of many of the questions.
I found the "lapel pin" question particularly annoying. Since when is a flag pin made in China the sum total of patriotism? It's a nice symbolic gesture, and I've been known to wear one on occasion, but the lack of one shouldn't be construed as having any meaning. As my mother always taught me, actions speak louder than words. "What you do speaks so loud, I can't hear what you say" was one of her favorite sayings. To me, patriotism isn't something you wear on your lapel; it's something you hold dear in your heart.
However, the question did get me to thinking about the meaning of patriotism and how best to show it. We all can't, or shouldn't, serve in the military or run for public office. So how can a private citizen demonstrate his or her patriotism? Here are a few of my ideas.
1. Pay attention and make up your own mind. A democracy depends on an informed citizenry.
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." -- Thomas Jefferson
2. Vote. 'Nuff said.
3. Find a way to give back. President Kennedy famously said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. - - ask what you can do for your country. "
Now I'm not saying we should all run out and join the Peace Corps. There are other ways to give back. Donate money to a good cause, perhaps a veteran's charity. If you don't have any money to spare, volunteer your time locally to help others. Like it or not, we're all in this together.
I'm sure there are other ways to show your patriotism. Any suggestions?