Friday, April 18, 2008

On Patriotism

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?

Linda

4 comments:

deboradale said...

I agree with you, Linda. Some of the questions on these debates or interviews have me shaking my head. They are shallow for sure.

Suggestions to show patriotism? I'd say keeping informed. And 'informed' does not come from Fox News Channel or CNN alone but rather from a larger mix of news sources. Hearing how the rest of the world perceives us is vital, understanding and knowing what's happening in the rest of the world is just as vital. Americans tend to learn little about what's beyond their neighborhoods. Blind patriotism is foolish. Educated patriotism - the kind that has you standing for something, voting with wisdom not emotion, writing to representatives when they do something you like or otherwise - is the most useful kind of patriotism, in my opinion, because it helps make this country more as it was meant to be - for the people, by the people.

And I don't blame you for getting political, Linda. It's hard to avoid that in today's climate.

~Debbie

Linda McLaughlin said...

Debbie,

I agree with your about keeping informed. Sometimes I watch the BBC News to get a different perspective. And I'll confess to reading blogs, too. I find some interesting viewpoints that way, too.

This has been an interesting election cycle. I've watched most of the debates, both Republican and Democratic. We're going to be sick of it by November.

Linda

deboradale said...

I just hope we're not too sick of it to vote, you know?
~Debbie

Linda McLaughlin said...

Debbie,

I know what you mean. Voting is so important.

L.