Much like manliness, I'm pretty sure patriotism is subjective. But what are your opinions on what is patriotic? What do you do to celebrate living in your home country?
I consider myself to be a very patriotic person. I fly a flag religiously, and I even retire my own. I'm a Republican who will offer support to whomever has the Presidency. I admit that I'm brought to tears at War Memorials across the nation, and I proudly support all our men and women in uniform. I'm more proud to be an American than I am of anything else.
For me, Patriotism is first and foremost about gratitude; for the people who fought and died to bring peace and justice, for those who continue to fight and risk their lives to do so, and for those that maintain and enforce the laws of our country. People can show that gratitude in any number of ways, but they should show it somehow.
I've said it somewhere else on AOM, but for all its faults, the U.S. of A is the best system out there. I'm the beneficiary of many of the freedoms, protections, and privileges of my nation, and showing your love, pride, and support for her is simply good manners.
Whereas most countries have been founded on the basis of a culture, language, religion, or ethnicity, the U.S. was established as a system of laws. As a lawyer, I love that. I've heard it said (and it makes sense if I think about it, but I haven't verified it), that it's the world's oldest existing system of government. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
I don't celebrate any other country than which I live in. My Dad has an Irish flag everywhere he can possibly put one, but I have not actual connection to Ireland and I don't want to be a poser. I have wanted less and less in the last year to even fly an American flag, as the our country is changing rapidly before our eyes.
To some patriotism is more about where they came from than where they are. For me it is about where I am, and why I love what I love. But lately it has become less about what I love, because what I love about my country is fading away. That is what patriotism is for me, in a more lengthy way of saying, per request.
True patriotism hates injustice in it's own land more than anywhere else. - Clarence Darrow
I think we should distinguish between blindly accepting the actions of the president or government as patriotic out of "respect" for the office. Remember, in America, the government is for the people, by the people. There is nothing more patriotic than standing against those who would have you believe otherwise.
I'm moved by the quotation of Union General Carl Shurz (later Senator, and still later, Secretary of the Interior): “My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”
That's what loving your country is all about. There's nothing unpatriotic about dissent-- indeed every great American patriot has been a dissenter in some fashion. Consider the final couplet of the second verse of America the Beautiful: "America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw; Confirm thy soul in self control, thy liberty in law!"
As has been mentioned, patriotism can take on many forms.
For myself, I look at it as a give and take.
Patriotism to me is the respect and gratitude I show towards the things that this country gives us. War Memorials, and flags are nice, obvious examples, but there are many, less subtle gifts that our country gives us that we think are so blatantly obvious, we assume that they are human rights and not just the rights of the US citizen.
That is the take part of patriotism, now time for the give.
Patriotism goes beyond more than admiration, it is what YOU are doing to make your country a better place. Are you volunteering? I keep having Kennedy's quote running through my head.
Patriotism is more than admiring your country, it's what are you doing so your country admires you?
With that said, I will reiterate something I mentioned in another thread. I have never, EVER been more appreciative of the way of life as a United states as when I spent two weeks in China. One cannot comprehend the subtle gifts that this country gives it's people until you have to go without.
That is a point of view I can't see from yet, but I hope that eventually, I will be able to.
Many of you seem to be echoing a common theme: Do not blindly follow, and make attempts to right wrongs. I think you all are absolutely right. This is what it means to be American: To have a voice in politics and, more importantly, to use it. I don't know how many letters I've written to that new young guy in congress, but I like to think that they make a difference.
Most people posting also sound like Americans, I wonder if any others would care to share their opinions on patriotism.
I'm surprised nobody has used this quote yet. It is the best description of patriotism I have ever found.
"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain.
I know it follows that theme that's been running rampant through this thread, but it's short, sweet and to the point.
Since your search for more of a world wide perspective, I have this limited view point to offer. When I was in England, talking with others this quote seems to fit there ideal of patriotism as well. They were proud to be where they were from but had no reservation voicing their complaints. If there is a difference, they did not appear as likely to sugar coat what is on their mind for the sake of political correctness. I would be happy to hear a contrasting view point from a resident of the UK.
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