When Barack Obama was elected, somebody I knew said that was the first time she’d ever felt “patriotic”.  She is at least in her 30’s and I have to admit that I was little offended/depressed/surprised by her comment.  Offended because I find it personally hurtful that people don’t seem to appreciate the country we live in.  YES it has problems; huge, gigantic problems it seems.  But we can complain.  We can protest.  We can act out in whatever stupid way we want (think of that group that marches at soldier’s funerals).  This kind of freedom is just a hoped for dream in many countries.  Depressed because it saddens me when people take for granted those freedoms and liberties.  And surprised that there wasn’t one other time that she felt patriotic. 

After some thought, I realized she was equating patriotism with our government.  I see the government as an institution.  With all the problems and boundries that every institution has.  I usually equate the ‘government’ with screwing things up rather than patriotism. 

Patriotism is about the ideals of this country.  You know “We the people” or “give me liberty or give me death”.  Very soul stirring stuff.  It’s about the people who populate this country.  Yes, there are some very bad people but for the most part we are just people.  Making a living, loving and doing our thing but every now and then, wow, we are fabulous.  I’m talking goosebumps here … what about a group of people on a plane that sacrificed themselves rather than becoming a missile?  So they crashed that plane in a field in Pennsylvania.  Or all those people that ran towards the World Trade Center instead of away when the planes hit?  Or all the people who packed trucks and trucks of stuff (food, water, diapers, clothes etc) and then drove them to New Orleans?  And those people that felt compelled to jump in their own vehicle to drive to that same disaster area not knowing what they could do but knowing they had to do something?  And of course, every man and woman in the military who whether they give up their lives are actually WILLING to do so.  For you.  For me.  For some idiots right to burn the flag.  For another idiots right to spill hot coffee in their lap and then sue because they are an idiot.  But mostly for their Country — give me liberty or give me death indeed. 

If at least one of those times didn’t cause you to feel at least a modicum of pride in being an American than perhaps you need to examine what exactly being a patriot really means to you.  Or check to see if you still have a heart beat.


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