This is a difficult time to be an American. We are suffering from a severe identity crisis abroad, for one thing. We seem to have acquired the schoolyard bully reputation and I fear it will take us a long time to win back the respect of other countries. If we ever do. It all depends on the next administration, because let's face it, this administration has repeatedly shot itself in the foot and the patient is terminal.
But I still feel proud to be an American. Regardless of the efforts of the current bunch of bozos at the helm to rewrite the Constitution, our founding fathers established a great nation on sound principles that will no doubt stand the test of time for another few generations. The best thing about our country is that sooner or later the idiots get bounced and another group gets a chance to clean up the mess left behind.
It's our history that continues to give me a sense of pride and a reason for patriotism. So, it was with some consternation that I read the latest Dixie Chicks' symptom of hoof-in-mouth disease.
I'm still a Dixie Chicks fan and I understand completely why they are sitting in the corner with their lower lips pushed out and their arms crossed. The first mis-guided comment caused a small earthquake in the country music community when it should have slid by unnoticed. After all, they are not the first people to criticize the Prez and they certainly won't be the last and who cares what their political opinion is anyway. They are three 30-something girls that sing. Poor Natalie said what she thought, which by the way is the primary reason we all like being American. She didn't say you had to agree with her. Though I did, so it didn't bother me one little bit.
But God forbid you criticize the government say the pious ones. Since when? For pity sakes there are still Republicans out there that are pointing out the foibles of the Clinton administration and the man's been out of office for 6 years. Give it a rest, people, and get a life. Methinks thou doth protest too much and are trying to point the finger away from issues that really should be dissected in broad daylight.
When I read that Natalie had made another statement, again to a British audience, I just shook my head. But turns out it bothered me this time. "...I don't understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but, as for loving the whole country ... I don't see why people care about patriotism."
Poor Natalie must not have a feeling of her place in history. I understand she's pissed off because her basic AMERICAN right to speak her mind bought her a boat load of personal misery from the hands of some loud mouthed narrow-minded people who themselves do not "get" patriotism.
Patriotism is about feeling pride in the land you were lucky enough to be born in because your ancestors fought against forces that limited their freedom and won the right for you to be able to speak your mind any time you feel like it. Patriotism is about feeling pride that your country generally tries to do the right thing, even though it steps on its own foot trying to do so. Patriotism is feeling pride because even though the government fumbled in providing disaster relief, the PEOPLE stepped in and gave money, time and themselves to get things rolling.
Patriotism is also about recognizing that you have to extend the right of freedom to your fellow citizens to speak their minds, even when they disagree with you. They have an equal right to criticize the government when they think it is going down the wrong path. If there is any one freedom we should celebrate, it is that freedom of thought and speech. Without that basic freedom, you might as well live in the Middle East and let a few rich men tell you what to do with every waking minute of your day and imprison you or worse if you show the slightest tendency to buck their authority.
What makes this country the greatest on earth is that it is a government OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE AND BY THE PEOPLE. And you're not going to like everything and everybody all the time. But when you don't like what's going on, you can do your part to change things by getting out there and voting for the way it should be. Regardless of what some folks who are in office at the moment seem to think, their day in the sun will come to an end one of these days and things will swing a different direction and the United States of America will keep going so long as the PEOPLE take an interest and make their choices of conscience at every opportunity presented.
Why patriotism? Because you're damned lucky to live here, that's why. We may not be perfect, but the PEOPLE are the best collection of folks you can ever hope to find anywhere else on earth. Long may they govern.
LSW, United States Patriot