I was thinking about this the other day. Okay, I admit- my thoughts were provoked by three things. 1) a bunch of American flags fluttering outside someone's house, 2) a bunch of yellow ribbons tied around trees, and 3) two American flags on the back of someone's motorcycle. Don't ask me why he needed two. I have no idea.
Anyway. My question is this- what is patriotism? What comprises patriotism?
I don't think patriotism includes blindly following a certain party because they profess to be 'American'. Nor is patriotism hanging an American flag outside your house. Nor is patriotism merely acceding to the demands of our politicians, or accepting what they do. Neither, in my opinion, is patriotism agreeing with a war merely because we're fighting it.
Some of those reasons are misguided. Some are silly. And some are just...well, lemming-ish.
When we think patriotism is based on what party we are a part of, we're really just giving in to pride about how smart we are. Patriotism is not based on your beliefs. Patriotism is also not based on a show in front of your house, either of American flags or little yellow ribbons. That leads into the war thing.
Just because we're fighting a war, doesn't mean you have to support it. And just because you don't support it doesn't make you less American. It makes you critical, but not un-American. Patriotism is also not just submitting to what our politicians do. We are the bosses of our politicians, and as such we should be active.
And that is what I think patriotism is- having a healthy, yet critical, love for your country, but not one that amounts to fanaticism. We do not want American fanatics. Patriotism is being able to acknowledge that your country has faults, but being willing to do something about those faults.