Since the terrifying events of September 11, 2001 most Americansconsider themselves patriotic or “patriots”. However, it is awful opportunefor people all of a abruptly consider themselves patriotic. Are theypatriotic because they sympathize for thousands of lives taken onSeptember 11th ? Do they consider themselves patriots because they have aflag on the back of their car ? Maybe they believe they are true patriotsbecause they simply love the “amber waves of grain” and the “purplemountains majesty”. There are so many meanings to what people considerpatriotism that the true meaning is so ambiguous that it leaves itself opento many botched interpretations.
What is true patriotism then?To begin with, the definition of patriotism according to MerriamWebster’s Dictionary states that patriotism is, “love for or devotion toone’s country”. Obviously that definition is too open to interpretation. Asoldier can say they went off to war because they love their country, andvery well do love their country. However, that same soldier was also senthome for being inhumane and tormenting prisoners of war. That type ofconduct is hardly patriotic. Many people cheat on their taxes, continuallyspeed on their way to work or never vote.
However, If you were to ask thosepeople if they were patriotic they would vehemently agree they were. Patriotism clearly relies on peoples daily actions, and not emotions. Continually, the Encyclopedia Britannica states that patriotism is,”founded to preserve, protect, and hand down the traditions and values of anation”. Clearly, this definition has a wide variety of meanings as well. How do we protect our traditions and values? Everyone has their own valuesand personal traditions.
Isn’t that why our country is so great because weare free to think, say and practice whatever we want? Many people are verypro-abortion rights while our president feverishly condemns it. Someone isnot viewed less patriotic because they do not believe in every law or partof the constitution. While some stand against our nations current view ofabortion it surely wouldn’t make them less patriotic. On the other hand, ifsomeone makes a point to stand against the war in Iraq they, more thenlikely, are labeled unpatriotic. Understanding the core values of Americarequires appreciating and respecting the constitution, our past and others.
Thus, handing those traditions and values down to future citizens. Furthermore, after Sepetember 11th there has been an onslaught ofpeople wanting to help and learn what it is to be a good American thus,showing their patriotism. There are many websites on the subject and how toget involved with our country. One in particular(www. sustainourfuture.
org/Patriotism/) gives a very comprehensive meaningto the word patriotism. Basically, true patriotism consists of seventruths. First, we must support the values of America. Second, everyoneshould be informed and vote. Third, everyone should do their part toprotect our civil liberties. These are most raw and valued laws that allowus to live and practice free will.
Fourth, make sure we have a sustainablefuture. This guarantees that we have a healthy, safe, and beautifulenvironment for many generations to come without pollution and attacks onall of our natural environments. Fifth, that we should reduce ourdependency on the Middle East. Our countries use of oil should bemonitored by citizens by using less and conserving gas on a daily bases. This will prevent having to ruin natural recourses and our country havingto make policies that are not actually in America’s best interest. Sixth,is that we as Americans should be willing to die for something noble andhonorable.
This is exceptionally personal because what people believe to benoble and honorable is always different. Maybe you consider dying for yourcountry honorable or maybe your family. Either way it is noble to you. Lastly, Americans should always show compassion and consideration to allpeople. This is “The Golden Rule”.
Americans should always show compassionto the fellow many and allow themselves to empathize with the plight ofevery man. Clearly, these seven points are the most concise opinion of whatpatriotism is. Although the definitions and feelings toward patriotism are all verydifferent: at the core lies the individual American. Only when theindividual American truly strives to be the best person they can be andobey the laws of the land they represent true patriotism.
Hard, honestworking Americans whose daily actions are noble and responsible are truepatriots no matter what they believe in or love..