Wednesday, July 02, 2008

On Patriotism

It is telling when a major party nominee for President of these re-United States believes it necessary to give a major speech devoted to allaying the fears of his fellow citizens regarding his patriotism. That any party, other than the American Nazi or American Communist (yes, they exist), would nominate a candidate about whom love of country is an open question is in itself a damning indictment of a significant portion of our citizenry's judgment. No one who would vote for or support someone purely on his passionate eloquence should ever cast aspersions on the good people of Germany circa 1934--1945.

The word patriotic has been bandied about a lot lately by the clamoring class (more like classless clamorers--but I digress). In the process, wholly new definitions of what it means to be a patriot have sprung up like noxious weeds in the garden of accuracy. Let's take a look at Webster's definition:

patriotic: pa·tri·ot·ic \pā-trē-ˈä-tik\ adjective
1 : inspired by
patriotism 2 : befitting or characteristic of a patriot
— pa·tri·ot·i·cal·ly
\-ti-k(ə-)\ adverb

Not much help there, Mr. Webster. Kind of like telling me that the definition of liberal is "one who is inspired by liberalism, or having the characteristics of a liberal." Let's see how Webster defines "patriot":

patriot: pa·tri·ot \ˈpā-trē-ət, -ˌät\ noun
1: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests

Now, there's a definition to sink our teeth into! Love of country. Support of its authority and interests. That's not what I hear when someone says they can vehemently disagree with our country's statutory authority and stated interest, and still be a patriot. What I hear them saying is "I'm a revolutionary." And, I make no judgment here--if you want to be a revolutionary, say so. Now, here's where I'll lose many of you--those who fought against the British crown 1775--1783 were revolutionaries (rebels), not patriots, despite our version of history. The true "patriots" were those (nearly half the population of the colonies) who remained loyal to Great Britain. Before you start screaming at the screen, let me add that I would have probably fought the British had I been an American colonist--I am a Rebel, after all.

My point in this meander is that if you want to wear the patriot's cloak, you need to put your money where your mouth is. I will go a step further out on this rhetorical limb--unless you have served your nation, or willingly sacrificed for it, you have no room, right, or reason to claim personal patriotism. My apologies to all of you for whom someone else served so that you didn't have to.

If you have to wear a flag pin to prove you are a patriot, you ain't one. You're just a citizen.
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