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Happy US Independence Day!

In the spirit of the holiday, inspired by a feature in this week's Time, I'm going to present a question to you guys:

What does patriotism mean to you?


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2008 07:38 am (UTC)
Patriotism the way it seems defined today is terrifying to me. But if I were to reclaim the word and give it what I think is a fuller, more complex meaning, I think patriotism for me is a love for my nation that calls me to hold her to a higher standard, a love that means not letting her get away with hatred, bigotry, oppression, nonsensical imperialism, aggression and destruction. To me, it means being proud of my country when she lives up to her potential and striving to correct it when she doesn't.

Basically, it's not letting her off the hook just 'cause I happen to live here. It's not making excuses and pretending the rules don't apply.

My handy little dictionary says that patriotism is "a conviction of vigorously supporting one's country and being prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors." I would amend that and say it's being prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors, especially those who come from within.
Jul. 4th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
Having the guts and the right to tell my government I think it's screwed things up royally these past 8 years.

(But that sentiment stands under any circumstances, really: I agree with the film version of V for Vendetta on the "governments should be afraid of their people" score.)
Jul. 4th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
It means loving my country and seeking the best for its people. It means defending the greatest ideal of this country: freedom. It means I believe in what we should be, even though I hate much of what we have become.

The greatest threat to our freedom is internal. It's about time patriots realized that.

For me personally, it also entails being loyal and true, and not leaving the country just because rich assholes have fucked it up. I feel guilty because I often consider doing just that, and if things continue in this vein, I probably will.

I will always love America as I see her in my heart. Even if I have to leave her for my own safety, I will love her.
Jul. 4th, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)
Patriotism, to me, means caring enough for your country that you will never assume that it is correct, and always look for needed improvements, and work on bringing those improvements around if you can.
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
Patriotism to me is a love for my country through the belief that the people of this great nation. While our government may fuck up way too often, they do not define my America. A country is only as good as it's people. While it's people have some rough corners and some issues to deal with, I know in my heart that we have it in us to make the necessary changes and to reestablish The American Dream.

I'd also like to take a moment for some sad reflection while we're still at war. I read Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo a few years ago, and I have to admit it changed my perspective on a lot of things regarding my freedom. (I HIGHLY suggest both the book and the old movie if you can get your hands on it.)

The 1970's Addendum to the front of the book is what gave me the reality check, so I typed it up to put in my journal. You can click here to read."

Edited at 2008-07-04 01:43 pm (UTC)
Jul. 4th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Believing in and practicing the ideals that my country was founded upon, having the courage to view my country's actions, for better or worse, and working to change the negative aspects in order to form a more perfect union. Patriotism should never be blind loyalty; as we must embrace our own shadow side to understand our own wholeness, so must we do the same with our nation.
Jul. 4th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
Mark Twain (as quoted by Barack Obama) said it best, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
Jul. 4th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Patriotism is not dying for your country, it is living for your country and helping your country be the beacon to liberty it was meant to be for everyone. And I agree with the above posters that the govt. is meant to be afraid of the people, not the reverse; and that Mark Twain was right, as usual.

Paraphrased from Ben Franklin: People who relinquish freedom for security deserve neither.
Jul. 4th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, what everyone else has said. (Sorry, very fogged-in brain today.)
Jul. 4th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
I want to have the best possible society. I yearn for the United Sates to have the most advanced, green, fair, sustainable, tolerant country on the planet. I want us to trailblaze for the rest of the world & constantly be out in front on doing the right thing. I want the rest of the world to look at us and go "wow!" for all the right reasons.

I want the spirit of the Enlightenment, as represented by the great documents of our founding fathers (and unfortunately, not enough founding mothers) like the document we celebrate today to be injected into our government like a systemic infection. I want people to see that "government" as a concept is how we act in concert where acting individually is ineffective for achieving great goals.

I want our people to be the best educated and most participatory in that government. I want my fellow countrymen to care. And when they act, they should act unselfishly. And look for places and opportunities around the world to make peace instead of war or disharmony or disease or famine or environmental ruin. I want Americans to be on the forefront of science and to use that science for the benefit of all mankind.

I think Conservatives tend to view Patriotism as looking at the Country, declaring it perfect and not allowing anyone to speak a word against it. Liberals tend to look at the country and say "how great can we make it?" The Liberal position is clearly more patriotic.
Jul. 4th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
For me, it's less about the obligatory flag-waving and more about caring for the country, its people, and their rights. I think the government is all kinds of corrupt and is lacking the perspective of what matters. I think that feeling that way doesn't need to void a person's "patriotism", nor should anyone be obligated to be proud of their country if they are dissatisfied with what is happening in the government. I can personally go both ways with this: I can appreciate the good while desperately hoping for vast improvements.
Jul. 4th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
Pretty much what other people have said - loving my country enough to want to work to make it better. And loving it enough to recognize when it needs a gigantic kick in the pants.

Part of why I went to law school was because fundamentally I think that the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, is one of the most basically sound and inspirational documents in the world. It is a fabulous framework for a nation.

Today I hung out an American flag, not in support for our current government, but in support for what we can - and should - be.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense,promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

These words never fail to stir me.
Jul. 5th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
This is largely a reiteration of what others have said, but for me patriotism means imagining what this country has the potential to be, and speaking and acting out in hopes of doing my part to shape it toward that potential.

Dissent is, after all, the highest form of patriotism (well, you know, to me, anyway).

(I continue to be irritated that the right-wing channel on Sirius radio is called Sirius Patriot. Grr.)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )