Patriotism. How does your brain compute that word?
Like many other words, it has a specific thread, its own baggage, and various hang-ups throughout history.
Many of us may know it to simply refer to a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. Others, on the other hand, may feel there is a negative connotation as political debates toss the term “be a patriot” out in attempts to shame a person into conceding their point.
Recently, I’ve found myself deeply curious about the meaning of patriotism.
In reverence to those that have fallen, it is worthwhile to reflect and revisit on what it means to be a patriotic American.
I pray we explore these words with an open heart, allowing ourselves to be renewed, educated, and proud to be American—not just a few years a day, but all 365 of them.
1. “True patriots examine the basis of our republic, and stand for it—not a president, not a policy, and they do not allow fear to do their choosing between right and wrong.” ~ Christine Smith
2. “In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” ~ Mark Twain
3. “True patriotism doesn’t require that we all join the military. It does require us all to show up more, contribute more, participate more, be more useful to more people. To vote, volunteer, serve, listen, learn, empathize, circulate power rather than hoard it.” ~ Eric Liu
4. “In reality, anyone who would label another American citizen as being ‘un-American’ solely because of their political position and disagreement with the man who now holds the office of President, is hypocritically contradicting themselves. To be ‘American’ is to practice our free speech in the public forum no matter how popular or unpopular one’s position may be. To be a patriot is to love our country and support our nation…it does not mean support for a president’s actions…on the contrary, a patriot looks to the U.S. Constitution and upholds the principles on which this republic was founded.” ~ Christine Smith
5. “Patriotism is like the love that most of us have for our families. Even though we know they aren’t perfect and could stand to work on a few things for their–and our–benefit, we are loyal to them. But we will continue to push them to grow and better themselves, not because we are ashamed of them, but because we love and are proud of them.” ~ Gina Barreca
6. “Throughout our nation’s history, radicals and reformers have viewed their movements as profoundly patriotic. They have believed that America’s core claims–fairness, equality, freedom, justice–were their own. In the midst of current patriotic exuberance both authentic and manipulated, then, it is useful to recall the forgotten cultural legacy of the left. We need to ask, once again, ‘What is America to us?’” ~ Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks
7. “True patriots, regardless of where they stand on the issues, love truth. Truth must be your highest priority. A love of truth requires an in-depth research and consideration of the decisions being made, in our name and supposedly on our behalf, by our rulers.” ~ Christine Smith
8. “[T]he higher patriotism has always consisted in constructive criticism in the search for ways to improve if not to perfect what we love. That presupposes a maturity that is won only through hard struggle, not through a self-congratulatory sense of supremacy. Let no one destroy us, I would say at the end of my speech, including ourselves, through overconcentration on power at the expense of less tangible, more fragile but perhaps even more important assets.” ~ R. W. Apple Jr.
9. “True patriots remain committed to the truth, and will criticize the president when the actions of the president contradict the founding principles of our nation. Standing for our country, not any particular politician, is the work of a patriot.” ~ Christine Smith
10. “Woodrow Wilson once told a group of newly naturalized citizens: ‘You have just taken an oath of allegiance to the United States. Of allegiance to whom? Of allegiance to no one, unless it be God. Certainly not of allegiance to those who temporarily represent this great Government. You have taken an oath of allegiance to a great ideal, to a great body of principles, to a great hope of the human race.'” ~ R. W. Apple Jr.
May these be of benefit.