Sunday, February 24, 2008


Barack Obama, responding to recent attacks on his patriotism said, "Republicans have no lock on patriotism. That is a debate I am very happy to have. We'll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism. A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed, or were sending troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans' benefits that these troops need when they come home, or are undermining our Constitution with warrant less wiretaps that are unnecessary?"

I continue to be amused that the Republican party, in particular, somehow thinks that it contains the only patriots in this country. To them, Patriotism seems defined by war. Suddenly, US flags are broken out and placed on cars and in yards, where they are left to fade and become rags. Everyone cheers soldiers and thinks the President shouldn't be criticized. People are ostracized and threatened if they speak out against war.

Then I think about our founding fathers and the gift they gave us, when they wrote the Constitution and set up this nation on it's principles. Doesn't a patriot fight for the rights guaranteed to all US citizens by the Constitution, when the government threatens to take those rights away? When the US government takes unprovoked action against a sovereign nation, shouldn't a patriot stand up and say it isn't right? If the government or a group of citizens try to quash a particular religious movement, shouldn't a patriot stand up for the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution?

Then there is freedom of speech. Oh yes, freedom of speech! When one disagrees with the government, that person shouldn't lose their job. No one should be stopped and ticketed by a policeman because of an anti-war, anti-president bumper sticker. An innocent, overheard conversation or a particular book checked out of a library should not result in an FBI investigation. Finally, political rallies should be open to all. No one should be arrested at a political rally unless they are disruptive and refuse to follow instructions. The wearing of an anti-candidate tee shirt shouldn't result in an arrest. Yet all of these actions have taken place over the past few years.

I don't wave the flag. I don't constantly say "God bless America." I criticize the President, when I feel like it, war or not. I worship as I please, and when I please. I write letters to my elected representatives asking them to right wrongs. I speak up about my concerns in this blog. I feel no less a patriot than those who wear it on their sleeves and call anyone who doesn't agree with their views a "traitor."

Funny, this is all about living in a country where we have the freedom to disagree and to speak our minds, but those who call themselves "Patriots" seem to want less.

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