Today is July 4th. In the United States we celebrate Independence Day. As with most national holidays it seems that much of the meaning is lost amidst picnics, parades, backyard barbecues, and fireworks displays. And yet our great country celebrates another birthday.
I like to think of myself as a patriot but lately I’m afraid that patriotism has come to represent a pretty narrow political view by some folks. I’m not a member of the Tea Party. I don’t watch Fox News. I won’t sign any “English only”petitions. And I don’t believe that God should bless America anymore than God should and does bless all nations.
I am however in favor of immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, affordable healthcare, gay marriage, and gun control. And still I remain a patriot.
To me this is the beauty of being an American. We are a pluralistic nation. We are diverse. We can disagree with one another. We can openly oppose the political views of our elected officials and vote them out of office. We can peacefully assemble. We can protest. We have the right to freedom of speech. And my son, who is a member of the U.S. military will defend to the death these rights for you and me.
What makes me a patriot? I love my country. I’m proud to be an American. I’ve traveled the world and, while our nation is not perfect, it is simply the best place for me and my family. Other countries are wonderful and my life has been enriched by having visited many of them but they are not home.
So I even though I am a progressive and an avid supporter of civil rights and equality for all Americans, I am still a patriot. I will be flying my flag proudly and honoring those early patriots whose vision of a nation with liberty and justice for all remains with us today. And I respect and embrace your unalienable right to think that I am completely wrong about my political views.
From every mountainside let freedom ring. I love living in this sweet land of liberty.