I am a patriot.
Is tírghrá mé. Sono un patriota. Je suis un patriote. Ich bin ein Patriot. Soy un patriota. Ek is ‘n patriot. .أنا وطني 我是爱国者。
And so many more languages have spoken the same words about the United States of America. The land of plenty. The land of opportunity. The land that can do better...
Noah and I went on a fall foliage sail this past weekend up the Hudson River. The trees are starting their journey into color, and seeing them and the Palisades was breathtaking.
I’m proud and excited to be on the east coast. Both Noah and I have always been history nerds, especially about the Revolutionary War and the creation of the United States. And, there’s definitely something to being here…*must insert the obvious* “The room where it happened.”
I feel deeply proud in these moments to be an American…to think back on the making of this country…and then to wonder where we first went wrong…
In our current political landscape, I’m not seen as a patriot. In fact, I’ve had people call me all sorts of things from the most basic “Coastal Elite” to the slightly more original “Fruit, Nut, and Flake” to “unpatriotic socialist extremist.”
Even those who live where I live and have a similar view of the world don’t often call themselves “Patriotic.” That term in itself has almost become a slur for jingoism, bigotry, and anti-global.
I think this is absolutely wrong.
- Do I think that the United States is better than every other country on earth in all areas?
- Nope. Nada. No…
- Do I think that we have A LOT to learn from others who do things better than we do?
- Yes. A HUGE RESOUNDING YES.
- Do I think that we need to work and function as a global society?
- Would I rather leave the United States than deal with our problems here?
- Do I believe in this country and our potential?
A patriot is defined as a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.
I’m wondering if that isn’t all of us – but against each other? Maybe we’ve misplaced our target of who our enemies and detractors are…
But, beyond just the modern definition, who were the original Patriots? (Besides Tom Brady, of course. 😜)
I would imagine most of us go to the Founding Fathers when asked that question…So, let’s think about them for a moment.
The Founding Fathers came from various parts of Europe; they were predominantly wealthy plantation owners and businessmen. They wanted to create a new nation with new ideologies that would be open to new policies, be religiously tolerant, and use the ideas formed in the Enlightenment to create opportunities for all.
Much to most people’s dismay, they were exploratory with religious ideas, and science, the arts, sociology, and culture were of central importance.
The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are two of the finest written political documents ever scribed.
However, they would’ve never intended for the country to stop there. They knew there would need to be changes – hence the amendments. But, other than the amendments, we are beyond reluctant to consider new ideas as a country at this point.
By comparison, the French and our own Founding Fathers had similar ideas during and after the French Revolution (they even helped with our American Revolution!). And, since this time, France has completely rewritten their constitution about every 12 years. Can you imagine? The freedom to be able to rework the government in a way that benefits the people every 12 years?
Government is supposed to do just that: benefit and serve the people. If we put in the effort for our country, we are supposed to be able to decide what our country will do moving forward.
I am a patriot. I believe that changes can be made for the better of all. But, let’s look at that phrase. The better of ALL. The Founding Fathers tended to think of “all” as being the European, wealthy, white male. They WERE NOT perfect. And, neither are we. But, all we can do is try our best to make everyday better than the one before it.
Why are we holding onto strict limitations of non-perfect men from nearly 250 years ago, all while we are forgetting about some of the great ideas and philosophies that they fought so hard to achieve?
Religious freedom? Separation of church and state?
Openness toward new cultures? The US melting pot?
The pursuit of happiness for all?
The Enlightenment? (Could we be in a second wave of enlightenment in 2020? The seams are seeming quite weak to me… Could there be a tear in our “comfortable” life coming soon? But, I digress.)
Some old ways are slipping away. And, believe it or not, that will be okay. I mean we theoretically get on without public beheadings. Think about it…that stopped at some point…I bet some people weren’t very happy about it, but all those people moved on. I think we can move on from some of our damaging traditions as well.
I am a patriot. I know this is true, because I am willing to fight for what the good of this country can do. Who we can be. How we can lead. I will not settle for what we’ve become, when I know we’re capable of more.
It’s time to get out and cast your votes. But, maybe instead of just thinking about “who” you want running the country, consider “how” you want the country ran. We are a polarized nation. But, let’s put that aside for a moment. What are the top five things that are most important for our future as a nation? If you were writing the constitution, what would it say? What would it mean FOR ALL?
Here’s to a safe election season, a more unified nation, and serious contemplation and reverence on our decisions and the consequences for all Americans today and in the future.
As this is posting, I’ll be going into training to be an election worker. Je suis un patriote. Let’s make it count.
Noah and Majhon