Monday, July 4, 2011

Thoughts on Patriotism

(I'll warn you upfront that this post carries a tone of frustration and annoyance at the narrow definition of 'patriotism' that I often encounter.)

I like to be patriotic. I think our national holiday is a good time to think about what patriotism is and how we can be patriotic. I do NOT think that the military is the be all and end all of patriotism.
There you have it. I'm sick and tired of people saying "well I wanted to serve my country so I enlisted..." By all means, support the troops. If you'd like to enlist, feel free! But if you'd like to serve your country, please remember that you can do it in many other ways too. My husband wanted to serve his country, so he became a school teacher. My friend wanted to serve, so she works for a local women's shelter. I care about my country, so I teach my children to take care of the earth we live on and to serve the people we live around. I care about my country, so I get involved with politics, and I always vote.
As I said, I support the troops--the men and women who get out and do things. I really don't support the military-industrial complex that the USA has developed. I'm a pacifist, conscientious objector, and so on.  A friend of mine (who served in the military for several years by the way) has some very similar opinions about this. She wrote a great post here.

There's another thing that really makes me sick, and I hear it every Independence Day too: We live in a great country ("the promised land" yadda yadda yadda), and in fact it is the best country on earth. No it's not folks. We live in a great country, definitely. We in the United States have a lot of blessings and opportunities that are not available elsewhere. We have a lot of wealth (a ridiculous amount in fact). But we are not superior to other countries or peoples. More blessed (in certain areas), sure, but not superior.
Can we please learn to appreciate what we have without knocking down others in the process? Julie can be pretty without saying that Susie is ugly, you know?

That's all. Be grateful and happy with what you have. Work to take care of it and of the people around you. Remember that no one is inherently superior to anyone else, especially not because of being born between some transient manmade borders.


LucidHarbor said...

Thank you for your post. I agree with you 100%. I am someone who applied for military service as an officer and had my medical declined (multiple times I tried), so it is good to hear someone say that serving as a civilian by sharing your gifts is still serving.
Thank you.

Sarah Familia said...

Amen, Jenni!

Serge A. Storms said...

Just passing by on a "Next Blog" trip, but gotta add that I couldn't agree more with the post. Nothing more patriotic than exercising your free speech muscles.

Mallory said...

Wow, I'm glad I was browsing all the unread posts in my Google Reader! I love this post! I have always had a little bit of anti-military patriotism....I mean, I appreciate the military, but I would never want to be part of it (or want any close family members to be part of it). And, I could not agree more about how America is not "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE". In fact, my sister-in-law is going to be marrying a Korean in a few weeks, and an acquaintance who heard about it was -appalled- that she wasn't marrying an American. What the heck is up with that??? Like there was something wrong with the match? (I guess I just have to roll my eyes!)

Lynnette Hoffman said...

I echo this sentiment, which too often goes unsaid. Well articulated!

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