Monday, March 13, 2006

Patriotism: If You Actually Have It You Really Shouldn't Have to Tell Us

When I was a kid we all assumed that everybody we knew was a patriot. As kids we knew about the Days of Rage and the ’68 convention and maybe there were some older siblings who were hippies or something and maybe they took part in something and maybe they hated America, but we really didn’t think about it very much. Some homes had medals from WWII or Korea and we knew that those people were patriotic. Many of our teachers, coaches, Scout leaders and family members were those quiet heroes that marked that generation. We knew that they were patriots even though in many cases we wouldn’t know of their service until we got older. A while back I found out that my junior high social studies teacher was a fighter pilot in the Pacific; no wonder we had to learn the name of every damn atoll out there! A friend’s father was a bombardier over Europe, we didn’t know it until much later but he still has German shrapnel in his body, we still knew that he was a patriot.

None of those people had to tell us that they were patriots, they didn’t have to. Nothing that we could see would give anybody the idea that these folks were not patriots. When people feel that they have to tell us that they are patriots I feel uncomfortable; it sounds like a used car salesman telling me he’s honest. When a person needs to evoke patriotism they should probably examine what the heck they’ve been doing. What is that old saying about patriotism and a scoundrel’s last refuge?


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