Patriotism Can be Cheesy
(from Oddly Enough / photo by Lucas Jackson, Reuters, used w/o permission)
Anybody who takes the stereotypes of shows like "M*A*S*H" and "All in the Family" seriously knows that patriots - American ones, anyway - are like Frank Burns and Archie Bunker: marginally competent; uncouth; ill-bred louts with prejudices where they should have principles.
I've met people who were a bit like those two fictional characters - and I've met their counterparts at other ends of political spectra.
I've seen the occasionally-tacky, commercial side of American patriotism: and I rather like it. I'd never mistake a near-life-size cheese sculpture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence for one of the works of Phidias. But, cheesy as it is: I like its cheerful celebration of a great moment.
I also like red-white-and-blue soda pop cans and other colorful holiday paraphernalia.
Me? A Patriot?America isn't perfect, as I pointed out on this country's Independence Day two years ago.
But this country was founded with some high ideals - which we haven't entirely lost over the last 234 years.
Last year, in another blog, I declared - or admitted - that I'm a patriot. In the dictionary sense, at least: "Patriot" means "one who loves and defends his or her country" (Princeton Wordnet).
As I said then, love of country isn't at the very top of my priority list, and I'm well aware of America's imperfections: but yes, I love America. And, since the reality checks in that blog are a sort of defense of this country - yeah, I'm a patriot.
I don't have much of a choice about it. I'm a Catholic, so I have to be a good citizen. (September 24, 2008, November 3, 2008)
And Now, a Word From America's FoundersThe Declaration of Independence ends with these words:
"...And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."If you're curious, transcripts of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, the Consttitution of the United States of America, Amendments 1 through 10 (the Bill of Rights), and
Georgia: Button Gwinnett; Lyman Hall; George Walton
North Carolina: William Hooper; Joseph Hewes; John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge; Thomas Heyward, Jr.; Thomas Lynch, Jr.; Arthur Middleton
Massachusetts: John Hancock
Maryland: Samuel Chase; William Paca; Thomas Stone; Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe; Richard Henry Lee; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Harrison; Thomas Nelson, Jr.; Francis Lightfoot Lee; Carter Braxton
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris; Benjamin Rush; Benjamin Franklin; John Morton; George Clymer; James Smith; George Taylor; James Wilson; George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney; George Read; Thomas McKean
New York: William Floyd; Philip Livingston; Francis Lewis; Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton; John Witherspoon; Francis Hopkinson; John Hart; Abraham Clark
Amendments 11-27 are available online.