Ask not what is right with your country–ask what you can do to help right what is wrong…
For the person responsible for the aforementioned quote and why she made it, go here and read what she has to say. I’ll wait.
(clock ticking away)
Back so soon? You must be a fast reader! But the point of this little exercise was to demonstrate that false pride in America is not patriotism. Shark-fu (a/k/a Angry Black Bitch) is correct when she says that the things for which we can and should be proud about our nation were the result of some poor but diligent and courageous human being, living here in America, who saw a problem, and decided to do something about it. Our greatest heroes and leaders have been the men and women who took the original ideals for which this country went to war to win its independence, and fought to see them expanded, enlarged upon, made manifest, put into action instead of remaining mere words on old pieces of paper and parchment.
It is not patriotism to cheer for your country regardless of what it does, right or wrong. It is not patriotism to bury your moral principles in your backyard while flying the flag on your front porch or plastering a red, white and blue ribbon magnet on your car in support of preventive wars. And it is certainly not patriotism to attempt to silence or intimidate those who employ our “freedoms” to cry out against the injustices which still exist in our society. Far from it.
The best things in our society came about because a few brave patriots said “This shall not stand!” and then took action to eradicate the evil that they saw around them. Patriots like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Union organizers past and present, Upton Sinclair, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Suffragettes, Gay rights activists, Feminists, Al Gore and the scientists fighting to make the world respond to the danger of global climate change, W.E.B. Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, The Warren Court, The Freedom Riders, Anti-war Protesters now and in the past, Edward R. Murrow, the ACLU, the Abolitionists, the plaintiffs in the Japanese internment cases during WWII, Cindy Sheehan and the Gold Star Families for Peace, the defense attorneys for the Guantanamo Bay detainees, the military prosecutors and defense counsel at Guantanamo Bay who resigned in protest at the show trials they were being asked to participate in, the whistleblower Joe Darby regarding the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Sibel Edmonds, the Senators and Congressional Representatives who voted against the FISA amendments, and so on and so forth.
These are the people who are true patriots, the ones who have fought, and are fighting, to make America that shining beacon of hope, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that all of us want it to be. Not the people who would take away our liberties, or restrict them to the few. Not those who would silence dissent in a country founded upon free speech. Not those who call others traitors because they exercise their freedoms. Not those who say, my country right or wrong. Not those who followed leaders such as Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon, John C. Calhoun, Nathan Bedford Forrest, George Wallace, Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell or George W. Bush. Such individuals, despite their passions, are no patriots. Their passion is not based on love of their country so much as hatred for all those who disagree with them. Their America has no connection to the ideals and principles for which our independence was declared over 230 years ago. It is not even a pale shadow of America. It is an anti-America to which they give their allegiance, and it should be recognized as the false patriotism of the ignorant, the foolish and/or the hateful who live among us.
For the rest of us we would do well to follow the call sounded by the blogger Shark-fu, above. For that is how a patriot should and must act. To make this country a better place for all of us who live here.