I love this country. I admit it: I am a patriot.
I love the many, many good things about America, I love the special qualities she has and the particular virtues her citizens exhibit. I love America’s sense of optimism, can-do attitude. I love Americans’ hospitability, of which I have experienced much. I love the American love for the underdog, rooting for the little guy to make big. I love America for its natural beauty and treasures. I love America’s contribution to the world of thought and science.
I don’t love everything about America. I despise the slavery we took into our fiber with colonialization. I hate the materialism of the many. I dislike the failing of separate regional characters.
But here is the thing: I don’t view any of the defects of America as intrinsic to the very being and meaning of America. I view each and every one of them as something that America can change and still be America. And so, when I say I want America to change, I mean that she should change evils that are incidental but remain who she “really is” deep down, because I don’t think any essential part of the root reality is intrinsically wrong. And no, that doesn’t mean that the Constitution is all perfect, either - it can be changed, improved, corrected, perfected, without changing what America really is at root.
And so, I am a patriot.
When you think of “patriots,” do you think of “us” or “them”. In your own mind, do you associate yourself with the word, the idea, the sense of patriotism.
There are conservatives of a sort who don’t. For example, there are some extreme traditionalists who think that acknowledging ANY sort of sovereignty but Christ’s is a repudiation of Christ’s sovereignty, who think that Christ alone is and should be our ruler.
There are plenty of liberals who are patriots. They have, for example, no problem with saluting the flag, singing the national anthem, and cheering for America.
But as far as generalizations go, conservatives are patriots who are totally comfortable with the name, liberals are not so much – by and large the typical liberal either refuses to associate with patriotism or is at least a little uncomfortable with being thought of that way. They squirm just a bit if they are asked if they are patriots. They may say “yes…but…” That is, they are patriots but with a qualification to that notion. Or, at least, that’s my totally anecdotal experience. If you think I am wrong, let me know. I would like to hear what you think.
When someone like Obama declares he wants to change America,
We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America
does he mean the sort of fundamental transformation that makes America cease to be what it is in its root reality, or does he mean something less essential? Conservatives think that maybe by “fundamental change” he means really fundamental – that he honestly means what he said. Does he mean for America in her core essence to cease to be so that a new, different entity can exist in its place? And, if so, is that consistent with patriotism properly understood? Is that intent for change anything other than replacing America with a different entity?
But this question isn’t just for Obama, it is for all the politicians who stake their claim on “change”. Just how far do they want that change to take us? Do they believe in any basic foundation that should remain? If so, what is it that should be stable so that change can occur in the rest? What is, for them, the part that isn’t subject to “fixing.” Do they even have a coherent notion of these things?