A lot of people who hold themselves as patriots don’t seem to be clear about what that term should mean in the U.S. of A. They realize that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, but they don’t appear to understand why that is the case. You can find people in any country that believe the country they are loyal to is the greatest country in the world.
What makes US different?
Many believe that it is our form of government that makes America a beacon to the world. It is commonly said that “We live in a democracy.”
Well, that’s not true. The U.S. government is constructed as a constitutional republic. The purpose of the founders in instituting this form of government was to constrain its extent and power. Their intent was to create a government that would defend the right of all individuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but they also understood that government, by its very nature, was a threat to those inherent rights. They sought to bind the power of government with the “chains of the constitution”.
This comprehension of the nature of government is not widespread in the U.S. You can tell that when you hear so called ‘patriots’ telling critics of the government to, in effect ‘shut up and trust our elected officials’. This attitude is an indicator of a fascist mindset. Lest anyone think I am making an indictment of the right, I do not absolve the left of its own fascist aspect. Which side is worse depends on who happens to be in power. Anyhow, it grates me to hear someone proclaim that we should be grateful to live in a country where we can speak our minds, then tell anyone who does so to shut up or leave. These aren’t patriots, these are cult members who only tolerate your freedom to speak as long as you don’t say anything at variance with the party line.
I would expect partisans of the political right to be more likely to be offended by my comments here, so let me balance things a bit with some charges for partisans of the left. It is not true patriotism to engage in the destructive type of criticism that occurs between left and right. The loyalties of those who indulge in this type of attack are not to their country, but to their ideological cult. This applies to both sides of the partisan war, and which is worse depends upon who is not in power. It is very difficult for those of leftist persuasion to be true American patriots, for they too, do not comprehend and appreciate the parameters that are key to America’s greatness. They are unreliable critics because they have conflated many of the parameters of greatness with those flaws that have detracted from America’s greatness. Indeed, many of the political values of the left are antithetical to the parameters of America’s greatness and so they have played a large part in the destruction of those things that have made America a great country. The left has made valid criticisms about the state of the union, but the solutions they generally propose would bring us back around to a similar, or even worse state of affairs.
So I’ll try to explain what it means to be a true American patriot. In America, the people are supposed to be responsible for their government, you know, the self-government thing. But most citizens don’t understand enough about the parameters of government, society, economy, and the consequences of their political choices, to act responsibly as citizens.
It is the duty of the true patriot to understand those parameters and consequences and to point out and work to avert the dangers before it is too late, even in the face of great resistance by their fellow citizens.
Those who do not wish to hear of this are in denial. They do not seek the understanding required of responsible citizens, thus contributing to the destruction of those factors that have helped make the America the greatest (if flawed) country in history.