Saturday, July 07, 2007

On Patriotism

In many of my posts on this blog I have been critical of some of the actions of this country and it’s leadership, and I want to set one thing straight. I have had a deep and abiding love affair with the United States of America since I was a small child, and that love affair is ongoing to this day. I grew up as the son of a serving Air Force officer, and even as a kid I loved being a part of this nation’s defense. I volunteered for service in the Navy, not for any kind of adventure, but because serving my country was an obligation that was as necessary to me as breathing. If I were physically able I would be serving in national defense today.

I believe that in its present incarnation this country is the best in the world for its people and to its people. It is still the bastion of freedom and rights of man. It is still the best hope that the world has, and is what other countries should hope to become.

That being said, there are things this country has done, things it is doing, that I am not proud of. Such is the nature of countries. Parts of this nation’s people are proud of those very same things. That’s as it should be; such is the nature of democracy.

I don’t know who said this, probably many, but it’s one of those great small quotes of all times, “I hate what you say, sir. I despise every word from your mouth. But I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it.”

I count myself a patriot. A patriot does not stand silent when he sees his country making error. He speaks out in the cause of correcting error. He campaigns for representative government that will correct the course of the ship of state.

The man that remains silent for fear of opprobrium is no patriot. The man that remains silent because demagogues have hounded him down in the name of patriotism is no patriot. The silent man diminishes democracy.

I speak out because I love my country too dearly to remain silent.

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