Complacency and the False Patriotism This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Patriotism - what does itmean? To many Americans, patriotism is synonymous with complacency. People aresatisfied with the condition of our nation, hiding behind American flags andnationalism. "This is the freest country in the world!" many proudlyproclaim. What they fail to recognize is that complacency is not what made theUnited States free. Complacency didn't start the American Revolution. Complacencydidn't end slavery. Complacency did not win women the vote. Complacency did notbreak down the walls of segregation. Complacency did not end the Vietnam War.Each of these was accomplished through democratic participation by the people ofthe United States of America. Complacency is actually an enemy ofdemocracy.

There will always be improvements that can and should be madein this country. Never will the United States, or any other country, reachperfection. So, we must work each day for a more safe and just tomorrow, so thateach day will be better than the one before.

Complacency does not sustaindemocracy, nor does American military intervention abroad. Destroying thesovereignty of other nations and forcing democracy only weakens democracy on aglobal scale. When it is forced, democratic principles are distorted. This makesthese forced democracies oppressive, and causes massive resistance to such agovernment. Carl Oglesby of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the 1960snational resistance group, said, "It isn't rebels who cause the troubles ofthe world, it's the troubles that cause the rebels." This is nowhere clearerthan in a country where democracy has been forced and rebellion hasbegun.

I love my country and would undoubtedly die for it. I believe,however, that one should have a cause or a belief that one is willing to die for.I will die standing up for a cause I believe in. I will not die fighting in a warI do not believe to be just or moral. Every American has a moral obligation tohis or her country: to be honest and never to give up. Being honest means voicingand expressing opinions, views, beliefs, ideas, and principles, and not beingafraid to do so. If someone doesn't let their voice be heard, or views known,that person is not being honest to the world.

It is not flag-burners whoare "un-American," it is those who try to define Americanism who are,in fact, un-American. This country was founded upon many ideals and principles,including diversity and tolerance. Everyone should be free to express him orherself and have their freedom respected.

Patriotism, to me, means forsomeone to do as much as they can to improve their country, even when it meansopposing one's government, or the actions or beliefs of a majority of itscitizens. Being true to your country means being true to yourself.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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