Patriotism in Modern America

May 3, 2009
I am an American, and it’s not because I display an American flag in my front yard, or because I have a patriotic bumper sticker. My family doesn’t always have sit-down dinners, my mother doesn’t rave about the new-and-improved Swiffer vacuum and neither of my grandfathers have worn purple hearts.

The image of an upstanding “American” has been mangled throughout the years, thus creating many misconceptions concerning the definition of an American. The most common perception of a true American usually involves some sort of Leave it to Beaver family dynamic: complete with the white-picket fence, stay at home mom, and classic Christian morals and values, but an American means so much more than that.

The United States was founded on the principles that each individual is entitled to the basic freedoms: among them speech, protest, and religion. An American not only upholds these freedoms, but utilizes them to their fullest capabilities.

Every time I run my mouth, as I often do, I am being an American. Every action that seems out of the norm can be translated as an inner tendency toward revolution. The founders of the nation were radicals. When the majority stood against them, they stood alone and they stood strong to accomplish something they never thought they could. Giving people the right to free speech assumes that they have the courage to use it. Such courage comes with the title of an “American.”

Americans are pro-reform, pro-change. True Americans are the first to march on Washington, the first to join picket lines and the first to question. An American questions their beliefs, their standards and their traditions. The humility to question oneself is a key trait of an American.

Ambition is also a unifying factor to Americans of all kinds. Immigrants of all colors and creeds flooded the unpaved streets of colonial America. Today, the U.S is a diverse melting-pot, offering opportunity for all who step foot. Real Americans share a common work ethic and the common goal of improving their lives and their families’ lives. My parents immigrated to the United States from the Middle East in the late 80s with only a few hundred dollars. They are Americans. They are Americans now, they were Americans then, they were Americans before they arrived here. Now, having resided in the country for decades, established their success, and raised fully Americanized, yet bilingual college-bound children: my parents could not be prouder.

So yes, I am an American. Again, this doesn’t mean I have any interest in baseball or barbecues or Independence Day fireworks. I don’t say the Pledge of Alleigance, I don’t go to a Christian church on Sunday, and I won’t be caught dead donning a patriotic pin. Hot dogs disgust me, I think patriotic songs are cheesy and annoying, and I’ll never vote for a conservative republican. And yet, I am an American.

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Huckleberry F. said...
May 19, 2009 at 1:38 pm
I don’t say the Pledge of Alleigance.I won’t be caught dead donning a patriotic pin. You patriot you.
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