Friday, July 3, 2009

Five Sketches in Patriotism

For Independence Day, I asked four people that I made up what patriotism means to them in 200 words or less. Here’s the outcome.

Bill Smith, retired electrician and veteran.

Patriotism means never saying you’re sorry. I proudly served my country in Vietnam and then again in the Gulf War. When I hear politicians apologizing for the “mistakes” America has made, I wonder if they understand the sacrifices people made for their freedom. Sometimes I get worked up enough to think about writing them a letter telling those good-for-nothings to shut their traps. And then I think about the fact that I have the freedom to write them letters in which I call their backbones into question. Then I try to calm down, and take an aspirin just in case. In the end, something on TNT always ends up catching my attention. So I never do write those letters.

Katie Welsh, 7th grader

A patriot is someone who loves their country. Back during the American Revolution people loved America so much they fought the British so Americans could set up their own style of governance and capitalism that generated wealth for the people of America, and not the East India Tea Company. Now, America’s grand experiment in marrying government and economics has made it the most powerful economic force on earth. Now all a regular person has to do to fight for their country is go shopping. Even in war zones our soldiers are economic warriors when they’re made buy things made only by American companies like Halliburton. While this is all coming to an end with the rise of China, I know I’ll love my country, rich or poor. So I probably won’t become a Chinese informant when they invade in 2032.

Courtney Lyle Buenaventura, Citibank Regional Manager

As an American, I have been allowed to work my way up from the bottom to be where I am today. Patriotism is recognizing that if I had been born in a place like Afghanistan or even Canada, the glass ceiling would have been set much lower, like a Branch Manager or even worse -- a housewife. While I have not yet developed the the requisite ruthless maneating qualities that will allow me to claw to the top of the corporate ladder -- bloodying friend and foe alike -- I know I will one day. America is the only country that gives me the freedom like that. Don’t talk to me about the likes of Angela Merkel -- Germany’s first female Chancellor. Socialism pampers. In the US, Merkel wouldn’t even have made Branch Manager.

Adam, College Student (Last name omitted for fear of reprisals)

Patriotism is when you stand up for that in which you believe; for example, voting for John McCain, even if you risk becoming a social pariah to all your friends who got Barack Obama tattoos. I did not get the tattoo, despite immense social pressure from my friends and peers. In my mind, that makes me a patriot. I still won’t publicly admit that I voted for McCain, but it’s Darwinian out here. God weeds out the stupid ones.

Matt Lindeboom, YMCA Member.

I’ve spent two years living and traveling in countries vastly different from my own. There were moments where knew I would never return, moments when I longed for home, and everything in between. In that time, I kept coming back to the same observation: For all its problems, America works pretty well. I think I’ll stay for a while.

Have a happy Independence Day!

No comments: