For me, patriotism is about priorities. It means putting the needs of all of us, collectively, above my own personal needs. That means sharing wealth, resources, and knowledge. It means trying to live in a way that sustains this land and its resources. It means caring that the laws, justice, health, education, and social systems of this country apply fair and are workable for everyone, not just for me.
Take speed limits as one example. Our highways crisscross the nation. Roads go through nearly every community in this country. All of them have speed limits that chosen by the people of the communities bordering the roads - men, women, children, people of all ages and abilities. When we drive these roads, typically our focus is on getting where we need to go and doing it as fast as possible.
What if, instead, our focus was on caring about the needs of every individual in every community served by these roads? Is it not patriotic to do something as simple as follow the speed limit rules established for the safety of everyone in these communities? What if we took our patriotism a step further and developed a sense of patience and courtesy toward pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers.
What if we expanded our acts of patriotism to include changes in how we act when dealing with the environment, taxation, health care, social services, education, law enforcement, and the judicial system.
I, for one, have not given up on developing patriotism as a core value. Maybe one day, we can become patriotic as citizens of not just America but of the world.
Hope you find a way to celebrate this July 4th 2010.
Here is my latest creation for you to enjoy, thanks to an image from to the Graphic's Fairy at http://www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/. Enjoy!