A Fourth to Remember …


American Flag

 

I believe I am a patriot … I have served my country, vote regularly, and think that we have much to offer the rest of the world.  I care about how we all treat each other …

Recent events have me pondering just what being a patriot means.  Some of my beliefs and my character have been characterized in strongly negative terms, and I see many examples of fellow citizens acting and talking in ways that show a lack of understanding around what it means to live in a free society.

CLARIFYING MY THOUGHTS … 

I have tried to summarize my thinking around all this in the following short statements.  They reflect many complex discussions over the years.

Honor those who have or are wearing the uniform of the United States military, but always hold them to a high standard, even in violent times …

Respect those elected to represent us on any level, but never forget who is the master and who is the servant …

Defend our rights as citizens, even when defending those rights includes allowing another to say or do something you do not agree with …

Do not remain silent when wrong is done to any of us by any of us …

Obey our laws and work through proper means to change those laws you feel are unjust or wrong … 

Recognize that being free means we will disagree on what that means. Hopefully we do so appropriately, questioning someone’s logical process without attacking their ethics or motives …

Free speech has limits, but they are probably broader than what any one person wants them to be …

Religious freedom has to include the freedom to not be religious, or it is not freedom at all …

If we are yelling or using stereotypical words and phrases, we are not engaging in open discussion …

Allow others the same freedoms you claim for yourself, to the extent that your freedoms do not negate theirs …

DOES BEING FREE MEAN YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT?

YES:  Within bounds that respects the rights of others in our shared community.

NO:  When what you want to do impacts another’s ability to live free or safely.

Being free is not an absolute concept, but one that integrates the idea of being part of a group.  Other’s rights and beliefs are valuable, as are yours.  In the public arena, honor the collective rights of all. 

Sometimes this means that your personal preferences must give way to what is best for others …

Living in a country like America is not easy, although many would like to reduce who we are and how we are to simple slogans and mindless phrases.  It’s hard work, folks, but we are up to it – after all, we are Americans:).

Feeling patriotic and thoughtful in the Heartland ….

John

BTW, I welcome your comments and criticisms – as long as they are offered in the spirit of the above statements.   We can have a civilized discussion, which is what Americans should do to work out their differences.

Image:  Morguefile.com

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