It often appears to me that many liberals rail against patriotism. Over the course of this summer, I’ve spent time with many of my friends – all very liberal people – in stores around Denver, where they are selling some sort of American flags or American flag covered accessories. I joke to all of my friends to see if they’d like to buy some of the patriotically designed things in these stores. They either look at me like I’m an idiot, or they sarcastically joke about being super patriotic.
This is a small piece of a larger issue that I can’t seem to understand. Why do liberals seem to hate patriotism? Liberal politicians will be patriotic quite often, but your everyday liberal voter doesn’t seem to enjoy being patriotic. Often, they attack patriotism, saying it’s a problem with conservatives. I think this notion is very convoluted.
Patriotism is love of one’s country. Loving one’s country means loving all of one’s countrymen and women. More or less, patriotism means loving your neighbor and everyone you meet on the street. Why would anyone be against that? The way I see it, liberals are the ones who stand for equality. For providing opportunities to each and every person so they can have an equal shot at life. For helping people get the health care they need at reasonable price. For preventing everyday people from being killed by mentally ill mass murderers.
To me, conservatism doesn’t sound like loving all Americans. Conservatism often sounds like giving the already lucky people more luck, and draining luck from the people who need more of it. It sounds like doing things to benefit the wealthy while taking away from the poor. It sounds like allowing people to get shot because hey, that’s your right. Doesn’t sound all too loving to me.
I think the issue a lot of liberals have with patriotism is that conservatives have made the idea of patriotism into the “hell yeah, America” stereotype. That being patriotic means that you think America and being American is the greatest thing on earth. And while that isn’t necessarily all that important to patriotism (we did say that American didn’t need to be made great again), it is important to understand that for most of us, we are incredibly lucky to be in America. That’s something to cherish, and something to motivate us to better our country.
So this 4th of July, go out there and wear your American flag t-shirt. Put a little flag out in your front lawn (they only cost a dollar). And appreciate this country for what it has been able to do for you so far, what you can do to make it better than it is (it ain’t perfect, that’s for sure), and love every American for being who they are. Let’s all be patriotic, together, as Americans.