(i know this is a little late, seeing as independence day has passed and all, but W.)
okay, so for the last week or so i have been thinking a lot a lot a lot about what it means to be a patriot (specifically an american patriot, seeing as i am an american citizen). the dictionary defines a patriot as one who loves her country and supports its authority and interests. wikipedia says a patriot is one who feels a strong support for their country. both of these sound really positive, but often in real life i feel like people who are self-proclaimed patriots are in support of their country in favor of it dominating all other countries. i feel that so many have hateful and negative attitudes in the name of patriotism. for example, harriet's friend from england, beth was visiting this last weekend and she told me that in fast & testimony meeting in harriet's ward some guy got up and said in his testimony that america is the choice land above all other lands and he went on and on about how america is greater than everywhere else in the world. it is attitudes like this that just infuriate me. i feel like a true patriot would never say anything like that. i feel like people also view politicians and government officials as patriots and i have a hard time swallowing that as well. i feel like these people are most often in pursuit of their own agenda. they are supporters of what is best for themselves, not what is best for the country and its citizens, and they love power and themselves, not their country. and so often these people parade around in powerful positions and make selfish/strategic decisions in the name of patriotism. i do not want to be labeled as a patriot if i will be in the same category as greedy people who are only interested in monetary gain, people who accept and even rejoice in the death of another, or people who think that their culture is the one and only best culture.
that being said...
if a patriot really is someone who loves and supports the greater good of their country, then (i'de like to think that) i am a patriot. on the 4th of july i was doing fireworks in the street with my family as were a great number of people up and down the street and there were big booms and sparks and smoke going up all over the place and it even started raining and i thought, probably for the first time, about what it must have been like to have actually physically battled for freedoms that i take for granted on a daily basis. i am so grateful for those that fought for that so that i can enjoy life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, the freedoms of speech and religion, the right to vote, etc. etc. i do love my country, but more than anything i am grateful for the opportunity to be a citizen and live in this choice land above all other lands (kidding). but in all seriousness, i really do get to enjoy freedoms and privileges that many individuals throughout the world do not get to enjoy. and although i think that america has a good amount of social and political problems, other countries experience problems on a much more serious and massive scale. and despite the fact that there are many things i do not like about america, i am definitely an american girl and there is no denying that.
so, america, i sure love you and i wish you a happy (belated) birthday.
p.s. this is a school house rock video about the preamble to the constitution. this is probably my favorite song.