Patriotism: A Red, White, and Blue Patriot

by CJFosdick on September 27, 2010

Encarta Dictionary:
PatriotismSupporter of his or her own country and its way of life, loyalty, nationalism

I consider myself a red, white, and blue patriot. Many Americans in this modern world of ours are not red, white, and blue patriots. In fact, for many, patriotism is out of style. To be patriotic has become blasé. The worldly-wise elites seem to always be able to look for ways to run America down, to find fault with America, to act as if they are not proud to be an American. Me? I’m proud to be an American. Like I say, I’m a red, white, and blue patriot.

Like so many abstract words, patriotism is hard to define and different people will get different definitions for patriotism. The Red, White, and Blue Patriotism idea came from a friend of mine about three years after 9/11. I was bemoaning the fact Americans, after their first rush of patriotism after the bombing of the Twin Towers, seemed to be becoming less patriotic, that patriotism was fading from the American scene. She said to me that when she had been in school, all they taught was red, white, and blue patriotism. That was what had been taught in my school during the 1940s and 50s. Yes, I indoctrinated with red, white, and blue patriotism. We were proud Americans. I loved our country then; I still love my country today. I am a proud red, white, and blue patriot.

My feelings of patriotism have their roots in my early childhood, not just from school, but also from my home, and the desperate fight America was having in World War II. Between about three to six years, when America was fighting for her very future in World War II, as young as I was, I knew this. Times were desperate. The whole country put 100% INTO THE WAR EFFORT, BOTH HERE AT HOME AND OUR SOLDIERS FIGHTING OVERSEAS. Yes, of course, there were a few pacifists, those who wanted us out of the war, but they had little voice and were universally hated by other Americans. Everything, and I mean everything, in our lives had one goal, do our share to help America win the war.

Losing was not an option. Quitting before the job was done was unthinkable. Setting an exit date even if we hadn’t won was never even considered. There wasn’t any of this telling our government they were using too harsh measures on enemy prisoners of war, no talk of horrible Americans torturing our enemy to get information to help win the war. We were more concerned with winning the war than we were about making sure our prisoners of war were treated like nice house guests attending a tea party. If someone had stolen secret documents during World War II, and published them to be read world-wide, like happened recently with the documents published by Wikileaks, the people responsible would have been tried and hung post-haste, as traitors. Little kids were taught, “Loose lips sink ships.” You didn’t tell others anything that might hurt the war effort or our forces fighting overseas. Period! Letters from soldiers overseas were opened, read, and if needed, censored blacking out any information that might help the enemy find out about America’s war plans. People today would not stand for this censorship, but they did then because we were at war, and WE HAD TO WIN.

These were the conditions of my early childhood. Everything in our lives was based on furthering the war effort. I remember the blackouts, because if the enemy got to our shores, they could tell from the air where to drop their bombs if they could see our lights. I remember the scrap metal drives. I remember my mother working at a canning factory for a while to help the war effort. I know, because I was with her. This was while she was working a full-time job as a railroad telegrapher, full-time then being ten hours a day, six days a week. She would have quit, except most of the men were overseas fighting, and she kept working to make up the differences made by male shortages, so America could win the war. I remember sugar rationing. I remember selling our car because we couldn’t buy tires or gas for it, both being rationed, but I don’t remember my parents griping about it. I remember my father holding down two jobs, explaining that since he was too old to fight, this was his way of helping the war effort. I remember . . .

Such early memories of wartime America had a profound effect on my feelings about my country. The current wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, affect our lives very little. Half of America wants us out, and our President has set a withdrawal date of August 2011 to pull our soldiers out of Afghanistan. This appalls me. This is not the way wars should be fought.
Yes, I am proudly patriotic. I believe America is the best country that has ever existed. This is not to say that I think America is perfect. I recognize many areas in which America needs to improve. In fact, the two hundred year plus history of America has been a steady movement of progression to the betterment of our country.

To be a red, white, and blue patriot does not mean “my country right or wrong.” To explain about what I feel about America in my heart, mind, and psyche is to say that since her birth, America has continually recognized her faults, strived to do better, and improved conditions for her citizens. For example, I feel today America has truly become the land of the free, and equal rights have really become the law of the land, even for the common folks. For example, in the beginning, only men who owned property could vote; today every citizen eighteen and over can vote except prisoners and those with a criminal record. It often took long, bitter struggles in many fields to get to this place, but America did it, often leading the way for the rest of the world.

Yet all the struggles Americans have had to get to where she is today, seem to be in reversal today. Problems with race relations seems on the rise, divisionism between rich and poor, old and young, conservative and liberal, and city and country folk all are being fanned in a cauldron of hate, suspicion, and building anger by today’s politicians, some religious groups, media, and the very people who should be building bridges between Americans — the educators. America is being pulled apart at the seams; she seems to be going backwards in today’s world. American citizens who continually criticize America loudly and vocally, both here and overseas, are pulling America into pieces. Can we, the red, white, and blue patriots, find the glue to mend America before it’s too late?

A person cannot run America down to outsiders and still profess to love her. A person cannot say things, such as America has killed more innocents than have the terrorists, and still feel a deep, satisfying sense of patriotic pride. It just isn’t possible. I am proud to be a red, white, and blue patriot. I believe in America and in the American people to continue to grow and improve, for Americans to become even greater than we are today. After all, this is America we are talking about. Those of us who care must take stands against today’s growing hate and divisionism.

We must pray often: God, Please Bless America and Keep her Strong. Help her heal and become one people under God again, E Pluribus Unum — From many into one. One great and proud nation, again standing strong and proud in the travails of the modern world.

AMERICA, AGAIN, THE SHINING CITY ON THE HILL.

Encarta Dictionary: Having faith — Belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.
Religion: A system of religious belief, or the group of people who adhere to it.
Trust or belief in God; a set of beliefs or principles strongly held …without demanding proof.

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