I guess I’m patriotic. I mean, I don’t hate the United States or anything, and I vote, pay taxes, I’ve been called for jury duty….but I’m probably not considered patriotic enough for your average Faux Nooz watcher, which frankly, is fine by me. Those people are nuts. I got a lot of dirty looks in school for not reciting the pledge every morning, as I found it inherently silly to pledge allegiance to a scrap of cloth, no matter what that scrap of cloth might be. Especially when that scrap of cloth was made in China or Taiwan. How very American.
What do I consider patriotism to be? The ability to be critical about your country when warranted. There are things about the United States I don’t like and would like to see changed, and I push for elected leaders who want to enact those changes. We’re not perfect, no matter what the Tea Party would have you think. I hate that we don’t have an NHS-style system for health care, I hate that college students have to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt just to get a degree for an entry-level job. I hate that we don’t pay women the same amount of money men are paid for the same amount of work. To me, patriotism is being able to admit those things are problems that should be solved, regardless of political affiliation. Everyone, Democrat or Republican or third party, should be able to come together and say, “Let’s fix this.”
As an aside, one thing that annoys me are people that only rally around the flag three times a year; Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day. There are people in my subdivision that only put the flag up those three days, and go all Yankee Doodle Dandy to make sure everyone else knows how patriotic they are, but the other 362 days of the year, there isn’t a scrap of red/white/blue anything anywhere. I find that more than a little stupid. Either you’re a flag-waving, jingoistic, rah-rah patriot all year, or you’re not. Pick one.