Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth of July!

Well it's been an overcast day for the most part here in the ATL area with the occasional thunderstorms and downpours, but that didn't stop people from trying to enjoy the Fourth of July. We had the Peachtree Road Race in the morning, and parties all over. Heck, we even had TWO major firework shows at the same time! One at Lennox Square and one at Centennial Olympic Park. Nice shows, by the way. Times like these makes me glad my TV has picture-in-picture.

But for this commentator, this was definitely a time to sit back and chill for a bit. Sorry, but no hot dogs, no burgers, no BBQ this time around. It's celebration by TV for me. Besides after several years of watching the fireworks on Lake Lanier, it's just not the same.

One of the local TV stations interviewed the curator of the "Atlanta Museum of Patriotism", which was filled with patriotic exhibits and symbols. He talked about how patriotism isn't "taught" in schools anymore... and I hate to say it, but he's got it all wrong.

Patriotism is something that has to be FELT. You can't force it on people, nor can you EXPECT people to automatically have it just because you WANT them to. You have to encourage it. You have to give them a REASON to be patriotic... and I don't mean "because I told you to" or "because you're a traitor if you aren't". You have to bring it out of them.

Patriotism is a PASSION... and you just like you can't MAKE someone love you if they don't want to, you can't MAKE someone feel patriotic if they don't want to be. That's why patriotism is defined as the "LOVE of your country", not the "LIKE of your country" or "ACCEPTANCE of your country".

And let me tell you something, it's hard to feel any kind of love of country when you have all of these faux patriots running around saying "our country, love it or leave it", and "with us or against us". It's hard to feel any kind of love of country when you have politicians playing their games and passing laws and regulations that contradict everything you believe in and then wrapping themselves up in Old Glory and claiming to speak on behalf of the whole country. Would you fall in love with someone who did that to you? Probably not.

By the way, for the record, I do love this country. I wouldn't be ranting about the freedoms that we take for granted if I didn't love this country. I wouldn't be a card-carrying Libertarian if I didn't love this country. The difference is that I know when that love of country turns into an abusive relationship.

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