Flags wave, fireworks fly, and magnetic stickers abound. But what does it mean to be patriotic? On the 232nd anniversary of the declaration creating the United States of America, it’s worth a few minutes to consider. An essay from the Makinac Center for Public Policy captures much of how I feel.
It isn’t that flags, fireworks, or even the ubiquitous magnetic appliques on our minivans can’t be legitimate expressions of patriotism, but too often they seem to be substitutes for actual patriotism. It’s as though if we put up enough flags we can convince others, or convince ourselves, of our commitment to the ideals on which this nation was founded, even if we are almost completely unable to express them, let alone actually live them.
Patriotism is more than an emotional response, chest thumping, or simple boosterism. It’s about those noble ideals, and each doing our part to be true to them in the small things in everyday life, and not just the heroic moments that come to a few.