Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Way I See It; Patriotism Should Be A Quiet Virtue



Opinion

A certain issue has been bugging me for a very long time- and it's the segment of our society that self describes themselves as being patriots.

But before you read on, please note; I have nothing against patriots, and I am not indicting or criticizing people for love of the United States or of any other country (should the reader be from another nation). Hopefully readers and others may find me to be patriotic. But what I find disturbing is when a person feels the need to describe themselves as being a patriot.

Because in my eyes, being a patriot is a virtue. It's like being honest, or being a good parent or spouse, or being wise. You can even throw in the attribute of possessing beauty, internally or externally, or having talent. And to me, if a person is truly virtuous they don't extol their virtues.

I can tell another person they are wise, or possess genius, or are a good son to aging parents. But for a person to crow about their own virtues- "I'm a good son" or "I'm the smartest guy here", for example- is really bad form.

And it's not very humble.....and humility might be the greatest of all virtues.

Some of these feelings that I have no doubt come from the "Rally To Restore America" that Glenn Beck is holding in Washington today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He'll be addressing tens of thousands of patriots later on today.....and I know they're patriots, because so many of them say they are. I guess all one has to do is join "Tea Party Patriots" and that does the trick, like baptism or a bar mitzvah sanctifies and admits you to a realm of faith.

I grew up during a time where I was surrounded by quiet patriots, that of The Greatest Generation.  This includes my Dad, my uncles, my Mom, grandparents, cousins, family friends and others who came of age during the Great Depression and then fought the Nazis and Japanese in World War II, or made sacrifices here on the home front, or worked in factories aiding the fight against Axis oppression. They always talked about the Depression and WW2 when I was a little kid, and we listened to stories of gas rationing and boot camp and Grandma driving rivets as she helped put together tanks and jeeps at the old GM plant that was converted for the war effort. There many different stories from many different people, but they all had one commonality....

Each one said they were just doing their share. They didn't ask for extra credit. None of my acquaintances from that generation ever pointed to themselves and said "I'm a patriot". They would talk about the other guy and say, "He was a great patriot", or "She sure was patriotic". But they never made it about themselves....they were old school. You left it to others to praise your virtues, you never praise yourself. It was something called humility.

And that, in our narcissistic age where there are no secrets and a multitude of lies, is something seemingly lost in America.


Maybe a look in the mirror.....and a dose of humility directed at one's self, and to one's country, is what really needs to be restored.

2 comments:

Malcolm said...

Excellent post! It's a shame that many of these people who tout their patriotism equate it with conservatism. They are the same ones who cheered when President Obama's bid to get the Summer Olympics for Chicago failed. Oh yeah, they're the true patriots alright. Please!

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Hey Malcolm! I just found this self aggrandizing to be very troubling. It's almost as if some of these guys need validation from others that they are truly part of the "real America", whatever that's supposed to be.

And I have a question for these uber-American super patriots from south of the Mason-Dixon line.....the men who fought and died defending the Confederate States of America; in retrospect, were they patriots?

Just a thought.

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