I’m trying to figure out if I am pissed off or just disgusted this morning. What is a patriot? Do you get to be a patriot by serving in the military? Or is it something more. Does wearing a uniform get you a free pass? What about the uniform of a religious leader? Does that infer some kind of immunity from stupidity? I’m all riled up, but it’s pointed in so many directions. There’s two things that are driving my discomfiture this morning.
First, I wanted to buy an American flag for my house. The current one is looking a bit worn and needs to be retired. I have great respect for the flag. I have several, including the one that draped my father-in-law’s casket. It’s an important symbol to me. So I went online to find a nice one. The first 5 hits on my Google search were all for imported flags. It just strikes me as a little weird.
Second, I see all the crap that Obama’s “ex” preacher is dealing with. Some are questioning the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s patriotism. I can see how that may be. I’ve heard the snippet where he’s preaching the fire of “god bless America? Oh no, God DAMN America!” That sounds pretty unpatriotic to me. But he says that one cannot judge the snippet unless one heard the whole sermon. And that “I served six years in the military.” “Does that make me patriotic? How many years did (Vice President Dick) Cheney serve?”. I dunno. I know a lot of folks that have served in the military that are most certainly not patriotic. They joined the military for the monetary benefits and then were kinda dumbstruck when military action popped up. But I also know lot’s of folks that have served and are regular civilians who have committed selfless acts that demonstrate a love for their country. Yep, those are patriots.
There is supposed to be a separation between church and state. Granted, religion and politics are taking the same form: blind faith in the unseen and expectations of the unreal. I’m not a real patriot because I don’t think I have committed one of those selfless acts for the US. I may be patriotic, but I’m not a patriot. I fly the flag, I vote, I serve my jury duty… And I’m not religious. I’d like to think that there was something more to this existence than just decomposition when it’s all over. The spiritual part of the dynamic works for me, but I doubt you’ll ever see me, at this point, preaching from the pulpit. I will not speak poorly of your religion, though.
What we do is a much more important measure of what we are than what we say. Take, for instance, my oldest daughter. She’s got the learners permit driving license. The other day, she was being tail-gated by one of the GeekSquad vans that’s always zipping around our neighborhood. This guy has been doing that a lot. But this, time, my daughter had turned a corner with the guy on her rear bumper and there was a parked car in front of her. She had to stop because there was an oncoming vehicle coming in the other direction. GeekSquad boy decides to punch it and swerves out from behind my daughter, cuts off the oncoming vehicle and dives back in front of my daughter. Trust me, everyone was shaking. I waited a day before I “reacted” to this. I went down to the Best Buy store (where the GeekSquad is located) and had a private conversation with the store manager. The situation is being handled directly. My daughter was surprised that I “had her back” like that. It didn’t make me a better dad. I was doing what I was supposed to do. No superhero status. But maybe if I had done that for somebody that I didn’t know… maybe that would have qualified me for special status. Sort of like being a patriot versus being patriotic.