Patriotism is a unique emotion. To me, it means love of country, love of our history, and love of our community.
Patriotism, as of late, has been not more than a weapon yielded against one political party from another. Republicans, in their American flag caps and t-shirts, wear their patriotism on their sleeves (literally). The flag is meaningful, must be saluted, revered, and protected (unless you need to cut it up in order to give it sleeves and wear it to the next tea party rally).
What makes me saddest? At the very thought of even the smallest tax or fee increase, Americans (the loudest among them, Republicans) are immediately up in arms – fighting for their right to not be taxed. “Taxed Enough Already” – that is the mantra of the tea party, no? It is viewed as treading on personal liberty if you dare collect the revenue needed to maintain schools or roads. People are passionate – they are angry – outraged, even – at the very thought that the government may take another penny of the money we all work so hard to earn.
In the same breath, we defend, justify, and advocate for more war. More loss of life. Loss of valuable, productive, young life – other patriots that pledge the ultimate allegiance to our nation, and back that pledge up with the risk of their lives.
When did we, as a nation, become so twisted that we began to value money over life? Over education? Over the accomplishments that made our country great, like the Hoover Dam or walking on the moon? How is it possible that we yell, scream, and protest against a few pennies a day being used to pay for the services we all utilize and need; and in the same breath, NOT protest conflicts that have taken thousands of valuable American lives?
Life is more important than 5% of the gross income of married couples making a combined $250,000 a year. Can we at least agree on that?