Tuesday, September 01, 2015


My mother made a comment to me awhile ago that has been turning over in my mind a lot lately. She said that one of the main difference Ronald Reagan made as president was that he made us patriotic again. One of my earliest memories is of Reagan getting elected, so I don't really remember what the country was like before that. I've heard stories of gas lines, hatred towards the military, mistrust thanks in large part to Watergate (the first and only actual "gate" scandal), and just a general dissatisfaction. What I remember is the US beating the Russians at hockey, hostages being released, and the literal wall of communism being brought down.
In the 80's, if someone mentioned that the U.S. was the richest country in the world, we said "Yeah, it is!" If someone pointed out that we had the most fearsome military we responded with, "Hoorah!"  When it was pointed out that the U.S. was a Christian nation, we said, "God Bless America!!!".  Now, the response to all of those is, "I'm sorry." What happened?
It may seem like a side effect or trival, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like a major problem. When you no longer take pride in the condition of something, you often neglect the upkeep of that thing. That is what is going on. We have neglected to upkeep our great nation. We have thrown out all moral codes, chipped away at what use to be basic freedoms, and compromised our financial structure in a strange effort to prove we aren't better than anyone else.
People! It is okay to be the best at something. It is okay to be happy we were born into the freedom this country provides. It is okay that our country is so rich that even our poor people have more than some of the middle class in a third world country. We don't need to apologize. We don't need to give our stuff away. What we need to do is educate the world on how we got here. The cold war didn't end because of an apology. It was just the opposite. It ended because our way of life was clearly better, and we weren't going to back down or be ashamed of it. 
I think a lack of patriotism is at the heart of low voter turn out and uninformed voters. I recently heard a radio guy talking about how to get more people interested in voting, and the most common answer people gave was to entertain and feed people. This actually made me a little sick. I believe in the American voting system. I mean, hardcore, can't imagine not voting, have to know, believe in it. It's not just a right, it is a responsibility. We are charged with electing people who will preserve and protect the American way of life. If you are busy being embarrassed by that way of life or feel that you are owed something by it, then voting (certainly, informed voting) becomes a hindrance to you. We should not need a reason to vote beyond the fact that we have been blessed to be citizens of this great nation and are responsible for maintaining a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. 
When I was a kid, I remember my dad listening to a recording of John Wayne talking about patriotism. It stuck in my mind when he said that the National Anthem should not only bring you to your feet, but should give you chills up your arms every time you hear it. Can you imagine an actor unabashedly standing up to support the idea that we should be so in love with our country that we are willing to die for it? That is what John Wayne did, and by YouTube evidence, he did it fairly often. 
I don't think patriotism will solve all our country's problems, but I think a surge of it would go a long way towards healing the divide that has become so evident in this land. It is something I will be asking myself before I vote in the presidential primary, and then the election. Which canidate truly loves this country? Who wants to see it restored? Who recognizes that a revival is needed? If I said to them, "We live in the greatest nation in the world!", would they ask me to sit and be quiet or would they yell "Amen!"

Stand up people! We are awesome, and it is high time we remember that.

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