There are many things wrong with this country. From the crookedness of many politicians, contributing to an overwhelming lack of faith in our government, to a broken system of welfare, immigration, and the like... it can be consuming if you think about it too hard. One thing I learned in my own little corner of politics is that many people will think one thing or at least tell you one thing to your face, but then bow to the pressure of those who have the most money and power. Politics, the heart of our government, is a delicate dance between doing what is right and caving to something that isn't, if only for the ease of another burden. It can easily lead to hard feelings and even in small towns, is very stressful for everyone involved.
For many voters, the stress of day to day life leaves little left to concern oneself with such things as politics, especially when it seems like there's nothing one can do to right seemingly obvious wrongs. It's easier to go on about life, I suppose, pushing on in blind hope that those in power really do have the best interests of the people at heart as opposed to only their own best interests.
Though my political involvement thus far has been a little sour (and I still cringe at the label of "politician" as people recall my failed run for office), I still have that desire in my heart to be a part of something bigger than myself and to assist with change that can help people. To me, that's what being patriotic is.
I'm patriotic in the sense that I am glad I live in a country where I can walk into a restaurant and pray and not worry about law enforcement coming to arrest me or lop my head off. Many countries' citizens can't say the same. I'm patriotic in the sense that I'm glad I can pursue a seat in my local government (or state or even national, not that my aspirations are as such, but I could if I wanted to!). I'm patriotic in the sense that I can recall my studies of history and be proud of the foundation this country was built on.
I don't have to like everything that politics and government stand for today, but I can hope for something better and that hope, to me, is the basis of patriotism.
Happy Independence Day, y'all. I'm going to leave you with a quote from one of my writer friends.
"Happy birthday to my country. It is not perfect, but it is still a land of opportunity and wonder, and a land that is slowly beginning to look towards the future instead of a mythic past. I am a raging liberal and patriotism is not always popular amongst my ilk, but I feel like if you don't love where you came from you can't love where you're going. I love all the people and places of America and all of our ideals, and yes, I am proud to be an American." - Nancy Knows
Peace, love, and hope,