There seems to be a lot of arguments lately over patriotism. Some people seem to think that patriotism is practiced by uneducated people. (These same people seem to have the same opinion about religion.) I say to be a patriot is to acknowledge that you are a part of something greater than yourself. A patriot loves his country, warts and all. No system of government is perfect because it is run by people and people are far from perfect. A patriot is proud of his country, his friends, his neighbors. America is not just a government, its a land where people of different races, creeds, values, beliefs, backgrounds, ideals can come together and co-exist. They can have a voice in their government, they can voice their opinions, they can worship their own way. Sometimes we forget that this is not always the case in other parts of the world. We have many freedoms here in this country, the greatest of which is freedom of speech. This means everyone is entitled to have their own opinion. Lets not forget another important part of freedom of speech. The comedian Gallagher reminds us that freedom of speech includes volume. If you do not like what someone else says, you don't have to listen!
I thought I would share a few quote from Thomas Paine that I thought were appropriate today:
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. "
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
"When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary."
"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. "