The United States was a grand experiment and like all human endeavors, it did some things right and some things wrong. As an American, I tend to focus on what we did right and paint in my mind a tradition of positive evolution from the Founding Fathers to the present (with just missteps from time to time).
I consider myself patriotic. The last time I pledged allegiance to the “flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands” was this past July 6 and I expect to pledge at least once more this month. When I make that pledge, my allegiance is directed to the goal of making the United States a “more perfect union.”1
I admit that I typically don’t make a big deal of patriotic images and I don’t wear my patriotism on my sleeve (or my lapel). I have a flag on display in my study, as shown in the photo above and my father’s burial flag is also in a place of honor. There is also a flag on the right sidebar of this blog.4 That flag is on the blog for the same reason that this article is being written, to assert that it is my flag, and that the American flag is not is owned by any faction, particularly the extreme right wing, who like to paint themselves as the only true patriots, and to wrap themselves in the flag. I don’t suppose Lord Monckton1 would consider himself an American patriot, but even he plays dress-up with the American flag. Orly Taitz3 is perhaps more tastefully dressed for an anti-immigrant protest at Murrieta, California, this past July 4, but Taitz is not exactly following American founding tradition. The United States, as originally envisioned by our Founders, did not have an illegal immigration problem. In fact it was not 1875 that the United States even had an immigration law. Up until that time, anybody could come without restriction. After that time prostitutes and convicts were no longer welcome. Soon to follow were restrictions on the Chinese.
From the start, America had it’s share of conspiracy theorists, anti-government activists, and political dirty tricksters5, so I can hardly say that the birthers and others I oppose are unentitled to their own piece of that American tradition. I just want the country to move in a nobler6 and more enlightened direction than they do. My own desire is that we find liberty and justice for all, and not just for some.
5See, for example, The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory.
6Part of the Civitan Creed (I’m a member) states:
MY PLEDGE: to practice the Golden Rule and to build upon it a better and nobler citizenship.