Patriotism is the good we do for one another and our collective selves.  It is a quality of how we go at life — famously as soldiers, but also as parents, neighbors, workers and citizens. All of these areas call for patriotism–acts of responsibility to our common well-being.

A flag over my door does not make me patriotic; I can still lie, cheat and steal.  Silence during the national anthem does not make me unpatriotic; I can still support the well-being of my community — in fact, I may be using my silence to support the community as I am given to see where its prosperity lies.

We honor as patriotism the violent protest of our nation’s founders.  The tamer protest of kneeling or standing silently is not a hallmark of disrespect.  If we really honor what those founders established, we value efforts to speak for a better nation and recognize that silence in the face of wrongs joins with those wrongs as the real treachery.

–Dan Greaney

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18 Responses

  1. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Beautifully written, eloquently said . . . Appropriate words for this week, but needs to reverate in our souls all year long.
    How loudly can I say, AMEN!!!??

  2. Avatar Gloria newton says:

    Ditto everything Adrienne said and a resounding AMEN.

  3. Avatar Randy says:

    Dan, Your perspectives on patriotism truly inspire me toward a broader, more inclusive vision of who we are as Americans and our potential to become a great force for common good in the world.

  4. Avatar Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    Right ON

  5. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    The photos of our Cheater-in-Chief hugging the flags on stages are the most disturbing thing I have seen lately, with the exception of the children at the border in cages. A close third are the North Korean flags interspersed with ours during the photo-op with Kim Jong Un.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      The president hugging the flag was goofy but not disrespectful. The ‘cages’ you speak of were built in the Obama administration and the president attempting to find peace in the Korean peninsula is a good thing, isn’t it? The past 3-4 administrations ignored N Korea, and look where it got us.

      • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

        Well, I thought it was disrespectful, since we are tossing opinions out.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Linda, How so?

          • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

            Doug, since you asked. It seems to me that the heart of this essay by Dan Greaney, is that displaying the flag doesn’t simply make one patriotic. For me, that includes hugging the flag doesn’t make one patriotic either. Trump was displaying showmanship, and I don’t find him sincere in his regard for America. Now, that’s my personal opinion regarding Trump. However, I take objection to anyone hugging the flag. Again, as the essay describes, it’s the actions that count. Having said all that, I personally value the flag as a symbol of a country that I do love. I don’t appreciate an individual screwing around with it, and making it his own. The flag is not a toy. At least in my mind.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            LInda, Interesting observation, However I don’t see it that way. As I said, it was a goofy thing to do but I don’t think it was disrespectful. Is an athlete in the Olympics that drapes himself with an American flag after winning a race being disrespectful for not handling a flag properly? Is Megan Rapinoe being disrespectful to the flag with her kneeling? I think in both cases…yes. I think it is more likely the main issue here is the idea that everything President Trump does is wrong. That is also disrespectful. I agree with you and also value the flag as a symbol of our great country and am saddened by the attacks on the flag recently by the far left. To the point that Colin Kapernick got a Nike shoe stopped because it had a Betsy Ross flag on it. THAT is disrespectful. Just the other day, I scolded a driver of a pickup truck that had a old tattered flag displayed. I encouraged him to replace it as he was being disrespectful.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      The cages, in the news now, are in Florida run by a for profit company started during President Obama’s term but further exploited by President Trump. Nobody gets a pass on these cages. This has been in national news for weeks and exploited by Democratic candidates for the 2020 election. A guided tour by various news media was finally allowed with cameras. As the reporters stated this was a guided tour where the reporters could not speak with detainees. This has been all over the national news. And all those pictures being endlessly shown of toddlers taken from their mothers and migrants being gassed are from California. There are no Pacific coast beaches in Arizona.
      In Arizona news reporters showed a new detention center built by the Border Patrol in Yuma, Arizona. Reporters were allowed and encouraged to take pictures. AC units were highly visible and in use. Shelves stocked with all manner of food and essential supplies, yes soap. Bunk beds with real sheets and blankets, a row of baby playpens. Interviews said this would hold 500 migrants but they needed more. 500 migrants a week cross the border just at Yuma.
      I credit the improving treatment in Arizona for migrants to Senator Sinema and the group of churches who have been protesting to Arizona over the treatment ICE has done with immigrants. Those churches have had to file charges against “patriot” groups who have invaded church grounds to threaten church members over helping migrants.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        So what happens Bruce when those 500 beds are taken up in a week? Where do the rest go? Congress had ignored this crisis… heck, Democrats until just recently had denied there was a crisis…remember? Trump made up the emergency. That is what Pelosi and the rest of the Democrat leaders said. Even now…all of the Democrat candidates said in the debate that they want to decriminalize illegal border crossings and give every person who steps across the border free health insurance. That 500 a week border crossings will turn into 5000

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Doug, don’t you watch the news? They are loading them on planes and flying them to sanctuary cities that say they want them.

  6. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    Dan, your article reminds me of an essay I wrote in 8th grade. It was titled, “People Make a Nation.” We sure do! I even won the essay contest.

    • Avatar Dan Greaney says:

      It seems we need these reminders–that people matter, and that words and symbols (like “patriotism” and flags) are attempts to express thoughts and honor ideals, not substitutes for them.

  7. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    This situation at the border goes way back before Obama . . . maybe as far back as Truman. In Coachella Valley, where I grew up, we always expected an influx of “illegal aliens” (we didn’t call them that then, they were simply called wetbacks even tho’ we were thousands of miles from the Rio Grande). They arrived the Spring to do the cultivation then the harvest. Did the back breaking labor no one else wanted to do. Saved their money. Sent it back home. Went back to Mexico in the winter. Some of the guys who worked on my uncle’s ranch in Coachella had worked for him for over 20 years. This was in the late 40’s.
    Of course, these weren’t families fleeing violence and death threats . . . that’s a relatively recent addition to the mix. And a scary one at that!!

  8. Avatar Randy says:

    Interesting how ‘patriotism’ can cover the full range of human actions depending on the personal values of the ‘patriots’.

  9. Avatar Sharon chesnut says:

    Thanks..”..happy July 4