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.