Monday, June 19, 2006

I am a patriot

Why I disagree with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks

(From Main Entry: pa·tri·ot
Pronunciation: 'pA-trE-&t, -"ät, chiefly British 'pa-trE-&t
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French patriote compatriot, from Late Latin patriota, from Greek patriOtEs, from patria lineage, from patr-, patEr father
: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests

Yep, you can call me a patriot.

I was irritated when I read the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines' most recent comments about patriotism: " 'The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism,' Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. 'Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism.'"

My knee-jerk reaction is to grit MY teeth and grouse that Maines is once again revealing the "wide open spaces" between her ears.

I've had a few days to think about this, though, and some thoughts are emerging.

First of all, is it ironic to anyone else that Maines enjoys the freedom to make just this kind of remark BECAUSE of patriots who valued their country enough to fight for its freedoms?

Maines can say whatever she likes about her president, her government, her views on patriotism or the lack thereof. She might lose some record sales in some quarters, but no one is going to haul her into jail for making those comments. Why? She's an American.

Secondly, Maines' comments made me take a look at my own patriotism. There's no doubt I'm a dyed-in-the-wool patriot. I unashamedly love my country. I literally get choked up at a baseball game when the national anthem is sung. I've been to quite a few other countries--even lived in one--and I think America is still the greatest nation on the face of this earth.

Why am I a patriot? I don't know where it came from, this love of country that has been there as long as I can consciously remember. Yes, I grew up in a conservative Christian home, but so did a lot of other people who aren't particularly patriotic and some of whom have even totally rejected their parents' patriotism. No one ever waved a flag in my face and commanded, "You WILL love your country!"

It's just there, a flame that burns within my soul.

It's not blind, unquestioning jingoism. Sometimes the flame is low, because there are times I'm ashamed of my country's actions.

I have never completely agreed with any president in my lifetime; I question things. I love the military and support our troops, but I'm bothered about reports of cruelty and inhumane treatment (although I think such reports should be investigated before a knee-jerk opinion is formed). I'm ashamed of the vast number of abortions committed in our nation on a daily basis. I'm ashamed of unethicalism on the part of politicians on either side of the aisle.

But sometimes the flame burns brighter and stronger than ever. As it did on 9/11, when the American spirit rallied together in defense against the evil that had invaded our shores.

And when I see pictures of American soldiers giving food and treats to little Iraqi children.

And when I watch the solemn changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and am once again reminded of how many people shed their blood and gave their lives so that I can enjoy the very liberty that allows Natalie Maines and people like her to say the things they say.

Tammy Bruce says it much better than I have here. I like this quote particularly:

"Ms. Maines exemplifies the Ugly American--someone who completely takes for granted the extraordinary life the American ideal has given to people like her. She noted "you can like where you live and like your life..." but like a classic MalNar simply can't see beyond herself.

"I would suggest she move to Syria or North Korea or Mexico, and see exactly how much she'd like her life in those pits. Perhaps she could also make a short visit to one of our citizen swearing-in ceremonies and chat with those people who have braved all to become American citizens. Those are people who, unlike Ms. Maines, understand the importance of joy and freedom, have fought to live it, and know that it is only in America where dreams come true."

Michelle Malkin also has a terrific post on this subject, including several pictures that would turn Natalie Maines' stomach, and link to something really cool called Project Prayer Flag.

And here's a poem that Natalie Maines would hate.

And on a different subject...

I didn't blog about Father's Day, but I would be remiss if I didn't say a huge thanks to my wonderful husband, Doug, for being (among other things) a wonderful, loving, godly dad to our three children. Honey, you're the best! :)

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