The question Americans are asking themselves more and more is, “What IS patriotism?” The politicians yapping about the Tea Party claim to know what it is, but I reckon not. Whenever I read about the Tea Party, the big-wig names I hear are the same old cronies, Republican politicians, and back-room donors who’ve been around D.C. for years, selling snake oil under a new brand-name. When you get right down to brass tax, underneath their little slogans and sound bites, seems like the policies their bankrollers want to push on us are the opposite of everything that Americans were proud to do.
We fought for the rights of America’s workers, women, and minorities—the same inalienable rights that everybody deserves on account of being created equal. We created social security, unemployment, healthcare, and education programs so that we might live-up to being that “city upon a hill.” We took America’s great wilderness and protected it so that hunters, fishers, campers, hikers, and our kids and great-grandkids will be able to enjoy America tomorrow. We also made damned sure that the people who got the most out of living in our country gave back to it too, so that we could build the best roads, highways, railways, schools, hospitals, police and fire stations, public parks, libraries, universities, flood-control dams, sewage treatment plants, docks, airports, spaceports, laboratories, and companies in the world—because, as any Boy Scout will tell you, it’s your responsibility to leave a place better than you found it.
As J.F.K. said, we did this not because it was easy, but because it was hard…and it paid off, making America the most prosperous country on Earth. Nowadays, you show me some politician who wants to take all these things Americans did that made us great and do the opposite, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t know the first thing about being patriotic. Patriotism is about doing better—about doing your civic duty and having the decency to give a damn about your fellow countrymen, not about throwing a temper-tantrum when it’s time to do your chores. In my house, I’d have got the belt if I did what they talk about and didn’t chip-in, but these crooked Republican politicians keep trying to tell people that they don’t have to—and they think that just waving a flag will disguise the fact that what they are talking about is completely Un-American.
That’s why right now is the time to put our foot down to these spoiled brats, and show them what real patriotism is. If they want to live under our roof and enjoy everything Americans have built, they’ve got to do what others before them did to make this country great. My grandpa always told me that you have to stack the woodpile higher for the next guy. Well, when a Republican politician tells you all you have to do is think about yourself and not chip-in, you’ll know they’re a crooked coward. Instead of cutting and running from our achievements and responsibilities, like these Republican politicians want, being even better than the generation before us is how we will Keep America.
– Andrew S. Becker