Do you think America is the greatest country in the world?
For today’s politicians, the answer to this question doesn’t reveal their reflections on American history; it falsely validates their patriotism.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani recently questioned Barack Obama’s patriotism by saying the president wasn’t raised to “love America” and that the president “sees our weaknesses as footnotes to the great things we’ve done.” Giuliani somewhat clarified his ignorance by saying “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that.”
So, if you answer ‘yes, America’s the greatest’, you have passed Giuliani’s patriot test. If you answer ‘no,’ clearly, you don’t love America.
Giuliani seems to use this question as more of a litmus stupidity test. Can you say America is the best, no questions asked? Can you deny science? Deny man-made climate change? You can be a patriot. According to Giuliani, you should run for president.
Our founding fathers must be rolling in their graves. They wanted a change and criticized the status quo, sentiments that we should deem as patriotic as they were in 1776. Just because Obama is conscious of America’s problems doesn’t mean he isn’t patriotic.
The dichotomy of this yes-or-no question polarizes not just politicians, but all Americans.
Many ignorant, racist, flag-worshipping conservatives masquerade their beliefs into “patriotism.” Therefore, many Americans choose not to identify as “patriotic” since it carries the weight of thousands of idiots. Maybe you think America is the most exceptional country in the world, and maybe you don’t go around saying that because you have respect for other countries.
And why do we have to be the best? There’s no scale to judge it on. Should we judge all countries based on their fifth grader’s test scores and the rate of violent crimes? We would not be so exceptional in those categories.
Patriotism, at its most basic, is loving the land you call home.
A best friend wouldn’t lie to you to make you feel better. They would be honest and critical, if they truly loved you. Obama loves us, even if Giuliani said he doesn’t. Obama loves America so much he sees the potential it has. Maybe Giuliani sees the U.S. as a powerful acquaintance and sucks up to her because he’s masking his shady intentions.
America has room for improvement, and so does our cultural understanding of patriotism.
A true American patriot doesn’t have to fight in a war for our country; a true patriot protects the homeland in another way: by preserving it.
Promoting National and State Parks, saving endangered ecosystems and recycling waste helps to protect the home soil more than soldiers do by occupying other countries. Yet, our society tells us soldiers are America’s heroes, and those environmentalists are anti-American for slowing down business.
It’s also apparently un-American to support immigration and the proper treatment of human beings who cross our boarders without paperwork. Unless you’re Native American, your ancestors were immigrants at one point, so it’s hypocritical to deny other immigrants the opportunities America offers.
We do live in an exceptional country, under an exceptional Constitution, but even Thomas Jefferson said we should revise the Constitution every 20 years. There’s no need to lie to ourselves, because if we do, we stop improving.