Monday, June 30, 2003

If you are living in the U.S. and can't agree with this perspective, then I wonder whether you have ever lived abroad. For all our faults and missteps, as a nation, I still think we are great. Our potential is even greater, so vote and care, and continue to celebrate our unique freedoms and blessings. Last year, (July 3) I felt a huge wave of patriotism wash over me. It's not from blind love of country or zealous passion for our "specialness." My sense of patriotism comes from an appreciation of freedoms and opportunities that are rare and precious; it comes from knowing the difference between living in a country with free libraries versus living in Guatemala where we walked between the muzzles of automatic rifles to enter the dim, one room library. I am relieved to live in a country where most people, most of the time, care about where they dump their trash, and strive to establish and maintain environmental policies; the last time I stayed in Mexico the careless littering, the utter lack of responsibility from individuals or government was embarassing and tragic. I don't mean to put down other countries and point out their inadequacies, but the differences are a keen reminder to me that in spite of the problems here we enjoy many wonderful services and ideals; our expectations, and our protection of our freedom is crucial to maintaining our way of life. I don't propose we impose or deny our views and methods for the rest of the world, but I do want to enjoy a sense of pride in the good we accomplish. My patriotism comes from being bored with cynicsm, and finger pointing. I find life is more fulfilling when I recognize and appreciate the good in people, and look for hope and possibility; then I am further motivated to be involved in improvements and advancements, and proactive in compassionate activities.

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