The American people have a special regard for patriots; hence most people strive to be thought of as patriotic. This is especially true of those who hold or aspire to elective office. In the last few election cycles there has been a concerted effort to redefine patriotism.
The traditional “short” definition of patriot is “someone who loves and defends his or her country” (Webster). In the broadest sense, this definition is adequate. However to apply the term to an individual you must first define what is meant by the terms, “loves”, “defends” and “country”.
These are all general terms and must be narrowed considerably in order to be helpful in forming an opinion about what it means to be patriotic. To say someone loves their country does not tell you very much about the person’s feelings toward that country. Exactly what is it the person loves? The geography? The people? The climate? The customs? The government? The traditions? The culture? What?
When they talk about loving America are they talking about the America that exists today or an idealized picture of the America they would like to see exist in the future? When they talk about defending America, exactly what is it they want to defend? The government? The culture? The economic system? The political system? What?
In a speech Sunday given in Independence, Missouri, at the Harry Truman Library, Obama attempted to defend his own version of patriotism. In doing so, he vowed never to question the patriotism of others and added “I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.”
In our politically correct culture it is not considered proper to question someone’s patriotism. In fact, it has become fashionable when criticizing someone’s political position to preface the criticism with a statement disavowing any intention of questioning the patriotism of the person being criticized. Not being a fan of political correctness, I can say unequivocally, “I do not question the patriotism of Barack Obama, simply because, in my opinion, he has none, therefore there is nothing to question“.
To me, this is a demonstrative, provable fact. If he is patriotic, the object of that patriotism is not America as it exists today. Consider with me, for a moment, just what patriotism means. The word Patriot refers to someone who is patriotic. “Patriotic” is an adjective which according to Webster is a word used to describe or limit a noun. In order for the term “patriotic” to have real meaning it must have an object. In America, when we speak of someone being patriotic or a patriot, we mean they are a patriotic American. To be more specific, we are saying the object of their patriotic feelings, thoughts and actions, is America.
Which brings us to the question: What is America? A nation is defined by three characteristics; its culture, its economic system, and its government. The American culture is Judeo-Christian. That is to say, it draws its social values and moral standards from its Judeo-Christian heritage. You may wish to argue with that statement, but let’s save that for another day. Our economic system is free-market capitalism and our government is a constitutional republic.
An American patriot is someone who loves and is willing to defend, with their life if necessary, its culture, its economic system and its government. It goes without saying, if you are willing to defend a government with your life, it’s a good idea to understand just what that government is. George Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Dick Durbin is not the government. They are employees hired by the voters to administer the government, but they are not the government. Neither are the bureaucracies, courts, or other institutions responsible for the government’s functioning.
The American government has two essential elements, its form and its Constitution. The form of the American government is a republic. It is presided over by persons elected or appointed to represent the interests of the people for a specified period of time and who are subject to the will of the people and the rule of law. The Constitution is the first and supreme law of the land. All subsequent laws, in order to be valid, i.e., lawful, must be consistent with those contained in the Constitution.
While the laws contained in the Constitution are specific and easily understood by the populace, there are no specific penalties prescribed for their violation other than dismissal from positions of “trust or profit” within the government. An appointed official who violates the Constitution is subject to dismissal by their elected superiors. An elected official who violates the Constitution or fails to discipline subordinates who do is subject to being dismissed by the voters in the next election. In particularly egregious violations both are subject to impeachment and if in the process of violating the Constitution they also violated a statute they are subject to criminal prosecution in a court of law.
Every official in all levels of government within the United States, from the policeman on the beat to the President in the oval office, is sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. It is obvious that all officials do not take that oath seriously, considering it to be only a ceremonial requirement. The real defenders of the Constitution are the American people and those who fail to do so are not entitled to be called patriotic.
In Obama’s case, he does not support the Constitution, he does not support the government, he does not support the economy, and he does not support the culture. He believes they all need to be improved or changed to fit his concept of what America should be. In his speech Sunday he pleaded for acceptance of his version of patriotism this way. “…surely, we can arrive at a definition of patriotism that, however rough and imperfect, captures the best of America’s common spirit.” In the same speech he also said,” when we argue about patriotism, we are arguing about who we are as a country, and more importantly, who we should be.”
When Obama speaks of “change” he is speaking of changing our economic system from free-market capitalism to socialism, our form of government from a constitutional republic to a socialist democracy and our culture to a conglomeration of all the cultures of the world.
It has been said, the difference between a rebel and a patriot depends on who wins. That’s a true statement. Thomas Jefferson, who I believe to be one of America’s greatest patriots was not always so. Prior to July 4, 1776 he was an unpatriotic subject of the British Crown. On July 4, 1776 he officially became a revolutionary and remained one until the new Government was formed on November 15, 1777 under the Articles of Federation. On that date he became an American patriot and later changed his allegiance from the Federation to the Constitutional Republic founded in 1787 with the signing of the Constitution. To say he was a patriot before 1777 you have to identify the object of his patriotism. It could not have been the United States of America because they did not exist.
One cannot be a revolutionary and a patriot at he same time in regard to the same object. The terms are mutually exclusive. If you support your country including its government you are a patriot. If you seek to change your country and/or its government by unlawful means you are a revolutionary, not a patriot. Seeking to change our government through judicial fiat, congressional disregard for the Constitution, or by executive order of the President are all unconstitutional and unlawful and therefore revolutionary. Obama and all those who support his desire to change the government using any means other than constitutional amendments are revolutionaries and not patriots.