Growing Up Patriotism

“Patriotism can be a dangerous thing if it leads to amnesia about the dark patches of our nation’s history,” writes Shane Claiborne. When we go digging into the lesser known aspects of our past, it’s clear America has never lived up to its own ideals. But this very fact is one of the catalysts pushing us forward, even if it is only inch by inch. This is the unfinished American dream totally worth celebrating — the dangerously subversive idea all people are created equal and have an important voice regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, class, race, or religion. May it someday be fully practiced and realized.

If patriotism is a love for one’s own country, then it matures and grows up when we recognize patriotism is a love for the people of our own country. To love another is to ascribe infinite worth, without stipulation, condition or reciprocation. To love someone is to stop trying to recreate them in our own image of who we think they should be. To love simply means we allow others, especially those “different” from us, to be themselves and to accept the depths of our truest self without shame. Anything with conditions — hidden or otherwise — isn’t love at all. Thus it ceases to be patriotic.

Who are we to love? The folks at Love Has No Labels shed some light on the average American of today and, in the process, remind us what it means to be a genuinely patriotic American (with a love that goes far beyond the walls of our borders). We truly are an interdependent and diverse community.

Happy “Interdependence” Day! #weareamerica

To celebrate our national interdependence more deeply, Claiborne offers a couple inspiring suggestions:

1). Track down old teachers and mentors. Let them know the influence they have had in your life.
3). Try to go a whole week without spending any money. If you have to, barter or beg a little to make it through.
14). Track to its source one item of food you eat regularly. Then, each time you eat that food, remember the folks who made it possible for you to it it.

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