Today is the day. July 4th. The pinnacle of our patriotism. Today we celebrate the United States of America becoming a free, independent nation. Or do we?
My observations show me that many of my fellow countrymen have it all wrong. I see blatant disregard for our flag on almost a daily basis. While you may think flying the flag out of the back of your jacked up 4-wheel drive shows your true American spirit, at freeway speeds that flag soon becomes a tattered rag of red white and blue. I honor your commitment to displaying our nation’s colors. I frown on your ignorance. According to the flag etiquette guidelines of the Old Farmers Almanac (which has been around nearly as long as our flag) “The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way”.
Another big no-no in flag etiquette is the wearing of the flag. For this I quote USFlag.org, a website dedicated to the honor of the U.S. Flag. “The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations”. O.K. so maybe we should give a little leeway to a toddler’s star spangled sundress or those really cool stars and stripes swim trunks you’re wearing to the barbecue. But when some idiot lighting bottle rockets in combat boots and an American flag Speedo goes viral on social media, we have to draw the line. That’s not patriotism, people. That’s just an asshole in a Speedo.
Now let’s move on to politics, since most of you were already going there in your mind anyway. Patriotism is not a trait that belongs to one political party over another. Nor should it be. If someone disagrees with you on your stance on the first, second, or any of the other 25 amendments, that does not make them any less American than you. That merely means they disagree on that particular issue. Agree to disagree, and move on.
The dictionary defines ‘patriotic’ as: “Having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country”. I realize that leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but for crying out loud people let’s raise the bar! Be respectful of our flag and our fellow Americans. Be grateful for our freedoms and those who have provided and continue to provide it for us. You can do this through your actions much more than you can do it through outlandish displays of ignorance and arrogance. Vote. Donate Blood. Serve on jury duty. That’s true support for your country.
So yes. Let’s all celebrate America today, and every day, with true American pride. But let’s show some class and dignity while we’re at it. After all, people, this isn’t ‘Murica damnit… It’s AMERICA!