“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
There are many outward signs of patriotism to be found in RV Parks. Many RV’ers are veterans who have served or fought in foreign lands for this nation. Most of those who so proudly display these signs are of my generation or earlier. It was much easier to understand patriotism when I was growing up and thought I knew what America stood for. But lately I’ve been wondering just what patriotism is. Perhaps this comes from not being very proud of things happening in America just now.
For example, the quote above by Emma Lazarus captures the attitude and philosophy which in many ways has been the basis of America’s greatness and strength — our diverse melting pot. Those words reside on the Statue of Liberty and welcomed to this nation those who dream of something greater and are willing to work to make their lives and this country better. It is only by honoring the meaning of those words that America can continue its unique greatness. Building walls and shutting ourselves off from the rest of the world is not my idea of America and not the America I spent 11 years in the military defending.
But evidently some disagree. So is patriotism about blindly following the current policies of the American government…hiding behind a catch phrase like, “America First?” Or should it be for us to consider within ourselves what this great nation of America should be, what it promises to its citizens and the world and stand fast to those founding principles? I find help answering these questions in the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;…” ~~ United States Declaration of Independence
It is us, the individuals, who give the power to our government and it is us, as true patriots, who must hold them accountable, especially if they are trying to corrupt the very principles we and this nation stand for.
And so we must; and so we shall!