The Trappings Of Patriotism

Fireworks over the Washington Monument. 1986

Tomorrow is Independence Day. Because it falls in the middle of the week and many people will have the day off of work on the actual holiday, some localities will choose to have fireworks displays tonight. It’ll be seen as a courtesy, allowing people to sleep in; or it’ll be a recognition that another municipality nearby has a larger, more widely attended display and they’re trying to bolster attendance by luring people who enjoy fireworks enough to see them two days in a row.

There will be flags. There will be eagles. And there will be MAGA hats.

Whereas the appeal to the extremists in the Democrat party has typically been “America hasn’t lived up to the ideals it claimed”, the appeal to the extremists in the Republican party has become “America is always superior, even when it abandons its core values.” The first group is unlikely to attend patriotic displays in large numbers; the second is likely to overwhelm them.

They are false patriots. They have pledged themselves to the trappings, and abandoned the reasons behind them. They do this even as they utter words and phrases which hold deep meaning behind them – “freedom”, “Constitutionalism”, “the rule of law”. For these people the meaning of those words is not an absolute; it is conditional depending on who benefits from them.

It is the same deep hypocrisy which has driven people from religions in the past, even as individual church ranks may temporarily swell. Hypocrisy not over a temporary action but about the core beliefs one professes to have.

These are the types of thoughts which are likely to run through the minds of many patriots – people who, even if they don’t really understand what the driving concepts behind the country’s success have been, strive to learn and comprehend them. (Might I suggest Steve’s excellent series on that topic, to anyone who may have passed it by? This would be a great time to pass that link on to someone you know who might be curious….)

It is the sort of thing which is likely to be front and center in thoughts when others start giddily praising the vision of tanks rolling through our capitol, which will inevitably happen on July 5th and across a handful of days afterward.

I have one suggestion for such patriots. Don’t let it bother you. I recognize the inevitable frustration, but remember: they are truly ignorant, no different than children trying to involve themselves in an adult conversation after learning a commonly known fact. Even as they cheer their own vapidity and revel in similar responses, the simple truth remains that the core of the country… our principles, our founding, the concepts behind limited government, our massive successes and our depressing failures… remains the greatest driver of humanity’s movement away from misery, tyranny and poverty. Americanism, true Americanism that is completely unmoored from tribalism, deserves recognition. It has earned those fireworks. It has earned a celebration through the night, through the day, and into the next night.

It has earned the flags and the eagles. The current President, whether Reagan or Clinton, a Bush or Obama or Trump, barely matters. This is a celebration of America’s founding and what she has meant to the world. Let the fireworks fly, and enjoy the gift the founders gave to us all.

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About AlienMotives 1276 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.