Thursday, June 27, 2013

Some thoughts on patriotism

I often find patriotism a difficult subject to talk about, for a number of reasons. For one, both major parties profess patriotism. While I acknowledge that there are Democrats with great love for our country, I have found patriotism to be far more common among Republicans, and well-meaning policies from even the most patriotic of Democrats often do great harm to the country. In addition, I have heard a number of liberals say disparaging things about this country, which always fills me with disgust. This is in marked contrast to the solemn pride that most conservatives feel about their association with this country.

To be sure, I respect patriotism and love of country in all nations, and I have a great love of a number of other countries. This love includes an admiration of their culture, and a fascination with their history. But as far as countries go, I have only one true love, and that is America. To her I shall be forever loyal, and my heart will always sing her praise.

Another reason patriotism is difficult to talk about is because people are usually expected to profess it, and this admirable social norm about praising one's country sometimes makes it harder to trust such praise. Do people speak this praise out of true sentiment, or do they do it only to comply with social norms? I admire the culture that encourages patriotism, but it sometimes makes it difficult to ascertain the true depth of one's sentiment.

The final reason that I find patriotism a difficult subject to talk about is because my feelings for America are so deep that it is sometimes hard to put them into words. My love of country is expressed in my own unique way - in learning of its history and culture, of its economy and government, and of the remarkable men and women that have struggled to make it what it is today. This is one of the ways that I show my love for my country. But in terms of expressing these sentiments in words, I have often found it hard to communicate the depth of my emotion.

In plain terms, I love this country. She is the land of the free and the home of the brave - my one true love, in the realm of countries. I am sometimes moved to tears when I marvel at just how deep these feelings run. These are tears of joy, a solemn pride in my knowledge that I bear the proud title of American, that I can drink of my country's democratic heritage, and that millions have nobly sacrificed that I might be able to do so. It is a deep well of gratitude to the Almighty for raising up this great nation from the shackles of royal tyranny, and giving it the freedom that rings from one hallowed shore of this country to another.

In the words of Reagan, it is "a shining city on a hill," a beacon to the world, and an example of freedom and prosperity. I do love this country so. And it is my fervent hope and prayer that this love might be shared by millions, that this country's praises might be sung by the young and the old, and that no burden may be too heavy, nor sacrifice too great, to be laid on the sacred altar of its freedom.

God bless America, and God bless democracy.

Mormons and America

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