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Love of Country | REnotated

Love of Country

  • When it comes to love of country, the only question that matters is this: What kind of love will it be?  Will it be a love based on truth and understanding?  Will it be a love that has depth and meaning?  Or will it be a superficial and fragile love that can not withstand even a whisper of reality?  To love one’s country despite a clear-eyed view of its shortcomings is the mark of a true patriot.  Nothing is achieved through blind admiration – except a stagnation that gives way to an increasingly desperate defense of false nostalgia.  There are those who believe that pointing out the hypocrisy in America’s past and present makes one a traitor, while those who cheer America “right or wrong” are somehow noble.  But willful ignorance or outright denial of the facts is certainly no virtue; and it is contrary to fulfilling the beliefs written in the US Constitution.

    A citizen’s uncritical love for their country is a lot like a young child’s unquestioning love for their parents.  It may be comforting, endearing, and pure, but it is by its nature immature.  As the child grows and develops through adolescence and early adulthood, the flaws and contradictions of their parents will slowly, but inevitably become apparent.  It is through processing the difference between the ideal and the reality that the child comes to a deeper appreciation of their parents and a more mature love and respect.  If the child is rational and honest, they will also come to recognize their own imperfections and hypocrisies, which will further their understanding of and compassion for not only their parents, but for others as well.  The same is true for a citizen’s love of country.

    America has always depended on critical thinking citizens of varied political persuasions who can see beyond ideology, point out their own and the country’s shortcomings, and work to find ways to help America live up to its promise.  America needs a nation of adults, not a nation of children unable or unwilling to confront reality.  America will remain worthy of admiration only if the majority of its citizens continually measure stated beliefs against existing conditions and then take the responsibility to bring things into better alignment.  It’s what adults do; and true patriotism demands it.

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