This week, in honor of the Birthday of my country – The United States of America, the theme will be patriotism. Stay tuned.
Originally posted 2009-07-04 10:17:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Just to be clear, I am writing this as a citizen of the United States of America. I don’t know how my thoughts will relate to citizens of other countries. There will surely be similarities but I expect that there will be differences as well. I am sure that other Americans will disagree with my opinions as well, perhaps thinking them old-fashioned and out of date. Nevertheless, they are my opinions and I think they are representative of the America of my youth in the 50’s. If they are wrong today, perhaps it is because something has been lost, either by America or by Americans.
I don’t want to get involved in the tug of war between political parties. Patriotism is not about politics. Ideally, politics should reflect patriotism because love of country should be the foundation of public service. If you are a politician for any other reason than for love of country, I respectfully ask for your resignation forthwith and if you refuse, I promise to do everything I can to get you defeated. I will try to stay off the soapbox as I continue.
I see patriotism as love of my country but over the years, I have found that it’s hard to appreciate what you accept as normal. The amazing freedom of our life in the US is largely unappreciated because we can’t imagine living any other way. There have been times in my life where I questioned my country. All the while I was enjoying the freedom and opportunity afforded by our constitution, I wanted it to redistribute and manage resources for the ‘greater’ good. I was in a special place at that time, unburdened by responsibility either financial or personal and felt very generous about telling those that were what they should do or rather what the government should do and take. I was critical of my country because it did not manage the distribution of goods and services and make everybody equal in resources.
Over time I came to appreciate the amazing genius of our country’s founders and the power that individuals free to follow their own paths have to make a richer and better world than where the government controls them and the resources. So briefly, in my young adult years, I wanted my country to do more regardless of the impact on personal freedom. Because I took those freedoms so for granted, they meant nothing compared to real, or imagined, social inequities that I trusted government to fix. I am past that foolishness.
What I failed to understand was the genius in giving freedom and recognizing that the rights recognized in the constitution are individual rights. When those rights are stifled as in a socialist system under the guise of protecting all, everyone looses. We are the great country of today because of millions of free individuals making the best decisions for themselves and their families, enriching themselves and others in the process and generously extending help and support to free people everywhere. This is what I am proud of in my country and I hope that my life has contributed in some small part to that greatness.
Originally posted 2009-07-07 09:30:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
This is a continuation of an earlier post about patriotism and being an American.
Patriotism, to me, is the appreciation of the freedoms and opportunities that our country provides. More than that, it is the understanding of why we have these freedoms and opportunities. It is more than just luck or being in the right place at the right time. It began with the wisdom of our founding fathers. They understood how government works and the weaknesses of human nature and they created a system to put the citizen in charge.
The result is a can do spirit and a belief that an individual can make a difference. American’s have used that spirit to intervene in international affairs with good intentions to share the blessings of freedom with residents of other countries. These interventions have been all over the map in results and appreciation but they stem from a commitment to sharing our freedoms with those who are oppressed.
We are also welcoming. As a nation of immigrants, we are proud of the national heritages we come from and the cultures they represent. They each contribute to the American culture that continues to develop and grow. We are forward looking and optimistic. We have been challenged in the past and triumphed. We are confident that we will do so again.
The success that we have achieved in the past opens us to a future threat. If we forget what made us great and take our current success and economic strength for granted, we risk losing all. Economic strength can fail. All great powers decline. America’s power comes from the energy and resilience of a free people.
Each test of America has been met with sacrifice and resolve by it’s people who renew and regenerate the wisdom of the founding fathers. So far, with each challenge, we have turned away from the temptation to take the easy route and live off the sacrifices made by those who came before us. I don’t believe that we are ready to do it now. I believe, like Ronald Reagan that :
“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”
This is what will continue to make America strong and lead the world to greater freedom and prosperity.
Originally posted 2009-07-08 09:06:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
What is your take on Patriotism? Just an old-fashioned notion with no relevance today? What about outside the US? Are other countries as obsessed by patriotism as we in the US seem to be? What is your take?
This weeks nostalgia is a visit to the St. Louis Arch which was completed in 1966. The architect was Eero Saarinen, probably the preeminent American architect in the mid 20th century. It is located on the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. You can ride to the top of the 630 foot high arch and look out over the vast midwest vistas. Somehow, the pictures never seem to impress. Because the arch is so big and yet so gracefully proportioned, it seems wimpy and out of scale with the office buildings nearby. Yet when you visit the site, it’s quite another experience. Each base is massive. It is also a unique experience to be at one end of the park and view the arch head on where it takes on the character of an obelisk (like the Washington Monument). Another aspect of the monument which I have never read about is the museum under the arch. It depicts various aspects of opening the west but the remarkable thing about the museum is that it is like a time capsule of the 60′s. I don’t think that the museum has been touched since it was first conceived. The layout and the exhibits have a naive simplicity and garish colors that takes me right back to college days. The only things missing are orange shag carpet and avocado appliances (but maybe I missed them).
Many of Saarinen’s buildings are forgotten or torn down (like my college dormitory) but many remain (like Dulles Airport). Perhaps his greatest building lies hidden in the overbuilt JFK Airport complex. It isn’t torn down but no one seems to know how to use it. In it’s time, the TWA terminal symbolized flying when flying was sophisticated (you used to dress up to fly). It’s sweeping curves predated the Sydney Opera House and Frank Gehry’s curvaceous museums. Flying TWA from JFK made flying sublime, so different from the cattle car experience of today. No wonder they don’t know what to do with that magnificent building.
Check out more about Saarinen and the wonderful TWA terminal, if this interests you.