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Patriotism Is A Choice

In preparing to write this Happy 4th of July message I asked Midjourney to imagine #patriotism so I would have a graphic to use and the basics of what it kept generating was a beautiful old-timey women standing in front of flag, or an eagle poised in front of the American flag. And while certainly two of those things have been symbols of American Patriotism they do nothing to help us describe what patriotism is.

Patriotism is defined as the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one's country. And at a time where the country seems very polarized quite a few people seem to be questioning their devotion and support.

Here's maybe an alternative thought; could patriotism be better defined as the amount of devotion and support one chooses to give because they have been blessed to be born in a time and country where there is more freedom than there is not?

I just really struggled with some of the messages on social media this morning; people claiming they wouldn't be celebrating or honoring the holiday, which is fine, everyone has the right to choose. But then I listened to their reasons why...

Its seems to be somewhere along the way many people decided that the country, the states, and 'others' owed them for living. You have a 1 in 4-Trillon chance of being born, and the odds of being born in this time and space instead of another is so astronomically small there's not even a number to quantity it. So you won the lottery to just exist, here... now what?

Life hands you a certain set of experiences both good and bad and you get to choose what to do with them. It seemed that everyone who was feeling unpatriotic this morning were casting a lot of blame for their experiences and circumstances on the country, the state, and 'others'. And while there are some people who were challenged with worse experiences and circumstances than others not everyone who faced the same things failed to succeed and isn't paying homage to the country that provides them some semblance of freedom. So why is that?

I choose how I show up in every circumstance. I choose how much effort I give. I choose to celebrate my experience or not. I choose to have gratitude or not. I choose to stay here or go. I choose to keep getting back up every time I fail and try again. I choose to blame others or accept responsibility. I choose to be patriotic and appreciate the uniqueness of the place I was born into, the time I was born into. I choose to acknowledge the flaws of the time and place and work optimistically to make it a better place... what I do not choose is to give up on it.

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