05 July 2013

A Sweeter Fourth of July

That was probably the worst title I could think of. This fourth of July Aerielle and I went to Sugarhouse Park to watch the fireworks, and with that I was trying to think of some clever play on words for a title, and you get that. Truthfully, college is expensive and neither of us have spendable money at the moment, so there was no sweet food partaken by either of us.

We got to the park around 7:00 and the fireworks didn't start till around 10:00 so the majority of the time we were just sitting around entertaining ourselves. Like by noticing that both of us have very bad flip flop/sandal tan lines (mine is pictured above), or that you can tie grass together to make a crown!

The fourth of July was really fantastic, and it is sincerely one of my favorite holidays. 

Which brings us to the topic of my contemplations for this post! 

Sitting on the great lawn of Sugar House Park in the dark, watching all these beautiful pyrotechnics above my head and listening to quintessential American ballads, I knew that what I was feeling at that moment was patriotism.

Woah. What?

As a pretty fixated and unique oddball, I used to not feel at all patriotic. I lean towards feeling that America doesn't need the use of a large military and that unconditional loyalty is foolish. And I feel like in daily American culture, that is what patriotism looks like, saluting our troops and loving our country no matter what. That just really irked me growing up.

Granted, I am a child of the 2000's and 2010's. I really can't remember life before the internet and I've always felt much more of a global citizen than an American. I'm so grateful to have been educated to be globally aware, but in middle school, I quickly realized that when it came to how America was doing on a global scale, Sweden was healthier, Norway was smarter, Germany more industrious, France more cultured, China with a bigger economy and Saudi Arabia with more oil. The United States was not unconditionally "The Greatest Nation on Earth". We were ranked lesser to others, our economy and energy were controlled at the will of others and every time I heard that phrase I became uncomfortable.

Naturally, I translated that lack of comfort and trust to be a lack of undying patriotism.

I honestly held that conception for the longest time.

It wasn't until later that I really defined for my self what patriotism was. I thought about this a great deal through the beginning of my Senior year of high school. I am a very politically active person. I've worked on campaign trails as early as 8th grade and I try my best to be very informed about my views. So far, I've come to find that I lean pretty politically liberal. I get frustrated with the inefficiency of government and the fact that the government puts weapons above people in budgetary constraints. I get frustrated that American culture leans on the ideal image of thinness yet openly promotes a fast food life style. I get frustrated that we have been built on car culture, suburbia, gas gussling vehicles and that it has come to be expected that congress will run inefficiently. 

I think the moment it really hit me that I was patriotic is that I wanted so badly to make it better. So what that this is the status quo? I want to stick around and do my part in making it better. That is why I am politically active, and that is why I try to involve my self in a variety of organizations to support my causes. That is why I am a registered voter, that is why I take public transit, that is why I want to get a degree and that is why I email my legislators with regularity, and take chances to actually meet them. It is why I go to rallies, try to shop local and keep my self well versed in current events. 

I want to make our country a better place in ten, twenty or even thirty years.

Maybe I am crazy, but that is why I consider myself patriotic. I could not be more proud to call my self an American, and to say proudly to the world that I am doing my part to matter our country better.

I love you guys. 
Thanks for reading my rants.


  1. You've defined patriotism correctly. It's not merely being proud of your country (as many solely believe), but caring enough to make it better.

  2. You hit the nail on the head - and you're in good company! so did Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who said this: "Patriotism means unqualified and unwavering love for the nation, which implies not uncritical eagerness to serve, not support for unjust claims, but frank assessment of its vices and sins, and penitence for them." (Repentance and Self-Restraint, 1973)

    Thanks for wanting to work on the American project with us! :D