The United States of America has always felt like home to me. It is my home … how else would I feel? I’m comfortable here. I’d fit in almost anywhere within it. I know it well: as a military child, and later a military member myself, I’ve lived and worked in every region of the country but New England. On top of that, I spent eight years in Europe and Asia, gaining first-hand experience with other cultures and countries, experience that makes me appreciate my own culture and country all the more.
When I say I’m a patriotic American, that’s what I mean. I think that’s what most of us mean. We’re happy in our home country, where we feel welcome, know the rules, and everything is familiar.
Well, sure. I’m white. My feelings might be more complex if I were a minority. There are places in this country where minorities are not welcome, where they’re judged by their appearance before they even open their mouths. The number of those places seem to be growing, but maybe that’s just pre-Civil Rights Era intolerance and racism finding its voice again, encouraged by the party currently in power.
And yet if you ask American-born minorities, they’ll tell you they’re patriotic Americans too. Naturalized citizens? They outdo us all in patriotism. That says a lot about what’s still good about America. My country, right or wrong. There’s a lot that’s right with it. There’s a lot that’s wrong with it. True patriots, I like to believe, are those who are willing to pitch in and make it better.
So happy Independence day to my fellow Americans, and may we continue striving to make it a better place. We can start by turning out to vote this November, and maybe do something about the party currently in power. Maybe take the country back. We can if we all vote, and that would be patriotism in action.
The photos I’ve inserted are from this morning’s 4th of July parade on our street in northeast Tucson. Our neighbors have been putting it on every year since the subdivision went up in the 1980s, and we’re proud to be part of it. Maxie’s an old hand at these parades, but it was a first for Mr. B, and after some initial trepidation he got into it. Even the dogs are patriots!