Patriot: a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
Patriotism: devoted, love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.
Independent: not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc.
Independence: freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.
I have long considered myself a patriot. I know plenty of others who consider themselves patriots. Some of those people currently seem to agree with everything our President and government representatives are doing. Others seem to disagree with everything our President and government representatives are doing (I fall into that second category).
The definitions above are from dictionary.com and I found it highly amusing that they included the word “presumed” prior to “interference by the federal government.” I guess they had to find some way to express that everyone’s sense of patriotism is as individual as each of us is – and that patriotism is a matter of perception to some extent – as is almost everything.
I also consider myself independent although I freely recognize and admit that I’m only right (or wrong) to a certain degree. I depend upon my employer for a paycheck. That paycheck allows me to pay my bills and support my family. I consider myself independent because I don’t depend on the government – federal, state, county or local – for assistance in taking care of my family. Everything I / we have, I work for or earn. While that may meet the definition in one aspect it doesn’t from another. Consider…
I am still dependent on my employer for the pay I receive for the work I’ve done. If the company that employees me folds or if I get fired (although I don’t see either happening) then I’m no longer able to support my family. Thinking of it that way, a truly independent person provides everything his (or her) family needs exclusive of an income.
What are those needs? Food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc. A few months back I wrote an article about self-reliance and how it’s “the American way”. Well, it used to be. As our society as evolved self-reliance has been gradually reduced until we are almost entirely dependent on someone else in multiple ways. Usually this if for the better. After all, few of us believe that we can provide better medical care for our family than a doctor can. If my wife has cardiac problems, I’d far prefer for her to see a doctor and probably be referred to a cardiac care specialist, rather than depending on me to analyze her diet, adjust her exercise program, etc. If your blood pressure is too high and you are at risk for stroke, you’d rather have medication to lower it until you can make the lifestyle changes necessary to lower it, rather than walking around with a high risk of stroke while you make those adjustments.
I CAN hunt and farm but it’s a LOT easier to go to the grocery store and pick up the things we need. I CAN build my own house but even then would I buy the lumber, plumbing, electrical supplies, etc? or would I build a house of wood I hew myself, the house having no indoor plumbing or electricity? I certainly know what my family’s preferences there would be!
My point is that across the span of the past 240 years or so, the meaning of some words can change; if not in their basic definition then at least in the depth of application. I am independent… to an extent. That extent is pretty good given today’s society, the “norm” and how hard the push has been from our federal government to make citizens become more dependent on Big Brother. I am NOT as independent as, say, Thomas Jefferson was as our country was being born.
Looking again at the definitions I find it interesting that one can be a patriot but not carry the characteristic of patriotism. Consider this: a patriot being a person who fights for personal rights against the government won’t necessarily be viewed as having national loyalty, right? If you battle – even verbally (as I do) – against the federal government in its current form, then you are, by definition, a patriot. However, if you voice your disagreement with the actions of the federal government and the direction our country is growing in, are you expression patriotism? I submit to you that you may not be.
The “national loyalty” I read into that definition is loyalty to the concept of America; the ideal(s) that our founding fathers built into our most basic government documents: The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. All of us can be dedicated to that concept – the ideals and principles our country was built upon – and thereby be displaying “national loyalty”. That doesn’t mean that we have to show support of or loyalty to the current crop of elected representatives who are steering our country so drastically off course.
And then I had another thought (as rare as that may be) that made me smile:
No matter how off the course of our current government may seem, there are indicators across the country that We The People can think for ourselves; aren’t “drinking the kool-aid” and are taking back – incrementally – our control over our country. In the process we are re-expressing our increasing self-reliance and our unwillingness to become subjects (as compared to citizens) dependent on the welfare hand of Big Brother.
Across the country we’ve seen states stepping up their movements for independence, or at least moving in a different direction than that of the federal government. Some of the changes are as blatant as Arizona’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement law. Other changes move in waves – like the Shall Issue / Right to Carry laws that have now been passed in 38 states. Some states have taken that a step further by passing:
- Stand your ground laws: These laws (in general) allow you the citizen to stand your ground and defend yourself rather than having a legal requirement to run away / retreat.
- Castle doctrine laws: These laws (in general) allow you to defend your home without all of the restrictions that can be in place governing the use of deadly force.
- No permit necessary laws: These laws allow citizens to carry handguns concealed without having to get a permit. Vermont and Alaska have long been this way. Texas just passed a law that allows citizens to carry weapons in their vehicles without a permit being required. Arizona passed a law in April that will go into affect in July or August allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit making it the third state to do so.
All of these legislative changes at the state level indicate that America is growing steadily back toward self-reliance. What is significant about this “movement”, if you will, is that the states seem to be moving one way while the federal government moves the opposite direction. One has to wonder how the state legislatures can be doing this while the elected Senators and Congressmen from those same states are part of the federal government representation system that is moving the opposite way. (I still favor the repeal of the 17th Amendment which made Senators elected by popular vote. I believe the two Senators from each state should be appointed and recallable by majority vote of the state legislatures.)
As we have just finished celebrating the 234th anniversary of our country’s independence, I can’t help but consider these topics. I believe I am a patriot. I believe I am independent (to the contemporary limits that exist without living on a secluded ranch). I believe that it should be the goal of every parent to raise children who are both patriotic and independent. I believe that our country will only be weakened if the next generation of Americans is raised to be dependent on Big Brother’s handouts. Ultimately, Big Brother generates no revenue of its own. It can only give anyone back what it’s taken from someone else. I don’t know about you all, but I’m tired of the government taking from me to give to others. I’d rather the others come and ask for my assistance directly.
I hope you had an enjoyable and safe Independence Day celebration. Let’s collectively hope that our country enjoys several hundred more!
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