I love my country.
I am proud of my country for the change and progress it seeks. I am proud to be a citizen of this great melting pot where we are all free to live our lives without being told what to believe or who to believe in. I know that it is huge that I govern my own body and that my family has the opportunities that we do simply because we were born here. I am proud to live among those who believe in their core that my rights are worth fighting for and put their lives on the line for mine. And I honor those who never came home from that fight.
I get angry with my country.
I often disagree with our government. I often become frustrated with those who think different from me politically. I speak out against war. I know that we can do more to care for the marginalized and the vulnerable of our nation. We move too slow in the way of progress, in my not so humble opinion. Politicians on both sides of the aisle make me twitchy and nauseous. I get angry when I hear about liberties taken from us. I get angry when our government makes bad environmental decisions. I get angry that we are still fighting the equality fight. I want us to be better. Locally, nationally and globally. Because I know we can be. Because...
I believe in my country.
We have done great things. We have made enormous strides for freedom. And we are still doing great things. We have shown over and over again throughout our short history that we can always do better. That we can progress. I have faith that we will keep going.
I respect my country.
When I hear The Star Spangled Banner, right around "and the rockets red glare..." , that's usually when my eyes get wet. I teach my kids respect for the flag because I respect the flag myself. It symbolizes all of the pain and triumph that have come at such a great price. A price willingly paid. A price so incredibly high.
I am a patriot.
Sometimes that means dissent or questioning the direction we are going as a nation. Other times it means fighting hard for what I believe in. Sometimes it means choosing to dive inward toward my family and block out the news about this or that conflict. And sometimes it means that I write letters or attend rallies and marches or call people on the phone. Other times I am tearing up when I see a photo of my beautiful baby among a row of flags. All of those times, I love my country.
I am proud to be an American even when there are things I am not proud of that come with that. That isn't such a stretch, is it?
I believe in the Constitution. I believe in the promises it holds and the doors it will continue to open. For all of us.
And I believe in we the people. We make this nation great. Especially when we are holding it accountable to all of us. Even the bleeding-heart liberal, tree-hugging feminist, Agnostic Unitarian Universalist patriots like me.