What This Country Needs Are More Patriots: A Moment With Bill Reflection
First a Definition
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
Patriot is a word that has had its definition distorted over the years. I found this definition online and it works for the purpose of this article:
[pey-tree-uht, -ot or, esp. British, pa-tree-uht] Show IPA
a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
I love the first definition; I can certainly use the second as well.
According to those definitions, the United States certainly has its share of patriots. I suspect that is also true of other nations around the globe. Certainly England has no shortage of patriots; Canada, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Bolivia, Japan…so many patriots, all loving, supporting, and willing to defend his/her country. All devoted to their country, all considered defenders of individual rights…so many people with common goals and desires.
Which leads me to a rather obvious question: why is there so much divisiveness in the United States? England? Italy? If we all want the same thing, then what seems to be the problem?
We Understand the Problems But…..
We cannot come to an agreement on how to solve the problems, and therein lies the core issue that we must face before it destroys us.
Spend about ten minutes on Facebook and I promise you that you will find some rather nasty statements that go something like this:
“The damned Liberals are ruining our country.”
“Get rid of the Republicans and our nation can be great once again.”
“The Tea Party is just another name for Communist.”
“Democrats want to drown the country in deficits.”
“Republicans hate minorities.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
Can any of those statements in any way be considered constructive? Is there any good that can come from posting hateful comments? Any at all? I fail to see any but I definitely see harm that comes from them.
We badger Congress and we blame the bought-and-paid-for politicians for their failure to act for the common good, and yet we are incapable on an individual level of extending the olive branch and getting down to the business of compromise.
We are our own worst enemies.
An Experiment That I Know Would Work
I belong to a writer’s community called HubPages. In that community I have come in contact with thousands of writers who are also, yes, human beings. As such they have strong opinions not only about writing but about politics, religions, all issues that concern us all.
I do not think I am breaking any confidences by relating a little story to you using real people from Hubpages. There are many writers who I admire but do not agree with politically. Three such writers are men named Chris, Wayne and Will. They, and I, are at completely different ends of the political spectrum and yet we are all patriots. All four of us love our country. All four of us would defend our country and defend individual rights as written in the United States Constitution. I believe the best solutions for the problems in this country can be found to the left of the political spectrum; my three friends can be found a bit more right on that same spectrum.
And yet we are all patriots.
Put the four of us in a room with instructions to solve one of society’s problems; the only rule of conduct is that compromise must be a part of the process; and I promise you the four of us could come to agreement.
I have never formally met those gentlemen but I know I am right. We could find a way to compromise because we all want what is best for our country…not for corporations and not for lobbyists…what is best for our country as a whole.
The Biggest Problem Hindering Our Nation
We have lost the ability to compromise. Every political discussion, whether it be in the Halls of Congress or Joe’s Bar, consists of my way or the highway attitudes. I am right, you are wrong, and if you don’t agree with me then you must be anti-American. I know what’s best for you and I’m going to shove it down your throat despite your protestations.
And while we are all arguing amongst ourselves, and calling each other names, and further broadening the gulf, the high-paid fat cats in Washington D.C. are dancing to the music of special interest groups who in no way have our interests at heart.
Do you not see it happening? Am I the only one who understands this?
As I write this we are approaching mid-term elections. When those elections are completed there will be some gains and some losses in both major Parties, and then the dysfunctional political system will continue as it has for decades.…malfunctioning every step of the way and accomplishing next to nothing.
It is time for change.
But How Do We Fix Something so Horribly Broken?
I can think of two things I would like to see done tomorrow. I would like to see the Two Party system abolished and I would like to see all campaign contributions outlawed. There would be no Democrats, no Republicans, no Tea Partiers, no nothing….just patriots running for office using their own funds to make that run.
But since the year is 2014 and we are dealing with realities, I will offer the only solution that makes sense for all of us….are you ready?
We must all become true patriots. We must dedicate ourselves to stop the name-calling and stop the vile hatred of the “other side.” We must learn compromise at a local level before we can ever hope to reach it nationally. We must work towards the “common good;” not the good of the Right and not the good of the Left; the common good recognizes that there are those who have no political voice and that they are every bit as important as the chairman of some committee or the CEO of some corporation.
I Will Make This As Clear As I Possibly Can
Republicans are not my enemy. Tea Partiers are not my enemy. Those who want more taxation or less taxation are not my enemies. The only true enemies I have, and that this country has, are ignorance, complacency and apathy.
True patriots love, support and defend their country while working for individual rights.
That leaves us, then, with only one remaining question: are you a true patriot who is willing to meet at the table of compromise so that real solutions can be found?
If you aren’t then what exactly are you?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)