I love the United States of America, and I won’t make any apologies for doing so.  Yesterday, I was sitting with one of my dearest friends, who is smart, strong and beautiful and she made what seemed like a confession, when she shared that she’s not necessarily “patriotic.” The conversation went in all sorts of directions from there, from her thinking that Donald Trump is a racist, her thoughts on how illegal immigrants should get a free pass and not have to go home [although she spoke mainly of those who came here from Mexico not necessarily other countries], and our view on traveling abroad to help the homeless and hungry to traveling here within the United States.  For some reason she was more interested in heading to India to help people who really need help, and I was more apt to stay here on the mainland and visit areas closer to home. [One has to wonder why those who came here to create terrorist cells, and did so illegally, should be able to become citizens.  I’m just not going to support giving citizenship to those who came here illegally, and although I’m sorry that people might feel that they must leave where they are from to find a better life here, and I also respect the origin of how this country was founded, it’s important to consider the ramifications.  It’s the principle of the matter, and we must look at the totality of circumstance before we make a sweeping statement that says, all those who came here illegally, should be allowed to become citizens. Right? ]

Patriotism- love, and said loyalty, to one’s country [Webster’s Pocket Dictionary, 2000]

Okay, I’m going to admit that I’m a patriot.  I not only love the United States of America but I am VERY loyal to abiding by the rules of the country, and honoring those who have fought for our freedom.  Now, that’s not to say I am not going to question when we do something that might not seem to be the right thing, but the thing is that the right thing is very often subjective.  One need only watch the movie, Crash, to realize just how complicated ethics and decision making can be, when it comes to knowing what’s right.

I’m not going to say that I don’t see the way politics can get in the way of things.  If it isn’t one thing it’s another, and it many times things seem unfair.  However, I’ve studied our system and worked as a volunteer within our courts, and I’ve also taught for years in our public school system.  Getting to the point of practically having my doctorate in Public Policy Administration/Law left me saddled with over $80K in student loans, and I know it would be so different if I were among he fortunate ones.  Wouldn’t it be nice if I had parents who cared about my education?  Yes, I am seguing a bit but I’m hoping to make a point.  The reality is that there are rules and guidelines, and just because I would like to have been fortunate like that does not give me the right to just go take what I want without following protocol.  So no disrespect to those who were not born here, and those who came here illegally, but as unfortunate as it might be that things might not be the way you like where you are, it’s not good to just ignore that we have rules in place for becoming citizens.  If I wanted to go move to Canada, should I be allowed to do so?  Would I follow rules?

My girlfriend thinks Donald Trump is a racist.  I’m not so sure.  I think he’s incredibly inept at times, but I also think that there’s something to be said for allowing the people to voice their opinions, even if it’s not the same opinion as your own.  Is it wrong to believe that one race is better than another?  I think it’s pretty silly, actually.  I’ve never thought that one race is superior, and I’m very thankful to have been raised in a home where it was frowned upon, to ridicule or look down on others.  Of course, my father was also an alcoholic that abused his children, and was arrested when I was in the 5th grade, and subsequently indicted for horrible crimes against my sister.  But, hey, nobody’s perfect.  I learned to appreciate the good, forgive the horrible, and cherish who I became despite the imperfections of my father.

In that regard, and perhaps coming full circle, I am a patriot.  I am loyal to the United States of America, and I love this country.  I love that I was free to discuss the differences in our opinions on my deck in a land where I would not be arrested for thinking thoughts that might be different than my girlfriend’s and I loved that we were able to walk on the street and laugh openly about various different topics, that might be taboo in other lands.

Surely, the United States is not perfect.  Nowhere is and we have so much to learn.  We have racial tension, poverty, disparities in sentencing, issues with healthcare, etc.; yet, we also have beautiful people who are often overlooked.  We have people, such as myself, who donate their time for no pay, only to help those who have a desire to become further educated.  We have wonderful libraries, baseball parks, cities and suburbs where life is beautiful.  Often, though we just do not take a moment to appreciate just how amazing we are, and how far we have come in so little time.