Monday, May 2, 2011

Patriotism. Whoa.

I don’t spend a lot of time waving American flags. I don’t dress in red, white, and blue on the 4th of July. I just take it as a day off and a good excuse to eat hot dogs, drink beer, and hang with my family. Country songs about military service sort of creep me out, because the people singing them usually didn’t serve in the military, so it just seems disingenuous and icky and kind of like they’re trying to make a buck off of someone else’s sacrifice. There are things about this country of ours that I love. There are things about this country of ours that I hate. I am a lefty kook who completely believes that protesting bad government decisions and policies is part of what makes this country a great one.

Last night, I felt a swell of patriotism and pride that was unexpected and amazing. When our elected leader—the man we as a country chose to put in power—stood up and made a distinction between a war on Al Qaeda and a war on Islam, I actually got teary-eyed. Cynical non-flag-waving me... I cried watching our president speak. Because he spoke for me, and this country elected him, and I truly never thought I would have a president who spoke for me like that. He made me cry with the words of the pledge of allegiance, for crying out loud. How is that even possible?

A mass-murdering terrorist is dead, and I’m glad. Our president announced it without a hint of cowboy machismo, while radiating patriotism and pride in this country from every fiber of his being. He announced a successful military operation that has been a long time coming, while simultaneously planting seeds of peace. I am beyond words, and I am never beyond words.

I am overwhelmed with unfamiliar emotion. If I had a little flag, I would totally wave it.

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