Patriotism is personal and is guided by words and sentiments of the Declaration of Independence. The declaration of independence is merely a document that it has no life or meaning in and of itself. It does however, represent certain principles and beliefs.
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The Declaration of Independence is the core document of democracy. It says governments are artificial creations, established by the people, “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and charged by the people to ensure the equal right of all to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Furthermore, as the Declaration says, “whenever any form of government become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter to abolish it.” (Farber 2016) The words itself of the document could be interpreted in many different ways and could have different meaning to different people. The document works like a roadmap, however, is not implemented until you personally become attached to it and build a meaning and give context, and value. It is up to the individual to make those ideas come alive and make a personal connection which in return promotes patriotism.
America throughout history has been known to be a patriotic county. Patriotism is to have love and devotion for your country and knowing that everyone in the country feels the same, is a special kinship like a family. Americans take pride on the flag and what it represents and use the Declaration Independence as a guide to society. “A constitution is almost a living entity, but it also incorporates institutional features, the rules of the game in a society, or more formally the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction. Much more important than the rules themselves is the conceptual basis for the acceptance of these rules. The beliefs that underpin the constitution must themselves generally be in equilibrium.”( Schofield 2002) The Declaration of Independence was never meant to be seen as rules that people have to live by but on the contrary, it was meant to have equilibrium between fair and unjust.
Patriotism is also about respecting the symbols that our country uses to show respect and appreciation. Americans show appreciation and respect to the fellow soldiers that fought for the countries freedom by the simple gesture of saluting the flag. One of those symbols is the flag and national anthem of the United States. The flag stands for freedom and democracy. The flag represents the entire country and what it stands for, could bring the country together, at times of crisis or great victories. Many soldiers have died fighting for this cause and asking nothing in return. Americans show gratitude by saluting the flag with respect and singing along the National Anthem. We the people do this as respect and show our fallen soldiers that their sacrifices were not in vein. To be Patriotic however, does not mean that you agree with the laws and regulation implemented in your country, but that you love and respect your country. There are those people that do not have the same beliefs and make political statements because they do not agree of certain laws and regulations. The controversy of “Take a Knee” movement that was initiated by a football player Colin Kaeperrnick was to protest police killings against minority, in particular African Americans. Kaeperrnick took a knee instead of standing to honor the flag and by doing so he wanted to make a statement. He took a knee because he did not want to show pride to a place where they are oppressing African Americans. He used his position of a professional athlete to impose his personal opinion and make a statement. Other football players follow his example and chose to disrespect the flag. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” (Hayles 2016)At the time of this incident there was a movement of “black lives matter” that was causing a big controversy. Kaepernick act was disrespectful, cynical and hypocritical because he fail to understand that the only reason why he was allowed to take a knee without any precautions was because “Freedom of Speech.” In other countries, not only would you be prosecuted but you could be executed for disrespecting your flag, and/or national anthem, such as in the Middle Eastern areas. In the United States you could face jail time for burning the flag and in my opinion a disrespectful act such as taking the knee should also be prosecuted.
There are many Americans that do not agree with the President or Judicial System, but it does not mean you disrespect your country or stop being patriotic. On the contrary, there are many other ways Americans could do to have their voice heard. The government and President do listen and tried to fix whatever the problem is. The greatest weapon a person could have is their intelligence and how you use it could have a big impact on the cause you are fighting for. The same way that football player Coling Kapernick took a knee to make a political statement, there are some fellow football players such as Jim Brown that think Kapernick’s actions were a violation of something sacred to many Americans. Brown argues that when you are a football player you have an obligation to the fans that support you and you cannot use your position to make a political statement. “I do not desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not going to do anything against the flag and national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.” If you have a cause, I think you should organize it, present it in a manner where it is not only you standing or sitting on one knee, but a lot of people that are going to get behind each other and do something about it,” (Bieler 2004) Jim Brown. Today, there are many people that have used their position as a platform to express their political views. National Television has become the norm for movie stars, singer, and athletes to express their political opinions and convey their beliefs to the audiences.
In conclusion, the Declaration of Independence is a guideline on how society should act, but you have to make it personal and develop a connection to make it true. Just as in religions, people have guidelines that they live by such as the Ten Commandments, but in it are just words unless you act on those guidelines and make alive. Every American is entitled to show disagreements on how certain situations are being handled, however, our patriotism for this country should never stop. There are many fallen soldiers that would not think twice about going to battle and fight for us. The only thing these soldiers ask in return is to acknowledge them and always be grateful for their sacrifices. If it means taking your hat off during the Pledge of Allegiance, or reciting the National Anthem then so be it. Nobody would like to be disrespected in their homes as neither would these courageous soldiers. Americans should always remember to be grateful for the opportunities that this country has given you and the right to pursuit your happiness.
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