Here is my self-test of patriotism. These statements are how I know I am living up to the ideals of our founders.
- When I understand that America is not only for people like me.
- When I understand that I am free to judge on the content of character, but not the color of skin or the gender of the body or the inclinations of love and attraction or the ability to do what others can do, or one’s upbringing or station in life.
- When I understand that each individual has the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, whether I like their versions of those things or not.
- When I understand we have a right to be free and pursue our dreams but NOT at the expense and destruction of our towns, coastlines, rivers, oceans, land, air or people.
- When I understand we have an absolute right to protect ourselves from those who wish or do us harm, or whose actions unknowingly cause us harm, from outside or inside our country, from individuals or corporations.
- When I understand with gratefulness and humility that many people, now and in the past, have found it necessary to do something they hate doing, namely killing other people, and in turn sometimes getting killed and wounded themselves, to protect these rights and to protect me.
- When I understand that hating another country or another people will not now, or ever, create a safe environment for me and mine.
- When I understand that civil discourse and transitions among people and governing authorities who disagree is essential and positive, leading to good governance and progress.
- When I understand and stand up for true religious freedom, knowing that my religion (or lack of) is not the religion of the country, no matter how large and powerful it is, and no matter how many believe as I do.
- When I understand that America is me and what I do with my life.
That is my test for myself.