Has anyone had one of “those” conversations over the holidays? You know, the “political” ones. The relatives and friends are gone, but the memories of conversations with them remain. When you net it all out, many of our discussions have a bottom-line- patriotism. When we speak of candidates, political parties, legislation, policy, and the like, there is always an undercurrent of question: Do we share the same values and ideals? (i.e., “patriotism”)
Americans have traditionally shared values and ideals. These values and ideals generally lead to patriotism. Older people have no problem identifying with the values listed below because they grew up with them. Younger people have lived in America questioning the role of the State and whether patriotism is even justified.
What are some of these American values and ideals?
In God We Trust -the idea that there is a Supreme Being or a Higher Authority than ourselves to whom we must give an account for our actions.
We the People- In America, regardless of ethnicity, race, creed, etc., the People run the government; “Government of the People, by the People, for the People.”
Unalienable Rights- rights that can’t be given or taken away by the government; rights that come from God, not government
Property rights- Americans individually own what they have earned and purchased. It is not the government’s property, but theirs.
Privacy- One’s body, person, property belongs to him/her. Respecting individual privacy and space is a high value.
All are created equal- equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
Liberty and Justice for All- The law applies to everyone, including those whom We the People elect to office.
Self-reliance- the idea that if at all possible, we make our way in life and determine our destiny. We do not let the government decide our destiny for us.
The government’s job is to protect our God-given rights- This value is directly opposed to the idea that the government provides your needs and wants.
E Pluribus Unum- “Out of many, one.” This is our national motto, which affirms the idea that we share common ideals and values rather than a common ethnicity.
Think back on recent face-to-face conversations you may have had with friends, family, and neighbors (not conversations social media). Do you see the bottom line connection between difficult “political” conversations and patriotism? When we run into opposition, it is usually because our values aren’t shared. Instead, the other person is desirous of a different set of communal values and ideals that they perceive to be better. One or more of the traditional American values is offensive to them.
How important is it for Americans to share traditional values and ideals? What difference would it make in your conversations if we shared these same patriotic American values and ideals? How would it affect the way we vote? How would we care for our fellow Americans differently???