I wonder what people think of when the phrase, those glorious patriots is stated? Founding Fathers? Soldiers at Gettysburg? Presidential leaders? Tea Party members with ‘impeach Obama’ signs? Sorry for the latter idiocy.
Yesterday in a speech honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King speech, President Obama used this sentence: ” Everyone who realizes what those glorious patriots knew on that day, that change does not come from Washington but to Washington…” Were those who assembled on that hot August day in 1963 truly patriots? What defines a patriot? Merriam Webster defines the word as one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.
I’m guessing that many Americans would agree with that, but how does a citizen display his/her patriotism? Does the attendance at a rally display patriotism? Or did the President refer to the speakers, to Dr. King, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins and A. Philip Randolph?
Or does it really matter?
In his speech, President Obama drew parallels between the marchers 50 years ago and individuals today; he called them marchers too. The President noted, “They dared to dream different and to imagine something better. And I am convinced that same imagination, the same hunger of purpose serves in this generation.” Then he identified these who today also march:
• That tireless teacher who gets to class early and stays late and dips into her own pocket to buy supplies because she believes that every child is her charge — she’s marching.
• That successful businessman who doesn’t have to, but pays his workers a fair wage and then offers a shot to a man, maybe an ex-con, who’s down on his luck — he’s marching.
• The mother who pours her love into her daughter so that she grows up with the confidence to walk through the same doors as anybody’s son — she’s marching.
• The father who realizes the most important job he’ll ever have is raising his boy right, even if he didn’t have a father, especially if he didn’t have a father at home — he’s marching.
• The battle-scarred veterans who devote themselves not only to helping their fellow warriors stand again and walk again and run again, but to keep serving their country when they come home — they are marching.
• Everyone who realizes what those glorious patriots knew on that day, that change does not come from Washington but to Washington, that change has always been built on our willingness, we, the people, to take on the mantle of citizenship — you are marching.
Such a grand set of ideals which, when juxtaposed with the agenda of the far-right, Tea Party types, his ideals, his goals shine like the sun through the colored glass of a Baptist church window on Sunday morning.