Those Glorious Patriots

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.

16th_Street_Baptist_Church

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6 thoughts on “Those Glorious Patriots

  1. I have always said the President is a skilled and lofty deliverer of speeches.
    What I have criticized is his performance. He has contributed to the
    growth of the “imperial Presidency”, and that is in tolerable. That is not
    being patriotic!

    Now, he has received the rebuke of the British Parliament who voted against their Prime Minister’s request to join Obama in a Syrian war.
    Parliament said that their national interests are not at stake. They are
    the patriots!

  2. War of 1812 and WWII, possibly the Spanish American War

    My point is why should we get involved in some one else’s civil war? How
    many nations of the world fought in our civil war. 600,000 dead, atrocities
    on both sides, carnage every where, go look at some pictures of Atlanta after
    Shermans deadly march across the South or photos of Richmond. But,
    for some reason our “patriots” want to enter other nations civil wars as in
    Korea, VietNam, Lebanon, Panama, Grenada, Nicaugra, Iraq, and
    Afghanistan. All in just our life-time, M_R!

    Moreover, we are to go to war because 1,000 people were “inhumanely”
    killed, and as so pathetically Kerry decried, “426 children”. More
    than 100,000 have been killed and a million squatting in border nations,
    especially Jordan. What a short memory our war “patriots” have, my
    friend. What happened in August, 1945? This country, and the only country
    ever to do so, put on the mantle of Atilla the Hun, by dropping just not
    one but two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with over a million
    killed in the explosions themselves and the horrendous radiation deaths
    that followed. These were mainly population centers of old, women, and
    children. And, the military wanted to see which was the best way to inflict
    the worst damage, so with Hiroshima they had the bomb explode above
    ground while at Nagasaki they had it explode on impact. Talk about
    using a weapon of mass destruction, how can Kerry and Obama stand
    before us and, to use a term you like, propagandize to justify a war where 1,000 were killed. This will be just be another intervention in a countries civil
    war in line with our many “patriotic” wars since 1945.

  3. I like what was said in John Hewitt’s poem ‘Neither an Elegy nor a Manifesto: for the people of my province and the rest of Ireland’:

    Patriotism has to do with keeping
    The country in good heart, the community
    Governed with justice and mercy,
    These will enlist loyalty and courage often,
    And sacrifice, sometimes even martyrdom.

    1. Or the words of Emerson, “When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart.”

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