by John McCain
Patriotism means more than holding your hand over your heart during the national anthem. It means more than walking into a voting booth every two or four years and pulling a lever. Patriotism is a love and a duty, a love of country expressed in good citizenship.
Patriotism and the citizenship it requires should motivate the conduct of public officials, but it also thrives in the communal spaces where government is absent, anywhere Americans come together to govern their lives and their communities — in families, churches, synagogues, museums, symphonies, the Little League, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Salvation Army or the VFW. They are the habits and institutions that preserve democracy. They are the ways, small and large, we come together as one country, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all. They are the responsible exercise of freedom and are indispensable to the proper functioning of a democracy. Patriotism is countless acts of love, kindness and courage that have no witness or heraldry and are especially commendable because they are unrecorded.
The patriot must not just accept, but in his or her own way protect the ideals that gave birth to our country: to stand against injustice and for the rights of all and not just one's own interests. The patriot honors the duties, the loyalties, the inspirations and the habits of mind that bind us together as Americans.
We are the heirs and caretakers of freedom — a blessing preserved with the blood of heroes down through the ages. One cannot go to Arlington Cemetery and see name upon name, grave upon grave, row upon row, without being deeply moved by the sacrifice made by those young men and women.
And those of us who live in this time, who are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice, must do our smaller and less dangerous part to protect what they gave everything to defend, lest we lose our own love of liberty.
Love of country is another way of saying love of your fellow countrymen — a truth I learned a long time ago in a country very different from ours. Patriotism is another way of saying service to a cause greater than self-interest.
More of the article here: Link (Page 1)
A Faith in Simple Dreams
by Barack Obama
When I was a child, I lived overseas for a time with my mother. And one of my earliest memories is of her reading to me the first lines of the Declaration of Independence, explaining how its ideas applied to every American, black and white and brown alike. She taught me that those words, and the words of the United States Constitution, protected us from the brutal injustices we witnessed other people suffer during those years abroad.
I've been reminded of this recently as I've followed the brutal injustice surrounding Zimbabwe's so-called elections. For weeks, the opposition party and its supporters have been silently hunted, tortured and killed. They have been dragged from their homes in the middle of the night and strangled while their children watched. The wife of a newly elected mayor was so badly beaten that her own brother only recognized her by the skirt she wore on the day she was killed. Even voters suspected of disloyalty to the President have been herded together and thrashed for hours, all for the simple crime of casting their ballot.
We are a nation of strong and varied convictions and beliefs. We argue and debate our differences vigorously and often. But when all is said and done, we still come together as one people and pledge our allegiance not just to a place on a map or a certain leader but to the words my mother read to me years ago: "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
That is the true genius of America — a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. It's the idea that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution; and that our votes will be counted.
More of the article here: Link (Page 2)
Read through both articles today in my Time, I thought I would post it here for people to read.
Edited by __Kratos__, 27 June 2008 - 09:39 PM.