Barack Obama gave a speech in Independence, Missouri, yesterday where he talked about patriotism. During his speech, he made it a point to mention he wouldn't question anyone's patriotism and would defend against anyone who questioned his, but one thing stuck out in my mind: he wanted to change the definition of patriotism.
This got me to thinking whether the definition of patriotism needed to be changed. Since it's my blog, we'll use the definition I use as a baseline. To me, patriotism is simply love of country. This isn't a "America-Love-It-Or-Leave-It" sentiment by any stretch of the imagination. I love my country enough to be honest about its flaws and to strive to overcome them.
Is my definition perfect? Not in the least. Is it workable? I think so. Would it fly with Obama?
That's the big question. Obama really didn't offer specifics as to what his definition of patriotism entailed, so we're left speculating. Even so, there are elements in Obama's past and the pasts of people close to him (his wife, Michelle and his former spiritual advisor Jeremiah Wright, to name two) that can point us in a certain direction.
And let me tell ya, it doesn't look that good for Obama.
Patriotism isn't about wearing a flag lapel pin or holding your hand over your heart when the Star Spangled Banner is played. Those are outward expressions that may or may not reflect a love for one's country. A true sense of patriotism comes from within. How one feels when the Star Spangled Banner is played. Whether a sense of pride wells up when you see an American flag waving in the wind. Outward trappings mean nothing to the inner patriot.
And so far, all I've seen from Obama has been outward trappings.
Maybe that's why Obama wants to change the definition of patriotism. He can't live up to the actual one.