No longer are we a country united. We are a country divided.
The gap widening nearly every hour.
The fabric of America has been strained, stretched and shredded, fraying from every angle as we blatantly and boldly attack one another. It’s evident from coast to coast.
A just released Wall Street Journal poll showed that only 38% of respondents say that patriotism is very important. That number is down more than 30% from 1998 when 70% of respondents said that patriotism was very important.
It seems that the things that bound us together – freedom, democracy, justice, opportunity – have been the drivers to what has quite literally torn us apart. In short, patriotism has become politicized.
What will it take to bring us – the United States of America – back together?
Togetherness that, in my memory, has only been seen in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. In October 2001, 79% of adults said they had displayed an American flag and nearly 70% felt a sense of patriotism.
Though badly shaken, a hopeful nation came together. United. We were reminded of the fortitude of the American spirit; of the resilience of this great nation.
But now, it seems that instead of tragic events bringing us together, more divisive narratives form. Tornadoes wreaked havoc across the U.S., quite literally wiping several rural towns off the map. A tragic and senseless school shooting has left us all questioning why, while others point fingers and place blame. Two blackhawks crashed, killing nine service members. A former president is indicted. Headlines scream and news anchors pontificate. Politicians take their stands on various issues.
Americans are left watching. Waiting. Wondering.
And, I hope, wishing for and taking steps towards change.
Because there is one thing we can all claim. We are American.
Americans who, though we may not agree on all issues, can still love the country where we are free to express our opinions.
Americans who, with determination and hard work, have the opportunity to succeed in whatever path we choose.
Being a patriot is not directional – left or right. It does not mean you bleed red or blue. Being a patriot means you love the country in which you live and the quality of life you lead as you please. It means you show gratitude and live your life so that the world is a better place.
While we may not all approve of or agree with the happenings in the political sphere, we all are still able to cast our vote and appreciate the fact that we get to live, work and play in the 50 states that represent freedom around the world.
Patriotism, to me, means you are proud to live in the land of the free because of the brave. The brave who have fought for us and protected freedom across the globe. Those who have seen nations, populations without it and because of freedom’s absence born witness to the darkest sides of humanity.
I know that those who serve(d) would share with anyone who will listen what a privilege it is to carry the title of American. So how will you show your support for their service? For their patriotism and demonstrate your own?
How will YOU help the United States of America come together again so we are no longer divided, and instead stay true to what the U stands for in our name?