Patriotism
by Deane Gunderson

 
The Rolfe Arrow
ó September 25, 1975

I probably wouldnít be writing this column except for the statements of two people in the last few months. One, a retired farmer from D.M.T., said to Marion, the Librarian, "Why doesnít your husband write a column on patriotism?"

At first this didnít get very far. Writing something overflowing with the good things of patriotism, perhaps a little on the gaudy side, or bringing up the deficiencies of present day level of patriotism just didnít appeal to this writer. We have too many people over-emphasizing the faults of our country anyway, some using our own tax money to do it. (More on that later sometime, maybe.)

The patriotism column was pretty well stalled when a neighbor lady said, "Have you read the essay in TIME this week? Itís terrific." When I read it, I agreed.

In defining patriotism, both Random House and Webster dictionaries emphasize love of oneís country. I had never thought of it in quite that way.

Love of country - that could be working for the country - even criticizing it if it were for the betterment of the country - just as we must discipline our kids and employees at times even though at the instant of application, the discipline might not seem like a measure of love.

Rather than try to condense the TIME essay, I had hoped to gain permission from Time, Inc. to reprint the whole essay. This was refused because it is to come out as part of a book later.

The last paragraph (following) is probably the most thought provoking part of the essay, and should encourage you to read the whole article in TIME, July 14, 1975, p. 19.

"The American promise of self-government in freedom, under law and with self-restraint, remains the most stirring and hope-giving in the catalogue of political systems. What is needed for its survival is a rigorous concentration on its meaning, including a concentration on some things the Declaration left out. Freedom, like the Declaration itself, is not a gift but a permanent demand on us to keep giving. Perhaps in our minds we need to insert in the Declaration some words like these: Ď. . . that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inescapable DUTIES, and that among those duties are work, learning, and pursuit of responsibility.í For our attitude toward work still determines the kind of life and willingness to learn, meaning an open mind both to the new and the old is necessary to keep liberty real; a sense of responsibility, rather than a devotion to pleasure along is necessary for that elusive goal of happiness. Finally, only the willingness to perform certain duties can guarantee our rights."

       

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