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by Bruce Perry

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot, will, in this crisis shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

--Thomas Paine

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice and always has been."

--Mark Twain

There has been a lot of new interest in this word...patriotism. It has been used to describe an attitude of coming together, of supporting the president, the government, and the responses our leaders have deemed necessary...and that is wrong. Patriotism isn't a 'mass movement' cannot be. Always it will be a personal matter.

Patriotism isn't blindly following the media...or the mayor, governor, president, senator or friend who pontificates about how you should feel. Patriotism is knowing WHY you feel the way you do...and that you have the RIGHT to feel that way.

Patriotism isn't little plastic flags from China. It can't be painted on...nor washed off. It can't be bought...or sold. No one can give it to you...and no one can take it away. It is of enormous value to those that feel it...and contemptible to those who don't. Patriotism isn't something you do because others are watching you...or for a profit...or to get votes...or to sway your friends...or to fit in.

This country has never been about fitting in; we are individuals, and that is what makes us great. Attempts by others to convince you of how you should think, feel, speak or act are never the acts of patriots. Attempts to take away your rights, or 're-interpret' them, are never the acts of patriots. You are an American...your rights are not negotiable...they will exist even if they are legislated against by citizens of this country who are not patriots.

In short, patriotism isn't any single is a way of life. The dictionary defines patriotism as:

"Love of and devotion to one's country."

This is only half right in America. I believe that patriotism is believing in yourself as much as you believe in your country, and possessing the willingness to protect either from any threats to their liberty.

Patriotism is the REASON you do the things you do. The motivation for doing what is right for you AND your country.

Bruce Perry
NOT a patriot...but trying.