This 4th of July, We’re All Patriots

In anticipation of the holiday, this is crossposted at

Patriot: A patriot is someone who thinks, feels or voices expressions of patriotism, support for their country. – Wikipedia

Depending on how you slice it, this definition of patriot either makes me the worst American ever, or one of it’s greatest patriots. It’s a toss up.

Which is probably why this 4th of July, we political types will spend too much time on our soapboxes trying to out-patriot the other.

My dissent is the height of patriotism for our country!

You don’t support our troops, you can’t be a patriot!

You don’t support our President! That’s unpatriotic!

You ignore the health care crisis, that’s unpatriotic!

But teaparties are the most patriotic thing you can do!

And so on. And so forth until we’re all donning our red, white, and blue clothing, painting our faces with stars and stripes and seeing who’s flag outside of who’s house is the biggest. Even making sure others know that we consider ourselves patriots.

As someone who’s patriotism has been called “fake” and “impossible” I know from where I speak. Just the other day on Twitter I was asked to prove  my support of the troops and asked to prove who in my family has served. Apparently to the person questioning me, my patriotism revolved around the military.

I rolled my eyes.

To others, it revolves around voting. And to others it revolves around flying your flag on a holiday and a BBQ. To some of us, it’s showing support for troops.

Let’s face it, none of us own the monopoly on patriotism. As Americans, we support our country in different ways.

I feel I support my country by being vigilant on holding our leaders accountable. ALL our leaders. I also feel I support my country by using the rights given to me- freedom of speech, for one.

I also feel it’s patriotic to help our fellow countrymen and women. This is a point of contention with myself and the other side. I call it help, they call it a hand out. I call it common decency, they call it unnecessary taxes.

Which is why I get confused over these ridiculous fights over “patriotism.”

Just Heather pointed me to one of her posts from 2006 that sums up a lot of my patriotic feelings.

“I definitely don’t need to see those planes fly into the towers yet again to see it clearly in my head. I remember it all vividly. But what I choose to remember most is how everyone came together. I remember the initial shock that it was anything other than a terribly tragic accident.

I remember the feeling of helplessness, wishing there were something—anything—I could do. I remember dashing around the house, emptying pantries, filling boxes, and stuffing bags once I found out a location nearby was collecting items for affected families.

I remember the tears in my little one’s eyes when we were done unloading the car—because she wasn’t done helping. I remember the elation she felt when I told her she could gather up any money in the car and donate it too.

I remember the normally intense homecoming float competition at my high school being abandoned. I remember the United We Stand float the classes created together, donating the remaining funds to the 9/11 families.”

BOTH sides of the aisle point to America post 9-11, those days just after, as the height of our Patriotism. Not because we were dissenting, not because we were sending care packages to troops, not because we were flying flags…but because we were HELPING EACHOTHER.

So if the true feeling and definition of patriotism is helping your fellow countryman or woman- what are you doing this 4th of July to be patriotic?

What is patriotism to you? And how are you celebrating the day? Leave me a comment or link to your thoughts on what has become a political football.

And don’t forget to wear your flagpin.

Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog and is frequently called a traitor to her country.


  1. After 9/11 what bothered me the most politically was the Bush administration’s willingness to paint anyone who didn’t agree with them as unpatriotic. It was akin to be labeled communist in the 1950s. Don’t want to invade another country? Unpatriotic! Think the patriot act goes too far? Unpatriotic! Think the government should have court permission for wire taps? Unpatriotic!

  2. ha. My video from yesterday is perfect, eh.

  3. Perfect!

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