The current Political/POTUS08 season, as well as the past 8 hellish years have made the word "patriot" quite popular. I always thought it meant, "someone who loves their country". Our current administration infers that it means "someone who love my country in the same fashion as I do and does what I think a patriot should do." Lots of pundits throw the word around like you can only be a patriot if you are military. Like you can only serve your country with a weapon. Well, I love my country. I know lots of patriots who are not even remotely violent. Many patriots tend gardens, raise families, show up to work hard, volunteer in their communities, take care of their homes. If not for the people, the citizens, then what is a "country" and who would love it?
I do not believe our government is the absolute best, but I believe it is far better than others. We have the right and obligation to read, research and vote for those who we feel can run the business of our government. We can change our government every 4 years. I believe a patriot votes. I do not believe the people serve the government, no way! I believe the people in government serve the citizens who, through taxes, pay their salaries. I believe that for every soldier, serving their country through a military branch, there is a parent/grandparent/family member who served their country by raising a responsible child.
Does one need to be in a battle to be patriotic? There are many of us who go to battle each day, our battlefields are shops, factories, hospitals and schools. We fight each day to do our duty to our employers, communities and families. Just because we do not carry weapons doesn't mean we fight any less.
I do not believe someone has to have served in the military to hold public office. Likewise, I do not believe that experience is a detriment. We all carry our experiences, wherever and however we receive them, as our lifelong education. Just as many military officers have learned to make critical decisions under fire, many nurses, doctors, teachers and bankers have to make critical decisions as well. Managers in any field, at every level have to factor in people, and resources each day in ways that feel just as dramatic and defining as war. I am in textiles, and in our current economy, I feel each day is a battle to keep my job, so I can maintain my life and my family. Does that make me less a patriot than my Uncle Ray who served in both Korea and Viet Nam? I am responsible for a segment of business for my company, I am responsible for 7 associates who report to me. If I make poor decisions, 7 families could suffer. This could be compounded by the other associates, and their families, who also work with me. Does this mean we are not fighting? We are all connected. We are all valuable. We are all patriots.