Right-Wingers Aren't the Only Patriots

It's my country too, right or wrong. I just reserve the right to speak up when she's wrong.

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Some have college degrees; some don't. Some graduated from high school, some didn't. They dwell in every socioeconomic range from the upper-class to the working poor, from white collar to blue collar to no collar. They live in high-rise apartments and double-wide trailers, single-family homes and overcrowded homeless shelters.

Aside from engaging in acts of terror and treason, there's no litmus test for my patriotism or my love of this country. Mark Twain defined patriotism as "supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." It's like if you go outside and see a family member being attacked. You don't stop to ask questions; you jump in and try to help.

Once it's over, you might want to hit the family member yourself if you determine he started the fracas. But the point is, you were there for him, right or wrong. Patriotism isn't believing that America is faultless and flawless. It isn't agreeing with every policy, domestic or foreign. It isn't standing for the anthem or wrapping yourself in the flag.

It's wanting what's best for the country-as you see fit-and a determination to stand for the country no matter what. I don't think denying equal rights and trouncing civil liberties is the way to go. I don't think fear and loathing of minorities helps anything either. I'll stand and fight for America, right or wrong, but I want her to be right.

That's what goes through my mind on the Fourth of July.

Deron Snyder is a regular contributor to The Root.