Patriotism is a complex notion. Liberty and justice for all is a hollow slogan to the descendants of slavery, who are still disproportionately in literal or economic shackles, suffering from the ongoing repression of systemic racism.
If you're at least 50 years old, it's hard hearing the news of our ever-growing involvement in the Middle East effort (Effort? Hell, let's call it what it is: a war.) to defeat ISIS, and not experience a very uncomfortable sense of déjà vu.
Criticizing the president during wartime is fine, as long as it's based on reality and facts. Hypocrisy, on the other hand, isn't fine. You either support the president, any president, in wartime or you don't. You can't have it both ways.
Those stout-hearted Americans who were so upset that their president discussed serious matters in a tan suit last week, had good and patriotic reason for their outbursts. But perhaps they didn't notice what would certainly have relieved them of their concern.
Labor Day isn't the most celebrated of holidays on our calendar. It was birthed out of a movement to honor and respect the hardworking Americans who laid the foundation of our nation in the late 19th Century.
A patriot is someone who is willing to put aside selfish interests to serve the good of the nation. Today's Republican leaders have shown a willingness to do the very opposite: sacrificing America to gain advantage for themselves.
When I hear people talk about their family's history, their ethnicity -- mandalas, Celtic warblings, a dashiki, even a dish their old odd grandmother makes back in Ukraine -- I find myself longing for that kind of context.
But three generations of relative prosperity have served to more than double that rate of inadequacy. The condition of so many of our young people offers a grim indictment of our public schools, a rebuke to parents, and a warning about the future of national security
Inversions occur when U.S. companies buy out usually smaller, foreign corporations and reincorporate in another country to avoid U.S. corporate taxes. For example, Walgreens, the uber-American drugstore with deep roots in Illinois, has begun the process of merging with a Swiss company.
Many Americans never discover their American identity until they befriended non-Americans. I am one of those many. This is my story of patriotic discovery that began back when I wanted nothing to do with America and ended in the international corridor of my university.
From what I hear, read and see, the VFW does a fine job at the national level. But, as with any large organization, many of the "good things" take place where the rubber hits the road, at the local Posts.
Independence Day. Ideals. Parades and fireworks. Big ideas counterpointed against ceremony and celebration. On July 4, I suspend my worries about our country. I dive into nostalgia, grateful for immersion in traditions free of cynicism, free of the complexity of close analysis.
The days when Big Business can have it both ways -- as an artificial, power-concentrating entity with special privileges and immunities, on the one hand, and all the constitutional human rights of real people on the other hand, are coming to an end.
The time is now. I ask this Fourth of July, when grilling those hotdogs on the back porch or lighting fireworks, you take a moment to think about a course of action on how we can make this country better.