Being a proud American never used to be controversial. Not that long ago, the assumption was that everyone is a patriot and not afraid to admit it. As they tend to do, times have changed and words such as patriotism, nationalism, and loyalty are hot button words that elicit strong reactions. We at Greater Half believe in patriotism, American Exceptionalism, and showing pride in being an American. We don’t believe anyone should have to apologize for loving the United States of America. We love it for all its faults and all the contributions it has made to the world. If you feel as we do and are a patriot, or feel like you want to get on board, we have some different ways to show your patriotism. Be proud of this great nation and don’t be afraid to show it.
Know What it Means to Be a Patriot
There is a standardized definition of patriotism, and it’s a boring couple of sentences that don’t even begin to tell the tale. Being a patriot means different things to different people—it’s a fluid definition and open for interpretation. Being a patriot starts with respecting the flag, the country, and its institutions. It means supporting the President, no matter who it is and how you feel about their politics. Rooting for any duly elected official to fail in the duties is an antithesis to patriotism. If they fail, the system fails, and the country fails. Patriotism means supporting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and believing that those documents are fluid, adaptable, changeable, and therein lies their greatness. It means knowing that Democracy is the freest form of government the world has known and is the law of this land.
Learn American History
To truly understand American Exceptionalism is to learn American history. You don’t need to earn a master’s degree in American history, but you should learn a bit more than who is on the $100 bill. Learning the history of the U.S.A. will give you a good understanding and knowledge of what it took to go from an English colony to a world superpower. Many battles were fought and many lives were lost to create this nation, and to be ignorant of the past is to disrespect that sacrifice. The history of the U.S. is complex and nuanced; there are many things to be proud of and many things to be ashamed of. Good or bad though, don’t ignore history or whitewash it. This is the history, warts and all, and knowing it will make you love it even more.
Get Out and Vote
Voting in every election is your right and civic duty. The most patriotic act one person can do is voting. The founding of the country was on the belief that every man should have the right to vote and have a say in what happens. This basic right was the basis for the Revolutionary War and the creation of the nation. The colonists resented being taxed by representatives that they had no part in electing. “No taxation without representation” became a slogan used by the colonists to rally support for the coming succession and war. There are people in the world today, living under repressive regimes, that don’t have the right to vote. They would love nothing more than to have a hand in shaping their nation and deciding its future. Not voting in elections is the antithesis of patriotism. To be a patriot is to vote.
Buy American Made Products
Support your country and fellow citizens and buy American made products. It can be hard to identify American made products when everything is claiming to be Made in the U.S.A but actually come from other countries. Many American companies have their world headquarters in the U.S., but outsource their products to China or Mexico. Further, finding certain consumer products, such as electronics and automobiles, that are American made are more difficult to find. As such, buying American takes some research and work, but it is worth the effort. It supports companies and workers that work in America and ensures that revenue stays in America. This means buying locally, too. Instead of going to the giant box store to buy things, visit your local merchants and help support their families. Buying locally keeps your dollars in your community, among your friends and family.
Fly the Flag
You don’t have to limit your patriotism and flag flying to Independence Day. Let the world know that you are a patriot and fly the stars and stripes wherever you can. There is no greater symbol of freedom and patriotism than Old Glory. The flag of the U.S.A. is a symbol of freedom and hope for people all over the world. Put a flagpole in your yard and fly the flag every day or mount a bracket to the side of your house. However, there are right and wrong ways to display the flag, so make sure you know the rules. For example, you may not fly the flag at night unless it is illuminated. If you don’t have a light on it, then you must take it down before dark.
Support Veterans and Active Duty Military
Soldiers returning from the battlefield need our support. They face a new challenge when returning home—an enemy that can’t be seen, but is dangerous nonetheless. Post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, high suicide rates, and joblessness are a fraction of the problems that veterans face. There are dozens of organizations all across the country that help veterans cope with returning home and become adjusted to civilian life. Volunteer with one or more of these organizations and truly help the veteran community. It is nice to show support on social media and thank them for their service in person, but consider getting on the ground level and offering some real help.
Dress the Part of a Patriot
While doing all the things listed above works, you should also try to dress the part of a patriot. Let there be no confusion about where your loyalties lie—dress head to toe in stars and stripes as well as red, white and blue. On voting day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and even Christmas show your patriotism loud and proud. Greater Half has American pride hoodies, patriotic basketball jerseys, hats, pants, and star-studded golf shirts so you can flash some U.S.A. pride everywhere you go. We have everything you need to put your patriotism and love of country on display, so check it out and find what speaks to you.