As we approach Independence Day 2017, Americans find themselves embroiled in a war of words over what it means to be a patriot. With its fuse lit in not-so-distant past elections, we’ve moved from civil discourse to civil war… perhaps uncivil war is more accurate.
Which leads to the question, “What does it mean to be a patriot?” Has the meaning changed over time? Can any group of Americans lay claim to being more patriotic than other groups? Are there common values and aspirations among our diverse demographics that can more closely bind us for the good of our country’s future… which meets the true definition of “patriotism”?
And don’t we owe it to those who sacrificed for our freedom to do more than hold backyard barbecues and light fireworks on the Fourth of July?
Answers to these questions, or at least inspiration to guide us, can be found in many of the excellent books about patriotism that are available from booksellers and libraries. Here’s your starter list of five books for adults and two books for children:
Lincoln – Carl Sandburg
A Patriot’s Handbook – Caroline Kennedy
1776 – David McCullough
Selected Addresses of Frederick Douglass
The Ethics of Patriotism – John Kleinig, Simon Keller, Igor Primoratz
God Bless America – Irving Berlin
Liberty – Lynn Curlee