While there is little more patriotic than storming the beaches of Normandy, it is just as courageous to suffer civilian neglect after tours of duty. There's more to patriotism than the Patriot Act, Citizens United or day trip south of the border, down Mexico way.
American citizenship deserves more than misquoting historical documents or confusing a pledge of allegiance with a declaration of independence or mistaking Guns, God and Freedom Caucus for America the Beautiful.
There's more to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself than espousing religious freedom while menacing freedom's greatest privilege with voter-ID Laws, political gerrymandering and transforming faith, hope and charity begins at home, by diminutive education at degrading school infrastructure.
There's more to justice than blocking the restoration of voting rights to those former felons who did the crime and served the time, for beware, a society of revolving doors from Congress to K Street and schools to prisons, risks being crushed under its own corrupted correctional collateral.
And what of the humanity of providing affordable healthcare, rather than being awash in the thrill of sticking the masses with addicting chill pills -- hedged by dealers dealing in insurance and pharmaceuticals?
There can be more to our American life than diminishing returns, but ultimately is already here, and those too distracted to deny the powerful denial of truth standing before us, allow the powerful to reap what the rest sow.
Though born out of war, freedom to peacefully assemble has always been an American ideal; less so, misogyny and bigotry -- and there is more to being a patriot than blocking supreme-court nominees, while costuming sexual harassment in a black robe of silence, hiding in plain sight.
There's more to standing up for our country than standing during the rockets' red glare, and, more to honoring our veterans than a government shutdown. It's not enough to display Old Glory for all to see, until weather rending it filthy and tattered, like a warrior forgotten.
There is more to American patriotism than saluting a flag while denigrating the unity and civility for which it stands. A pledge of our allegiance to each other without prejudice, is more patriotic than flag waving or struggling to remember the lyrics of a challenging melody before sports events.
Patriotism is not being media numbed into glossing over a mother being gunned down while strolling with her children. Being an all-American citizen begins with being a decent human being to all Americans.
Citizenship flourishes when liberally nourished with civil participation in the civics of our nation. Patriotism is not how loud we shout, for if we but journey together from disunity to community, The Ugly American roar is silenced.
The very nemesis of patriotism is the injustice in the words of an extreme hard-right Virginia amendment, spousal abuse, rape, trafficking, the falsely convicted serving decades, while one caught in the act of sexual assault receives a six-month sentence.
True patriotism accepts accountability and celebrates contribution, especially from those who have been denied full citizenship. Our Herstory is resplendent with Americans like Sojourner Truth & Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman & Elizabeth Cady, Alice Jones Rhinelander & Susan B. Anthony, Marion Anderson & Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary McLeod Bethune & Ruth Williams Khama, Fannie Lou Hamer & Jeannette Rankin, Shirley Chisholm & Alice Paul, Dorothy Height & Betty Ford, Aretha Franklin & Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey and, if she can be saved from police bi-coastal trafficking, possibly Celeste Guap.
Real patriots preserve, protect and defend not only America's symbols, but the rights and privileges for which they stand. We are a nation of nations on a planet we share with all that live upon it.
Worshiping the symbols of exceptionalism is not exceptional, but letting world peace begin with America, would be.