It is amazing how, over time, the meanings of certain words have a tendency to change – so much so that you must be very careful using certain words.
Years ago, to be gay was to be full of joy, happy and enthusiastic. Today, to be gay makes one, more than likely, a member of a protected class of society whose lifestyle is rather queer.
Speaking of queer, wasn't that odd, unusual or different? For a while queer described homosexuality. Today it is back to the original meaning as gay has become more fashionable, like an old necktie. Keep it long enough and it is bound to come back in to style.
Bad meant something was, well, bad. It meant no good, terrible or awful. Now bad is good. That is one bad writer at WND. "That is one bad car, man!"
High used to describe the altitude at which an aircraft was flying or the condition of someone standing on a mountain. Today, one must be careful for they may be misinterpreted as being a person in a chemically altered state. Are you high?
Sick was generally associated with illness or lack of wellbeing. Today, sick can be interchanged with something impressive. "That is one sick paint job, dude!" A death-defying stunt or well-performed trick may earn the description of being sick.
My point, you may ask?
The word patriotism has changed significantly from 1776 to 2010. What patriotism means to you and I may be far different from what it means to our fellow citizen. And it probably is a great deal different from what it meant to Americans in the 18th century.
In 1776, patriotism was standing and fighting against tyranny, defeating taxation without representation at all costs, defending the freedom to choose who and how to worship and defending the freedom of speech and press. Patriotism was a willingness to lay down one's life for one's country and the freedom of future generations. It was paying today for what would be enjoyed by others tomorrow.
In World War II, patriotism was shown in young men lying about their age in order to join the armed forces so they could fight the Nazis and stop the spread of fascism and free fellow human beings held in concentration camps and keeping Europe and America free. Patriotic women went to work in factories building the materials to support our boys at war.
By the time our boys were fighting in Vietnam, a small group of people started claiming they were "true patriots" and starting burning bras and draft cards as proof. They were raging against authority. They saw patriotism as calling returning soldiers "baby killers" and spitting upon them as they returned from the hot and humid, communist-infested jungles of Southeast Asia.
People like Jane Fonda found it extremely patriotic to hang out with the enemies of freedom in North Vietnam offering aid and comfort to the same while bashing America's military in the most vile of terms.
During the Iraq war, patriotism took on a whole new meaning. While our troops fought and died, people like Cindy Sheehan were heralded by the Left as the "real American patriots." Code Pink and Medea Benjamin screaming at and disrupting congressional hearings became the pure Left version of patriotism. Publicly attacking a sitting president during a time of war with ruthless and untrue claims was patriotism to Michael Moore and former Vice President Al Gore.
Mr. Obama giving a great speech in a foreign land about how bad America is (and I don't mean good) and how we need to apologize for all the harm we have caused the world was very patriotic to some – especially citizens of the world of Barack Obama. Throwing law enforcement under the bus before knowing the facts is patriotic to him. Suing a state to stop enforcement of a law is patriotic. After all, he may gain 11 million voters in the process. What could be more patriotic than a few more White House concerts or parties? Or more legislation without representation shoved down the throats of the American people. He feels patriotic telling us what's best for us but not good enough for him.
I have always thought patriotism was a love for country. True love is always measured by sacrifice. Being patriotic used to be a willingness to sacrifice today for a better country tomorrow. Am I wrong? Am I just deluding myself? Has it really changed to what we see today?
This week I have asked myself this question, and now I ask you to ask yourself: What does patriotism mean to you? Then compare your answer to what you see around you today, and you will quickly realize the truth is often stranger than fiction.
You will see that words really do change, and rarely for the better.
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