Genuine patriotism is not surprised or derailed by flaws, sins or wickedness in the object of our love. Sentimental patriotism, by contrast, treats love of country the same way a maudlin Hallmark card writer would treat, after three beers, love of mother. Mothers Day becomes a high, holy, and sacred thing — a sanctifying thing, rather than what it is, something needing to be sanctified, like everything else we do.
So real love understands grace, and the need for it. Real love understands gratitude, and the need for it. The need for grace does not eradicate the need for gratitude. The need for gratitude does not mean that grace has become unnecessary and superfluous. Leftists sneer at the need for gratitude, and the sentimental right sneers at the need for grace, revealing both sides to be idolatrous.
And so this brings us to the 4th of July, 2013 — the good, the bad, and the ugly. But lest we become hardened in cynicism, we will return to the top again. We will focus on the good, the bad, the ugly, and the good again.
Freedom to worship God. A long, legal tradition of liberty. Staggering affluence. Abundant food. Protection from the elements. Technology. Amazing cars and trucks. Electronic connectivity. A bed to sleep in. A lawn to mow. Meat on the grill. Fireworks for the grandkids.
Abortion mills. Stupid wars. Homosexual marriage. Statist idolatry. Oceanic debt. Pillaging tax collectors. Which slides nicely into . . .
Seedy politicians. Corrupt lobbyists. Idiotic reporters. Inane entertainments. A tattooed and lost generation. Dysfunctional schools. Local, sustainable farming that is both intentional and purposive. E-fads. A preening president, a lunatic legislature, and a jub jub judiciary.
A recoverable tradition. A constitutional foundation. A faithful remnant. An admirable contempt of the ruling elites. A glorious opportunity.
A chance to be faithful in our generation.