by: Tom Cuba, P.h.D
What does it really mean to be a patriot? Contrary to what some might think, being a patriot is not the same as chanting “My Country, Right or Wrong.”
The word Patriot comes from the Latin, Pater, meaning Father.
To be a Patriot means to act towards one’s country as a father would act towards his son.
In today’s world, the description is not as gender specific and there are certainly as many women who are patriots as there are men.
Therefore, it is my belief that our daily conduct should always be considerate of the effect it may have on our country; just as we would adjust our daily conduct in light of the effect it may have on our children. The challenge, just as in raising children, is in asking ourselves what sort of country we choose to father.
Being a Patriot requires that we put the needs of our country before our own, just as being a parent requires that we think of our children first.
The greatest implication of a belief such as that above is that when a person is placed in a position of responsibility such as an elected office or an appointed post, they must actually lead. People in these positions have a responsibility to envision a desirable future, convey that vision to the people, seek validation of that vision, and take action to make that vision a reality.
These are the true patriots: those who hate politics and still become involved. It is perfectly normal to hate politics when the art is practiced as it has been recently. Still, hating politics is the very best reason to become involved in politics. Political norms won’t change if those who would parent the nation ignore the bad behaviour.
It will take more than a yard sign or a casual donation. If our political system is to regain integrity, honor, and decent standards of conduct, those who find it unacceptable must stand forth and offer well-metered discipline.
Just as a wayward child is often the result of bad parenting, today’s political ethics are the result of bad patriotism.
Raised a simple Missouri farm boy, Tom managed to attend a British Prep School before commencing a college career that would culminate in a Doctorate Degree in Marine Ecology. He also served as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy, and as a scoutmaster, SCUBA instructor, Wilderness Survival Instructor, and Firearms Instructor.
Tom has worked as an ecologist in both government and private practice, as well as a freelance nature photographer and computer programmer.
Now, a father and grandfather, Tom offers life lessons in the form of stories about the challenges people face and conquer as well as socio-political essays. To that end, his first lesson is always his favorite quote. “Failure is the whetstone of success.” ~ T. Leith Rettie, 1884.
You can read more from Tom on his site by clicking here.