So, I have developed a new pet peeve.
A few hours after the planes hit the World Trade Center, I was driving down I-25 and saw a man standing on an overpass waving an American flag for all he was worth. It kind of brought tears to my eyes. It was a small statement of both solidarity and spirit. It said, "we will not be defeated and we will never give up." Well, that statement was quickly corrupted for me when everyone started driving around with flags covering their automobiles.
It was like everyone had to jump on the flag-waving bandwagon. (as comedian David Cross puts it) Now, the latest trend in Denver is for everyone to put those ridiculous large magnetic yellow ribbons on their cars that say "Support Our Troops." Those magnets just really offend me. Honestly, who doesn't "support our troops?" What those magnets really mean is "support the war." Just because I don't believe that my fellow Americans should be sent across the ocean to die for a cause I don't believe in doesn't mean that I don't SUPPORT THE TROOPS! One of my dearest friends has been serving over in the Middle East during all of this mess. He knows I support the troops. I don't need a bumper sticker to say "Hey, look at me, I'm a patriot!" Being a patriot doesn't mean accepting whatever your leadership says without questioning. It doesn't mean always going with the norm and never standing up for what you truly believe in. It doesn't mean vilifying people who happen to have a difference of opinion. And it doesn't stop at simply waving flags around and covering your car in propaganda.
Being a patriot means loving your country and fighting to make it the best that it can be. It means standing up for what you believe in even if it isn't popular opinion. It means going out to vote and campaigning for the candidate you believe in. And even if your candidate loses, it means working to make sure that you keep the winner honest by bombarding him or her with lobbying e-mails, letters and phone calls.
I don't need a sticker or a ribbon or even a flag to tell the world that I'm a patriot and that I support the troops. I just have to live my life like I do.