Senator Obama is on his patriotism tour this week. Fine, politicians do that. But there is something vital missing from his call to service:
“We will ask Americans to serve. We will create new opportunities for Americans to serve. And we will direct that service to our most pressing national challenges.”
He added, “When you choose to serve — whether it’s your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood — you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That’s why it’s called the American dream.”
What if I choose to serve myself? More directly, I’d posit that “being” – in whatever form one chooses – is connection to the fundamental human ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nor is it prudent to forget that Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness are among certain unalienable Rights. That’s semantics, mostly, but when Sen. Obama omits the individual, a bit of semantics is necessary.
“Loving your country shouldn’t just mean watching fireworks on the 4th of July,” he said. “Loving your country must mean accepting your responsibility to do your part to change it. If you do, your life will be richer, and our country will be stronger.”
Loving my country means embracing the truth that all individuals are created equal and seeking to continue the government instituted among Men based upon this principle. Loving my country means rejecting rules and laws based on subjective ideas like equality of outcome or that democracy is an ideal to be honored. Loving my country means striving to perpetuate principled structures for governing that protect rights, not endorsing the will of the people. The only thing I must do is refrain from infringing the rights of others. It would be nice if Sen. Obama (and every other politician) did the same.