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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Patriotism on July 4th - Not just a Picnic.

2007 July 04 - Media

One of my favorite Professors told me just before I moved out to Montana that the Western United States were the frontiers of the American imagination. They were the places that the American mind went to dream. Some congruence of her romantic tone and ideas and the simple fact of her European upbringing made me think twice about why and where I was moving. Shortly thereafter I drove the approximately 1,500 miles from the mid-West, to the West. And there was no mid- about it.

Now, as I wax philosophical (and patriotic) and celebrate the nation's independence for the second time in Montana, while still solidly rooted in my mid-Western traditions, I think about the role of Patriotism in my experience here at Vote Smart. Patriotism has been derided as the "virtue of the vicious" by Oscar Wilde, and lauded by Abraham Lincoln when he said, "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."

I would like to submit a middle ground to the perception of patriotism, especially as our country ventures into yet another increasingly contentious, expensive and talked about election. Patriotism requires work. It is, in the words of one-time Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, patriotism is "not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." And that, my friends, is exactly what it is that Project Vote Smart is all about ...

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