In 1916, school children were asked to read “My country” at schools all across the nation. Its ideals recited with hopes that children would aim to live up to those ideals. It is an excellent poem and I have copied some of it at the end of this article.
I recently was told by someone on social media that I did not love my country because I worked for the liberal news media and have been critical of Donald Trump. (Funny how no one ever said that when I wrote columns critical of Obama.)
The person who messaged me has had the message removed and this on their account:"This message has been temporarily removed because the sender's account requires verification."
I do love my country and I was taught if you love someone or something you warn them of the wrong path and help them avoid the wrong path. I love my children and if I see them lying or choosing poorly I call them out on it and correct them. Same with my country if I see bad occurring I will call the person or persons responsible out for it.
My father and all three of my older brothers served in the military. My eldest brother left enough bone and blood in Iraq to protect our rights, which Freedom of Speech enumerated as the very first one, that I am determined to honor his fighting spirit and sacrifices by using my right to free speech everyday. Especially, since I am not a good brother and only call him about 3 times a year.
When I see anyone’s freedoms or liberty threatened in our great country, I will aim to speak up.
Liberty and freedom have no home in a country where the highest power aims to crush free speech and proliferates lies. Cicero understood this over 2,100 years ago and it is still true today,
Or if you want an even older version about the importance of truth simple read proverbs “(God) detests every kind of deception.”
Newspapers aim to shine a light and tell the truth, and when persons makes up lies and demonize newspapers or calls the Free Press "‘the enemy of the people" they are only emboldening people to embrace the hate in their hearts; rather than listening to the angel's voice attempting to keep them on the correct path in life.
It is good and an American privilege to debate ideas with others, but once someone demeans the other person who disagrees, it is contradictory of what being an American is about. Americans have always been about individualism and the right to speak your mind, especially when it is the truth. Truth is the best weapon to fight ill intentions not more name calling or angry words.
Now here is the a part of the poem “My country” which was written by a journalist and recited by school children in 1916. If you love America, we should be striving to meet the ideals in this poem, not holding our constructive criticisms back or blindly following others down the wrong path:
I am an American
I belong to the United States of America, and am proud of it because my country is great and strong, and its ideals are just and humane.
I love my country because it stands for liberty and against all forms of slavery, tyranny and unjust privilege.
I love my country because it is a democracy, where the people govern themselves, and there is no hereditary class to rule.
I love my country because it is the land of opportunity; the way success is open to every person, no matter his birth or circumstances.
I love my country because the oppressed of other countries are welcome here.
I love my country because women are respected and honored.
I love my country because because it is considered honorable to work.
I love my country because its heroes are such characters as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who loved to serve not to rule.
I love my country because it interferes with no person’s religion.
I love my country because its people are industrious, energetic, independent, friendly, and have a sense of humor.
I love my country because if one is dissatisfied with things, he can change them for the better if he can induce enough people to agree.
So, my criticism of some of our leaders is simply my way of showing love for a country that must be pushed everyday to strive for these ideals. The country I love is made stronger and better by pointing out the ideals we all should strive for and not by calling others names on social media.
Who loves a child better the parent who corrects misbehavior or a parent who blindly ignores bad?
Editor’s note: Joseph McCain is the publisher of The Choctaw Plaindealer, The Webster Progress Times and Winston County Journal. He maybe reached at newsroom@winston countyjournal.com or 662-803-5236.