One of the small joys I have in life is when I see one of those circa 2001 post 9/11 bumper stickers announcing "These Colors Don't Run!" faded to a sickly sepia on the back of someone's car.
I'm not a patriot of the wearing-a-flag-shirt-from-old-navy-and-driving-a-car-with-a-magnetic-yellow-ribbon-on-the-bumper variety. I love the freedoms we have here. I love being able to get on the internet and post a blog of my thoughts with no worries as to whether my post is going to be edited, deleted, or result in my being thrown in jail or worse. I appreciate other like minded individuals I meet who believe in civil rights for all citizens, not just those who are of a certain color, or who were born here, or who find people of the opposite sex attractive. I believe the freedom to express yourself freely is one of the most important freedoms we have, because I feel that only through sharing ideas and discussing those ideas can we continue to grow together as a country to become more than we are today.
The fourth of July is a good day to think about what you like about living here for those of us who spend a lot of time focusing on what we don't like and trying to do our part to help influence people to change the injustices that we see. I think one of the most unfair labels that can be assigned to the whistle blowers of politicians, religions, and any other sect of society prone to manipulation and control over the American people through intimidation and control is 'unpatriotic' because part of being a patriot is questioning the authority of those who hold those positions of power. That's what keeps this nation of, by, and for the people.
So, to atheists who face this label day in and out I say - this is our day to celebrate our dedication to the things that have and will continue to make America great. Please continue to question your government and your fellow Americans because the moment we stop asking questions will be the moment patriotism in America goes the way of the buffalo.