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So, you want to be a patriot?

Some people believe that showing the colors, wearing red, white and blue, and continuously singing ‘God Bless America’ and scrawling the phrase on cars, windows, and signs is patriotic. OK, it's a good start, but has more earmarks of a cultural fad than any real patriotism.

Put away that annoying Lee Greenwood piece, learn America the Beautiful, and consider doing these things- not only are they patriotic, but they are dramatic enough to make a real impression on your peers and neighbors and will do some good in the long run, too.

Get rid of that SUV- or get a smaller one. Gas guzzlers have got to go. Don’t believe that the price of gas will stay low- we might have reserves, but we will have to conserve them. Consider getting a gas sipping Turbo VW, or a hybrid gas-electric car. The benefit of this SUV-dumping will be fewer horrific accidents, not getting behind a monstrosity with a inattentive mom disciplining her kids in the vast back seat (while swerving all over the road) and fewer little kids getting accidentally roasted in the summer time because people cannot see inside their tinted high windows. Good riddance!

Keep your stocks. You’ll be glad you did. My dad says so, and even though he’s lost piles of money as the prices slid, his notes that go back 25 years tell him that they will come back stronger than ever. Heck, buy some stocks while they’re cheap!

Boost your electricity with solar power. If you live in a sunny area, or in California, you’ll keep your electric bills manageable.

Learn geography. Do you know where the Middle East is? Can you find the 55 Muslim countries on a global map? You can’t? Shame on you. Yes, some of them are unpronounceable.

Get to know your neighbors. The days of ‘me only’ are over.

Discipline your kids. They need ADULT guidance. Don’t let them rule you- or you both will pay dearly when they grow up.

Learn to cook again. That funny thing in the kitchen with the four round doohickeys on it is called a stove. Splurge on good kitchen gear, some cookbooks and get busy. Then invite your friends over for dinner parties and solve the world’s problems.

Lose weight. I have to do this too. Forget that drive-through windows and fast food exist. Make eating out at restaurants a TREAT, not an everyday experience. You DO NOT have to clean your plate. Get a doggie bag, and have the leftovers for lunch.

There are lots of people in this country with different origins and cultures. Learn about them.

Go to your library and check out a copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the writings of the Founding Fathers. Read what they wrote about America. Study the history of that time, and what led up to our revolution. Watch ‘The Patriot’ again. Then watch "Gettysburg" and "Saving Private Ryan". Then take a good look at the flag- and think about the significance of those red stripes.

Do you know who your US Senator and Congressman are? How about your state senator and legislator? Learn them.

Can you name the three divisions of Islam? Can you name five Christian sects? How about two Buddhist ones? What is a Sikh, and are they related to Muslims? Hindus?

What does Shalom mean? How about Salaam? Why do they sound so similar? What do they mean?

Ok, go do these things- and more. Not only will you be patriotic, but you will also be a lot smarter and informed than many of your peers, and will understand the great diversity that is the strength of this country.


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