Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The New Face of Patriotism

I'm having a hard time calling myself patriotic. No, that's not quite what I'm struggling with. I'm grappling with reconciling my feelings, my morals and my values, with my commitment to patriotism.

The New Face of Patriotism, reconciling patriotism and personal morals and values | www.BakingInATornado.com | #Independence Day #MyGraphics

The definition of patriotism is a strong and unwavering support of one's country. . But the face of patriotism, the whole notion has shifted, for me anyway. Honestly, I'd never given it much thought, as a concept anyway. It was a feeling, a pride, an effortless commitment. I know that many people on this earth think that their country is the best, and well they should. But the place of the USA on the world stage, our strength, commitment and reputation, was pretty well acknowledged throughout most of the world.

Was. That's the key word in this last sentence. Was. That has all changed in the past 6 months. All in the name of patriotism and under the guise of America first.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for America first. But to me that means all Americans, not just the white ones, not just the Christian ones, not just the males, not just the straight ones, not just a specific voter base, all of us. In order to move forward with an America first agenda, we have to define Americans and we need to find a way to include, accommodate, and accept all. 

Further, I do not confuse America first with America only. Or America in a bubble, isolated. We are not alone on this earth. We are not devoid of responsibility for what goes on around us. And lets not pretend that we are not impacted by the health of our planet and by the relationships of others who inhabit it. It is possible to advance our own goals while maintaining relationships with other countries, while committing ourselves to the health of our planet, while coming to the aid of others.

But we're not. And I'm ashamed.

Embarrassed of the face we're showing to the world. Mortified at the deliberate degradation of relationships we've spent years building. Shocked to no longer be the leader of the free world. Bewildered by the divisive rhetoric, the dishonesty, the bullying, the ill-considered changes in policy, the conflicts between what is said and what is done, the absolute chaos. Humiliated, yes humiliated, by our current "leadership". 

I've been at odds with administrations before. I've felt deep division between my values and goals for our country and those of our leaders many times in the past. But I have always held a basic respect for their thoughtful commitment to their agenda, to their acknowledgement of the need govern us all, to their loyalty to our global relationships and yes, for their respectful decorum.

This is not that. 

My mom and I had a disagreement recently. She wants this administration to succeed. This is not what she wanted for our country either, but since it's what we have, she is able to put those feelings aside and hope for success, for the sake of us all.

I do not, and this frustrated her. I hope this administration fails. I do not want everything that this president stands for to be in any way validated. It's that simple. But does this make me unpatriotic?

So my struggle is in reconciling all of my current feelings with patriotism. Patriotism is about pride, right? Especially today, on the 4th of July. It's not just about planning a cookout and making a red, white and blue dessert, it's about celebrating who we are and what we stand for. 

Whiskey Grilled Riblets, rubbed, slow roasted, sauced and finished on the grill. Delicious summer cookout flavors. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #grilling #dinner

Whiskey Grilled Riblets
Whiskey Grilled Riblets, rubbed, slow roasted, sauced and finished on the grill. Delicious summer cookout flavors. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #grilling #dinner

going to the grill

I am still patriotic. Accomplished by drawing a clear line between allegiance to my country and approval of it's current public portrayal. My heart belongs firmly to this country, to the contributions of a diverse population, to its rich history. 

And to my unwavering hope for its future.

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Whiskey Grilled Riblets
5# pork riblets
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 TBSP Jim Beam Apple Bourbon Whiskey

1 1/2 cups Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup Jim Beam Apple Bourbon Whiskey

OPT: Additional barbecue sauce for serving

*Rinse and dry the riblets.
*Mix together the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika and cumin. 
*Liberally sprinkle over the meat and pat in. Do both sides.
*You can use a disposable aluminum foil cooking pan, or line a 9 X 13 metal pan with heavy foil.
*Place the riblets into the pan, leaving space between by alternating placing one row of ribs lengthwise and the next row sideways. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
*Remove ribs from fridge an hour and a half before cooking. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
*Place 2 TBSP Apple Bourbon Whiskey into the bottom of the pan and bake for one hour, tightly covered with foil. Remove from oven, turn ribs over, making sure the ones that were on the bottom are now on top and vice versa. Cover again and return to oven and bake for half an hour.
*Whisk the barbecue sauce and the 1/4 cup of Apple Bourbon Whiskey.
*Remove ribs from oven. Carefully remove the ribs fro the pan. Return them to the pan, covering each row with barbecue sauce/whiskey mixture. Cover tightly and return to oven for an hour.
NOTE: At this point you can proceed to the grill or you can cover and place the ribs in the refrigerator and grill the next day. If grilling the next day, bring to room temperature before grilling. Grilling times will increase.
*Spray non-stick spray on your cold grill. With the cover open, light the grill, close the cover and heat to 450 degrees. Place the ribs on the grill, close and lower the heat to medium. If you are grilling the ribs right fro the oven, they should only take about 5 minutes per side. If grilling the ribs the day after cooking, they will take longer, grill until hot (they are already cooked).
*Opt: Serve with additional barbecue sauce.


  1. Those ribs look wonderful!!! Regarding your dilemma, I understand. However, I agree with your mother. For the sake of our country and all of us who live here, I don't want to see a failure. It doesn't mean I agree or disagree... it's just that picking up the pieces if we fail is going to be difficult, and there is so much division already. I like how heart-felt this post is... which makes me think of you as a patriot! But...I'll be really honest...it was really hard to write a response with my stomach growling and wiping drool of my chin. Because. Those. Ribs!

    1. I do understand your point of view but it seems that succeeding means destroying our air quality, destroying our water, divorcing ourselves from the global community, gutting our schools . . . nope, can't I'd rather he fail at it all.

  2. This is amazing, Karen and says what I've been thinking. I've always believed 'where much is given, much is expected'. And that means using the plenty we have to lift and help others. I'm a big believer in open doors. And inclusiveness. Let there be 'no poor among us'. And that means poor in spirit as well as poor in worldly goods. Thank you for this. Sharing . . .

    1. Thank you, Diane. As a Canadian it may not seem as though you have as much at stake in what happens here but as a resident of the planet earth, and a citizen of a country with whom we've always had a good relationship, I know that you do. Sure wish we had a Trudeau at the helm here.

  3. The ribs looks wonderful. I have to think about the rest of it.......

  4. I am working through many of the same thoughts as you, Karen. On the other hand, my mother in law is a firm supporter of the current President, and, as a member of a religious minority who has been targeted, it has colored my relationship with her. I have so many mixed feelings this Fourth. I had started to blog about that, but fate intervened. It will be the topic of my blog post tomorrow (not political). And I pinned your rib recipe. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. I'm a member of a minority too, the current culture in this country terrifies me, not just for myself and my kids but for every other group seeing hatred towards them becoming more and more bold.

  5. I am in agreement with you Karen. Trump and his administration does not represent me. Now about those ribs, I love it when you cook with alcohol!

    1. No, they don't represent me, and yet he represents our country globally and it's become an embarrassment.


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