On this July 4th, I want to reclaim patriotism. Patriotism has lost its meaning — the meaning that went with what it meant to be a Patriot in 1776. It is time that we re-claim that meaning, that experience, that understanding, that connotation. We must embody the true meaning of patriotism once again in this country!
Thor Films: Heimdall's example
Heimdall illustrates true patriotism in Thor movies.
Heimdall is a beautiful example of patriotism. He is the keeper of the Bifrost with the gift of sight, meaning he can see all inhabitants of the nine realms as well as prophesies that may come to be.
Heimdall is committed to following the rule of his King. However, when he recognizes danger to the people of Asgard, he moves in the grey area of dissent. Dissent in the only way he can, but dissent nonetheless. For him, first and foremost is the safety of the people of Asgard, even when it is in direct opposition to the orders of his king.
In the first Thor film, Heimdall calls Lady Sith and the warriors three to him for plotting against the King — Loki at that time. He questions the warriors about their plan to go Midgard (Earth), find Thor and bring him back to save Odin (the true King and Thor’s father) and Asgard. Then, once they admit to this plan he says, “Good.” Then he sticks the sword that runs the bifrost into action, walks away stating that he can not do anything that will be against the order of his King. And yet, he has truly participated in this dissent.
Thor: Dark World
In the second movie, Thor has inadvertently brought evil to Asgard (by bringing his love Jane who is possessed) that has brought about the death of his mother, Odin’s wife. Odin, blinded by grief and anger, seeks vengeance against the dark elves who have murdered his wife. This plan places all the people of Asgard in tremendous danger. Thor disagrees and is aware of his father’s blinding grief. He must get Jane off world. He asks for Heimdall’s help. Heimdall is very clear that he can not go against the order of his king. Yet, once again, he steps into that grey area of dissent and helps Thor with his plan. Heimdall calls Odin to him at the bifrost to report treason, his own. Because of this act of dissent, Thor is able to protect Asgard and get Jane off world.
In Ragnarok, Heimdall has entered into outright treason, dissent and protest. He steals the sword so that the Bifrost can not be used. He uses that sword to fight Hella’s (goddess of death) army. He works tirelessly to save the people of Asgard, helping Thor (on a different planet) find a way back to Asgard.
Dissent is patriotic!
Colonists in Boston who dumped an entire ship full of tea into the Boston Harbor claiming, “No taxation without proper representation.” (Boston Tea Party)
Colonists who risked their lives drafting and signing the Declaration of Independence, claiming themselves Patriots.
Woman’s Suffragette Movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr. who led a march from Birmingham to Selma demanding justice and equality for all.
Drag queens of Stonewall.
Native Americans of Standing Rock, praying their dissent as they sought to protect our drinking water.
High schoolers from Parkland, FL who called for an end to gun violence, for stronger gun laws; who participated in die-ins, marches, and more to create change.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s brilliant dissent to the Supreme Court’s Travel Ban Decision.
On this July 4th...Our country began with non-violent peaceful dissent — dissent that called out the injustices they were experiencing. Throughout our history, dissent has been, in my opinion, the most powerful expression of true patriotism. It holds us accountable as a people, calling us back to integrity and justice for all.
This July 4th, I celebrate the patriotic acts of true, non-violent dissent that make us a better people. I thank all who have through dissent, created change, transformation, and justice. I will continue to join in the patriotic act of dissent until all people are free and experience justice!
May God’s wisdom guide us this day and everyday toward a more just society.