What does it mean to be a patriot?

Many people claim to love America while hating the vast majority of people in it.  They threaten to commit violence against our government if they don’t get their way.  They moan about how immigrants and minorities are ruining our country and how, when whites become the minority, we will no longer be America.  And they think that these positions make them patriots.

That’s not patriotic.  That’s the opposite of what America is all about.  Remember “all men are created equal”?  Sam_Patriotic_Eagle_American_Flag-02md

Patriotism doesn’t mean loving your country unconditionally.  It’s not “love it or leave it” it’s “love it or make it something you love.”  It means working to change it when you disagree with it.

Part of the problem we have these days is that there are many people who hate government.  They love America and hate government.  They have poisoned the minds of many people into thinking that the government is the enemy, while forgetting that we are the government.  We, the people.  Those guys in Washington are just there to represent us, and if we actually get out and vote and participate, we can change them.

Often the loudest complainers are the ones who never vote, never write their representatives, and never lift a finger to make things better.  But when it comes to whining about how government doesn’t represent their interests, they’re right in front.

Other complainers are like religious fundamentalists — they are convinced that their interpretation of the (insert one:  Bible / Constitution) is the only one and everyone else is not only wrong but evil.  These people will often use violence to enforce their narrow views in the mistaken belief that they, and only they, are (holy / patriotic).  They, too, are anything but.

Politicians will sometimes point to farmlands and small rural towns as perfect examples of our “heartland” where true patriotic Americans live.  I feel patriotic when I walk down the streets of Manhattan, surrounded by people of all races, religions, and backgrounds, all living together in relative peace and harmony.   Interracial and gay marriages aren’t a sign of the downfall of America — it is the best example of how the American dream is being achieved.  Where all are created equal and treated equally and where we can set the stage for the rest of the world to see how it is possible to live together.

That’s patriotism to me.  Bringing us all together is patriotic.

Those who want to divide us are not supporting America.

Treason is not patriotic

Why does anyone take these traitors seriously?

It’s bad enough when they literally talk about secession when they don’t get their way.    And when they encourage gun owners to break the law if they don’t like it.  Or support right-wing zealots who talk about killing the President as if that were a patriotic thing to do. And then they support a rich rancher who gives the law a middle finger and literally says he does not acknowledge the existence of the United States.  ranchero Quite often, many of these people fly the flag of the traitors who declared war against our country so they could keep humans in slavery, and they’re proud of that fact.   

And then they proclaim, with a straight face, that they love America and are patriots.

Well, no.  No, they don’t and no they aren’t.  People who love America do not declare treason against it.

Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t just about free speech.  They have every right to protest and speak out against government policies they don’t like.  And hey, there’s even a place for peaceful protests and civil disobedience.

This is none of those things.

We need to speak up and tell these people that they do not represent the views of honest, patriotic Americans.  And we need to call out these hypocrites who yelled “traitor” whenever anyone ever said anything bad about George W. Bush.  (Ann Coulter even wrote a book on that topic, yet she remains completely silent about real actual examples done by people she happens to agree with.)

You know this is true:  If people on the left were doing the things mentioned above, the right would be the first to call them traitors.

And this time, they’d be right.

Treason is only patriotic when the right does it

Hey, remember when a majority of Americans voted against George W. Bush yet he became President by, let’s say, “less than ideally democratic” means?  Were there any mainstream liberals calling for an overthrow of the government?  I can’t recall any, and a search finds none.

Yet we are constantly hearing such talk from the right concerning Obama — who won twice by huge margins.  These sore losers are not just some crazed radicals (both parties have those) — these are people who get coverage on legitimate talk shows and on legitimate (albeit right-wing) blogs.

The gun lovers are mostly the ones who make these arguments, as if treason were patriotic, but other un-American right-wingers apparently think not getting their way because they are in the minority is the exact same thing as tyranny.  It must be hard to live in a world when you are this delusional, but there you go.  (Here’s where all the people advocating the overthrow of our democratically elected government get mad that I called them “un-American.”  There’s that delusion I spoke of;  how else can you classify someone who is so against democracy?)

Of course, none of this is too surprising, as some conservatives are still upset about the Civil War and make excuses for the slave-owning Southerners who committed treason.