As we know, there now exists a mindset among political partisans that considers their adversaries to be unpatriotic. Therefore, I would like to explore the question of what patriotism is, what it is not, and who has the right to claim that mantle. Most will agree that any definition of patriotism would include a love and devotion to ones country, and by that definition, it should not be political at all. In theory, people with different values and philosophies, even vast differences can all be seen as loving their country, as being patriots. However, I think that we can also agree that if one political party or faction was harming the country , either deliberately or through a misguided agenda , that would be decidedly unpatriotic. Now we find ourselves in a political environment that has gone from constructive disagreement to one in which each side is convinced that the other is in fact, literarily destroying America . The reality is that there is in fact much going on today that can harm the nation to the point of destruction. I submit to you that the party that is unpatriotic is the one that :
Engages in the systematic obstruction of the quest for positive change in our country in areas such as employment, reduction in poverty, education and science, while pretending that the only problems that we have as a nation are too much taxing and spending, while ignoring most everything else.
Manufactures fiscal crisis and hold the country hostage to protect the wealth at the expense of the other 99% of the people and whos intransigence caused the countrys credit rating to be downgraded.
Derides social programs as socialism and deliberately and disingenuously confuses it with Marxism and Fascism, while pretending that anyone can get by in todays America if only they would try harder, which amounts to turning our back on the most vulnerable members of society ,which weakens the nation as a moral beacon and a sustainable society.
Spins news stories, or outright lies, for political gain and putting politics and ideology before the good of the country.
Spreads conspiracy theories about such things as impending martial law and the staging of a tragic massacre , or stirs up fears about the UN as an excuse for blocking treaties that protect women, disabled people and the environment that should not even be political.
Denies that the religious freedom, enshrined in the constitution that they claim to love, applies equally to people of all faiths, or no faith at all, which is in no way in keeping with the vision of the founders and undermines the underlying principals of our nation.
In addition, it is not patriotic :
To seek to adopt an interpretation of the constitution that would result in such limited federal powers as to revert the role of government to the era of the Federalist Papers-creating a loose federation of states, while toying with secession. In that America, states would be free to flout the equal protection mandate of the constitution, the bill of rights, the voting rights act and the civil rights act-and some surely would.
To Promote or at least do nothing to counter, sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia which makes us look like the ideologically and theocratically driven third world oligarchies that we should be rising above . And, advocating a foreign policy based on fear, domination, arrogance and jingoism does not make one a patriot either.
To seek to regulate women,s bodies, and pass constitutional amendments restricting peoples right to marry who they wish, but not regulate the corporations that pollutes the air and water , avoid taxes and exploit workers
To disrespect the president and first lady with absurd charges and derogatory words. Quite the contrary, they are dangerous, and subversive because all of these things weaken America economically and morally, undermine national security, and bring scorn and ridicule upon the country.
Let me close by saying that I am well aware of the fact that various dictionaries will also define a Patriot, in part, as a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government. In other words liberty vs. tyranny, words frequently heard in todays political discourse. And, this has been used against me by small government zealots as proof that I, who believes in government that can and should work to better the lives and to protect all of its people cant be a patriot. But what is liberty, and what is tyranny? Some appear to think of liberty as having license to exploit others without government oversight; the freedom to discriminate, to engage in hateful acts and speech, and to carry assault weapons. Some do not recognize that there are limits to freedom as well as responsibilities that go with it. Those who think that way are not even part of civilized society. Rather, they are in fact a threat to the liberty of others by virtue of their extreme interpretation of the word liberty, their own liberty that is . Those same people will cry tyranny at anything that the government does to rein in those individual liberties for the greater good, showing an colossal ignorance and lack of appreciation of the enormous freedoms that we do enjoy. And that my friends is not patriotic. Therefore, today I declare that progressives are the true patriots because of, and not in spite of, the fact that we have a vision of this country being truly great in all ways for all of our people. Im a patriot because I want America to be respected in the world as a leader in science, diplomacy, education, environmental protection and the evolving standards of human decency. Patriotism is progress. Progress is patriotism.
We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
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