Thursday, November 15, 2012
I AM A PATRIOT
I am a patriot. I love the United States. I would get goosebumps when the national anthem played before my high school football games. I have an American flag with the name of every person who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack, I have a Gadsden flag hanging proudly next to my bed. I dressed in a full-body blue spandex suit and wore an American flag as a cape for Halloween. I am a patriot. Every time I walk into Suffolk University Law School, I look up at a massive American flag which hangs in the atrium and am filled with pride.
I do not say these things in an attempt to say "I am more of a patriot than you," or to imply that there is something wrong or un-American about not having six American flags at your house. I get frustrated when ad-hominim attacks are made on people saying they are not patriots, it is often a tool used by people to diminish other people's arguments without actually addressing the argument.
I say these things to you to say that I am a patriot even though I do not support President Obama, I am a patriot even though I do not support the wars, the bombing of Yemen, Libya, or Pakistan, I do not support the our government killing American citizens or torturing Bradley Manning. The United States flag does not represent blind nationalism to me, although that seems to be the typical view it invokes.
WHAT IS PATRIOTISM?
PATRIOTISM is defined as "love for or devotion to one's country." What is our country? Our country is not President Obama and was not President Bush. Our country is not our elected representatives. Our country is not the physical land upon which we all live. Our country is not government. Our country is "we the people." Our country is the Constitution. The Constitution which ended monarchy and oppression, and gave the people the right to rule themselves instead of be ruled. Patriotism is devotion to "we the people" under the Constitution.
The highest form of patriotism is dissent. The government is not "we the people." Patriotism is is not allowing your rights to be violated, patriotism is voting, patriotism is speaking the truth when the truth is ignored and criticized.
A professor at my law school sent out an email to the University and student body opposing donations to the troops. It was a large public relations mess and made national news. People lambasted the letter for being unpatriotic. Also, in the letter the Professor mentioned his views on displays of nationalism and patriotism.
"We need to be more mindful of what message we are sending as a school. Since Sept. 11 we have had perhaps the largest flag in New England hanging in our atrium. This is not a politically neutral act. Excessive patriotic zeal is a hallmark of national security states. It permits, indeed encourages, excesses in the name of national security, as we saw during the Bush administration, and which continue during the Obama administration. Why do we continue to have this oversized flag in our lobby?" Source
The Professor's opposition to a national security state is patriotic. He also cited nationalism as being dangerous. Indeed, a blind support for the "nation," i.e. the government, no matter what actions the nation takes, is not patriotic. It is dangerous. It is how "we the people" become ruled by the nation, not the other way around. Do not let this view of patriotism, this "patriotic zeal," be what patriotism is defined as. You do not have to agree with someone for them to be a patriot. A patriot is not an ally, a patriot is not someone whose views align with the majority or align with your views or mine. A patriot fights for "we the people."
DISPLAYS OF PATRIOTISM
Congressman Ron Paul is a patriot. A patriot who has dedicated 26 years of his life to make this Country freer and more prosperous. Congressman Ron Paul exhibited brave patriotism when he spoke of peace and non-interventionism in the Republican primary debates for the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. He was booed by the crowd and attacked by the other nominees for speaking the truth. (go to 1:40)
Senator Sanders, the independent (socialist) senator of Vermont is a patriot. He fights for the people. His 9-hour filibuster speech on the Senate floor was patriotic.
"So the first point I would make is that it seems to me to be unconscionable--unconscionable--for my conservative friends and for everybody else in this country to be driving up this already too high national debt by giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don't need it, and in a number of cases they don't even want it." Transcript found here.
I believe every Occupier who takes time out of their lives to fight corporatism and crony politicians is a patriot. They fight for "we the people."
Those joining together under the Tea Party movement are patriots. They are fighting for all our civil liberties, thy are fighting against the over-expansion of the government ruling over "we the people."
This man videotaping police officers pulling people over without any probable cause to believe they are doing anything illegal is a patriot. (at 4:10 the police bring in DA's to tell him to stop filming and the person shows them up)
PATRIOTISM AND REVOLUTION
Patriots are the final check on government, the check to ensure the government does not stray too far from the Constitution. Patriots are those who embody the second paragraph of the declaration of Independence, who fight for our rights and from time to time, when it becomes necessary, revolt. Patriotism is dissent, not blind support for the military, not a word for FOX News to employ to discredit opposing viewpoints.