anti-american or patriotic?
[click for bigger image; photo from dc indymedia]But we aren't supposed to call them anti-Americans. They are just patriotic protesters. You know, part of patriotism is expressing your ideas, trying to challenge the status-quo. That's what they tell me anyhow. And that's all well and good. Dissent is healthy. Debate is healthy. Even protests can be a great form of getting a collective voice heard. And we all have the right to hate the president, challenge his ideology or scream at the top of our lungs that his policies are unfair. But don't stand there and tell me that I'm wrong for calling these people anti-American. When you burn the flag, that automatically puts you in the position of being against the country. It is an act of defiance, an act of hatred. When one burns an effigy of a person, they are, in essence, burning that person. So when one burns a symbol it would have to be assumed that you are burning what that symbols represents. Oh, I'm not saying that the flag-burners don't have a right to their views. I'm not even saying that they are bad people for burning the flag. I just want them to be honest, and I want the people who defend them to be honest. They are anti-Americans. Most of them will admit it, and admit it proudly. It's the people who yell at me when I write about these things and say I'm stifling dissent by calling the protesters unpatriotic. You can hate the president without hating the country. I've done it, I do it sometimes still.
Patriotism is not the issue. Who can define patriotism anyhow? It's a very vague word, one that means different things to different people. To one person, patriotism is saluting the flag and singing the National Anthem. To another, it's loving your country enough to try to change what's wrong with it.
It's not patriotism I have a problem with. It's hatred and vitriol and anger that rises to rage. Yes, it comes from both sides and both sides fling it at each other on a daily basis. That's another issue for another day, however. I just want one of the people who accuse me of trying to crush opposition and dissent to say that yes, the people in the picture above, and thousands upon thousands like them, are anti-American.
What I'd like to say to those flag-burners is this: If you hate this country so much, you have two choices. Either go find somewhere else to live, or try to make a change. And I don't mean puppetry and protests and slogan shouting. Change from within. Run for office. Start locally, think nationally. Screaming at the top of your lungs day after day is not going to accomplish anything. You hate this country? Change it, help someone else change it, or leave it. Being a weekend protester is just not going to get the job done.