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LETTERS / The Changing of the Meaning of “Patriot”

Dear Editor,

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” Mark Twain

“Patriots” in 1776 weren’t conservative and wouldn’t be considered patriotic today. They were radicals overthrowing established order. They wanted representative, secular government whose power came from the people. They were isolationists who opposed a permanent army.

Today’s “patriots” are different fish. They favor selective overthrow of established order, keeping certain favorite blessings, while denying some to others. The elite consider them idiots and thrive on their political incoherence, knowing they can rely on most “patriots” to swallow the propaganda fed them in all the usual “feedlots”.

Some “patriots” see the original secular regime as a godless tyranny. This variety believe the founders, despite their clearly stated goals and hatred of European theocracies, intended America to be officially Christian, require schoolchildren to pray to Jesus on their knees, in front of the Flag, before football games, and renounce recent scientific discoveries, except maybe,  penicillin, Rogaine and Viagra.

Today’s “patriot” worships military force, opposing suggestions that the world’s biggest military/industrial complex is a bottomless money pit threatening the “democracy” it allegedly defends. Modern “patriots” worship death at a distance. They cheer when our godly army intrudes anywhere but ignore the dead and dismembered it produces, except ours. Their patriotism consists of hiring “heroes” to do the dying, with giant corporations to manage the carnage.

The modern “patriot” although still racist, has forgotten slavery. He gambles at casinos run by the survivors of a thousand massacres. He willingly lets girls vote, but denies them full control over their bodies believing in the sanctity of life until birth.

A “patriot” believes in freedom, except when it goes too far, and he knows what “too far” means even if he can’t explain it. He certainly believes workers who unite to fight for better wages and a safer workplace go “too far” and risk the God-given freedom of other workers willing to work for less than a living wage without safety, security, dignity or the right to pee.
Our “patriots” believe businessmen have “rights,” specified by our Founders and those corporate rights trump individual rights. The modern “patriot” honors the corporation as he worships his Lord. He consumes products from factories sent to other countries without regard to consequences. He supports American capitalism, from sea to poisoned sea, our coast-to-coast corporate landfill, where every fetus is saved only to die from Monsanto poisons. He imagines paper money is more valuable than god’s natural creation.

Our Founders would certainly be amazed by American corporations. Would they join us in pledging allegiance to the corporate mission to sustain a flood of wealth into tax shelters, while we scurry to catch what trickles down? Would they join modern “patriots” insulting “activists” who mistrust corporate goodwill, misunderstanding their patriotic strategy of moving old jobs overseas to make way for newer, fewer, but better jobs, for loyal Americans who deserve them?

There are patriotic varieties, left to right, each questionable in the eyes of the other. A patriot used to be someone who stood with all his fellow citizens, ready to defend the equality of every human, with justice for all. Modern “patriots” know the price of everything, paying the security company to keep the riffraff outside the fence, but the value of nothing.

Nationalism/patriotism emotionally connects “mindless consumers” with large, anonymous groups. We’re taught “our government” leads forces dedicated to ideas like Liberty. “Consumers” see government as total Good for which no price is too high, no sacrifice too great. To motivate “consumers” into war, frenzy must be created. Recruits come from a mob that curiously believes it has some say in its political future.

Americans have been unable to remove our parasitic, predatory financial/political Aristocracy with elections. Our “democracy” is a public-relations tool to keep you thinking you “have a voice” when you’re really debt-slaves in a neo-feudal State.

“Our government” was created to serve one primary purpose: The defense of individual liberty. What happens when government becomes what it was created to defend us from? A few whistleblowers including Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning demonstrated honor and ethics don’t disappear with a government paycheck. Honest people know whistleblowing isn’t “treason”, but a duty.

Is it “treason” to tell Americans the truth, or is it just harmful to the “governing” gang? Is survival of the establishment tangled with our survival, or is that only what we’re trained to think? Do you believe that your favorite politician is the only honest one? Loyalty to the system must depend on its actions.

“Our leadership” has joined with private interests and deserted their responsibilities, to reinforce their control, rather than protect the common good. This kind of action regularly grows into totalitarian monstrosities. We’re told patriots support American policies right or wrong and liberties are weakened for our own good. Objecting to official rape, robbery and murder can be unpatriotic, be “radical”, be off-putting, the Gestapo will visit and the rest of the Germans will be offended.

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”.  H.L. Mencken


 Craig Dudley