Home Dissent On July 4, we must remember that true patriots are rebels, not boot licks.

On July 4, we must remember that true patriots are rebels, not boot licks.

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They promote what they claim a certain patriot and what not in italian terms Il Duce he would have loved, equating aggressive nationalism with patriotism, dissent with treason, love of the country with love of leaders. This backwards is a hallmark of correct thinking. They don’t just challenge progressives’ love for the country, but rather demand our adherence to Big Brother’s brand of patriotism, complete with improved versions of the Two minutes of hate.

His disdain is directed at citizens who deeply love their country, but who dare to acknowledge that, historically and now, it is a combination of the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly. That is, those of us who refuse to reiterate the latest version of my-country-right-or-wrong. Those who condemned that patriotism patriotism, exclusive, authoritarian, and white supremacist is in large part what helped make America “great” in the worst sense of the word. Who believe that dissent is primordial patriotic behavior. Those who object to the idolatrous mixture of militaristic nationalism with patriotism.

I can hear the whistles of those who, in the words of George Washington, practice the “sham of feigned patriotism” and try at every opportunity to stifle dissent and fill the silence with propaganda. And even when patriotic critics deal with it by kneeling in silent protest, they are told to shut up, stand up, and salute. And apologize to your “best” for your arrogance. So do so-called patriots as they have throughout American history: they mistake dissent for disrespect, critics for renegades, patriotism for obedience.

Fortunately, 15 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights was adopted and, in its First Amendment, freedom of speech and of the press were enshrined. Allowing us all, until now, usually, to say what we want in a disrespectful voice if we want to. That amendment is one of the reasons why I love my country and am a patriot.

I admit it can sometimes be difficult for someone whose Seminole ancestors were killed in three wars by soldiers flying the stars and stripes, with atonement and apologies yet to be made, especially when modern American Indians remain mostly invisible, except as stereotypes and remnants of a romanticized and whitewashed past. However, I call myself a patriot because patriots are rebels. Namely not a scream for pulling out the guillotine. It stems from the optimism that patriots can and must remake America, just as in the past dissidents who rejected slavery, the second-class status of women, the powerlessness of workers, gender rigidity, have repeatedly done it. the reign of racism. Needless to say, much remains to be accomplished. Especially when the man kicked out of the Oval Office just five months ago declared that there were good people among the neo-Nazi protesters and snuggled up so much with dictators that he should have had to use a body camera without a kill switch when traveling abroad.

Nothing, of course, offends the rightists more, seems more disrespectful and disloyal, than when we dissidents, our criticisms barely escape our lips, we proclaim ourselves patriots. They become apoplectic when we say that it is not patriotism that we disrespect, but rather the suitors who have fetishized it, twisted and commodified it.

These idolaters love idea dissent, the iconography of it, but they make fun of its reality. For them, patriots must be bootlickers. In extreme cases, jackbootlickers. Proof, as if more were needed, that even the word “patriot” must be recovered from those who have kidnapped her. They are no different than the mayor of Jersey City, Frank Hague, who in January 1938 saying:

”We hear about constitutional rights, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Every time I hear these words, I say to myself: ‘That man is red, that man is a communist.’ You never hear real American talk like that. “

Chinese and Russian capitalism have cost the “red” charge their punch, but even in our current era, the “true American” deception still carries weight.

Thirteen years ago, a senator and presidential candidate named Barack Obama gave a speech in Independence, Missouri, in which he said:

Now, we can expect our leaders and our government to stand up for our ideals, to stand up for what is right, and there are many times in our history that this has happened. But when our laws, when our leaders or our government are not aligned with those ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans can become one of the truest expressions of patriotism.

Young white nationalists at the February 2018 rally in Seattle.

If you hear echoes of the Declaration along those lines, you are not alone. Music to the ears of those of us for whom she and the Constitution are the flawed but hopeful beginning, not the end, of American ideals.

Seventy-odd years ago, George Orwell taught us how words are transformed to mislead the public into accepting interpretations that are often the opposite of their real meanings. On “Notes on Nationalism, “Written in May 1945, it said that patriotism is” devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes is the best in the world but does not wish to impose on other people. ” Nationalism, however, is something else, he said, focusing on the so-called patriots of then and of our own time:

All nationalists have the power to see no similarities between similar sets of facts. … Actions are considered good or bad, not on their own merits, but depending on who does them, and there is almost no outrage of any kind: torture, use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial. , the falsification, the murder, the bombardment of civilians, which does not change its moral color when it is committed by “our” side. … The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but has a remarkable ability not even to hear about them. … In nationalist thought there are true and false facts, known and unknown. A known fact can be so excruciating that it is usually put aside and not allowed to enter logical processes, or on the other hand it can enter all calculations and yet never be admitted as a fact, not even in one’s own mind.

A patriot will defend what he loves without hatred or any notion of superiority. But nationalism requires the belief that others are inferior, which makes it aggressive by nature, an enemy of peace, and therefore an enemy of patriotism. Nationalism frames everything in terms of “us versus them.” American nationalism pretending to be patriotism has led to imperialist wars, the slaughter of indigenous peoples, the repeated suppression of dissent. In times of global tension, nationalism disguised as patriotism destroys people’s ability to assess the reality of threats, as well as to object if they find them rare.

Embracing the unconditional support that nationalists ask of us could never be an expression of love for our country, the central definition of patriotism. In fact, it would be extremely United Nationspatriotic to do it. For who recklessly allows harm against what he loves?

Fighting for a better country is what patriotic dissidents have done since America’s inception. Against them and their high principles in all cases were the so-called patriots, those for whom dissent was anathema, who viewed attempts to expand the nation’s democracy to the poor, women, and people of color as rape. of the law. its rights, which they described the opposition to expansionism and the imperialist war as total treason.

Despite suitors who engaged in open aggression against abolitionists, suffragettes, unionists, civil rights workers, and others, these dissidents improved America. They Redo America. In our time, many are hailed as icons. But in their own time, they were vilified, assaulted and, not infrequently, murdered for their audacity, for their belief that the ideals of the Declaration were not pretend. We owe them. And we honor them best by imitating them.

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