BY DON NELSON
Here a Patriot,
There a Patriot,
Everywhere a Patriotic Patriot.
What the hell is a Patriot?
There was a time when the term was used to describe a quality of loyalty – not to exclude a willingness to give one’s life in the service and defense of the Constitution and those fellow citizens for whom it serves as freedom’s guaranty.
Patriots were those citizens deemed worthy of the title by their contemporaries, not by political pundits and talking heads.
Once a term of highest regard and honor – “Patriot” has become a term used to divide us.
Those on the right extreme have appropriated the term to identify a particular sort of disgruntled anti-government individual who loudly demonstrates his or her lack of faith in and support of “big government.” This individual is frequently seen parading proudly with placards full of vitriol toward the evil, freedom taking, liberty steeling, big bad liberals in the government.
The three-pointed cap and the suspendered trousers show up as costume apparel apparently intended to invoke some sort of historic context. Great stuff for theater but hardly worthy of a Patriot’s title.
A true Patriot is one who seeks to build up not tear down. A true Patriot seeks to create a better situation from the present.
There is a popular misconception that the true patriot is one who plans revolutions, a person who dislikes living in a society governed by law so intensely that the destruction of all vestiges of functioning government becomes an obsession.
In every other country such an individual is not considered patriotic but criminal. Some would say terrorist.
What we have witnessed over the past 50 or so years is the redefining of heritage. It has become acceptable to speak of forceful change, of deception in office, of out-right lies in political discourse and nontransparent transparency.
Neither political party is exempt – but one stands out as the least credible and most corrupt.
The party that most frequently laments the loss of liberty is the very party that would create the need for civil control. The party which decries big government the loudest is the very party that seeks to create a mega structure ruled by the Corporate Elite.
The party of freedom and liberty is the very party that seeks to deny freedom of choice to women and the constitutional right to vote to minorities and the elderly.
And yet they self-identify as the patriot’s patriot.
What it comes down to is the appropriation of a single word by multiple groups who define the meaning and intent of that single word so that it fits their unique purposes.
In other words, the term has become meaningless in any meaningful sort of discourse.
– Don Nelson lives in Lawton, OK and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer