What, or who, is a patriot?
The dictionary definition is: a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
Most of us believe that we are patriots. Whether it is the country of our birth, or the country we have adopted, we normally owe our allegiance to it. Would we support and defend it? Of course. Would we look after its interests with devotion? Absolutely. Would we blindly follow all laws and regulations, even if they went against our moral fibre? Ah.
Trump claimed in his inaugural speech today, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice”.
Respectfully, Mr President, I must disagree. The heart can house a great many things, and patriotism and prejudice seem to make very fine bed fellows. Your own campaign proved that magnificently. In fact, the brand of patriotism that you are selling is of a very prejudiced variety. Anyone who does not fit the mould of a Bible thumping, misogynistic, homophobic believer is ‘the other’, and therefore cannot possibly participate in the Make America Great Again project, and consequently cannot be a ‘Patriot’.
If all brown, black and white people bleed the same red blood, why are you in such a hurry to deport a load of them back, and build a wall? Why is immigrant a dirty word? Why are you claiming to speak for the common people, while surrounding yourself with your billionaire cronies?
The next four years will ask a lot of questions of you. The next four years will also display whether in your book, being a patriot means shutting up and putting up, or whether you will see questioning, doubting, investigating and inquiring as a part of being patriotic too.
Most Americans I know love their country. They wait on the threshold of this new era, with bated breath. They hope that all your rhetoric and jingoism was merely a means to get into office. They hope that you will lead this nation forward and in doing so, not destroy the tenets it was built upon. Those of the rule of law, human dignity, personal freedom, civil liberties, and the cause of the common good.
Respectfully, Mr President, do not disappoint them.