For them, the military IS America. War is America. The president is America. The NSA is America. Every politician that they love and worship is America. And, if you don't like it, you obviously hate America. You must be some kind of terrorist, or communist; and you'd rather be living in some foreign dictatorship.
I occasionally get emails from people who tell me that I hate America. They tell me that I'm destroying our country, and that the world would be better off if I would just go live in some Communist nation.
These people equate love of America with allegiance to the government, and patriotism with loyalty to their favorite politicians. Sometimes people tell me that they wish I would be thrown out of the country, tried for treason, or even executed.
Here's a common example (spelling and all):
your a traitor and should be executed just like your friend sadaam
The words differ from email to email, but the overall theme stays the same. Why do you hate America and the American people? Why do you love "the terrorists?"
The most common, though, is what I call the "get out" email; if you don't like it, you should just leave.
To me, this type of position is one of weakness. Don't stand up for what you believe in. When you don't like things, don't try to change them. Instead of speaking out, run away.
Like this note from "Tom":
Why don't you go to some other country and live? You obviously don't appreciate what you have here.
Or this short and sweet email from "FREE MAN"
MOVE TO CUBA
I often wonder if people like Tom or the free man would run away if they opposed the government's foreign policy, or would they obediently fall in line the way they want other people to do. America: Love it or leave it; that's what this type of person says.
Does this mean that anyone who rises in opposition to any American war is a traitor and hates freedom? Or, is it just this war, or the last war, or the next one, or the one after that? Is everyone who doesn't like this massive government a communist? Is it impossible for a person to love America and dissent at the same time?
Or, are we supposed to accept that every single person under every single government ever to exist - including the victims of murderers like Stalin, Mussolini, Nero or Napoleon - hated their country because they hated the government that oppressed them?
Unfortunately, some people identify with the methods of these dictators. Take this love letter I received from "Kenneth":
Your web site SUCKS .You are all traders and if this was 1952, You would all be shot.Get real you pieces of shit.
To these people, being patriotic is nothing more than showing obedience to those in power. Did Ken think the same way when other presidents were in office?
As far as these government-lovers are concerned, to oppose the U.S. war machine is to hate America. To stand up against politicians who press for more wars is traitorous. But, on the other hand, to be a cheerleader for all the killing and torture is being a good, patriotic American. They think that freedom is a nice idea, but government security is much more important.
For them, the military is America. War is America. The president is America. The NSA is America. Every politician that they love and worship is America. And, if you don't like it, you obviously hate America. You must be some kind of terrorist, or communist, or whatever term they decide to label you with; and you'd rather be living in some foreign dictatorship.
It's important to note, though, that most discussions on patriotism neglect the most important issue - what it really means to love America.
You see, I love America. I love the liberty that still does exist here. I refuse to live in a socialist dictatorship like Cuba. But what is it that makes America great? Is it its two-trillion dollar government? Is it its role as world Superpower or its self-proclaimed status as spreader of democracy? Absolutely not.
I love liberty.
I love the Bill of Rights.
I love the freedom of speech and strictly limited government.
I love personal privacy and religious freedom.
I love habeas corpus and the jury trial.
These are just a few of the things that make America special; one-of-a-kind in the history of the world. It is liberty that is a direct cause of much of the prosperity this country has had. It is liberty that has driven millions and millions of people around the world to give up everything to come here.
Unfortunately, too many people in this country appear to have very little love for that America. They make is quite clear that they're willing to abandon these ideals of liberty
Arturo from Florida is one of those people:
dear idiot, sorry,mr idiot,
here's a little background info; i've been in the car business for 9 years; the middle eastern's are liars, cheats, and skates. They will steal from you every chance they get;unfortunately, are gov't doesn't get it and doesn't know history; yes, we had the the right to invade iraq. now we need to pull out; why? b/c we do not know who we are dealing with and we don't have the balls to slit their throats, b/c we are a civilized and the liberal media; you have to kill all these people like they would kill you
Sadly, these people are weak and afraid. They want the military - someone else - to go out and kill whoever they're afraid of. These bloodthirsty warmongers may claim that they're patriotic, but they're willing to throw away everything that's good about America.
They're willing to give up our beloved liberties. They're content to give the government the power to do whatever it wants. They assume, with complete naïveté, that doing so will never affect them. They berate free speech with the hope that they can shut up people who oppose war.
Take Kathie, for example:
Well, why don't you just go live in Iraq then?
Oh...right....you most likely wouldn't have the freedom over there to spout your nonsense about their government without repercussions. You mock the very government that gives you the right to mouth off.
These people believe that freedom of speech is only good when it's used in support of the government. But, what's the point of free speech at all if we aren't supposed to be using it to oppose what we see as wrong? Without dissent there can be no freedom!
Even Napoleon recognized this:
"I fear three newspapers more than a hundred thousand bayonets."
Our own President Eisenhower was quite clear in his opposition to people like Kathie:
"May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."
People like Tom, Ken, Arturo and Kathie, whether out of fear or weakness, are willing to abandon the Bill of Rights and turn this country into a police state. They're willing to let innocent Americans die by supporting our government's bombing of innocent foreigners - and almost guaranteeing that there will be more terrorist attacks against us in the future.
I'll say it again. I love America. And - I'm not leaving.
For many years, the federal government has done some terrible things. I strongly oppose their supporters too; but I'll never insist that they leave the country.
The U.S. government seems to be preparing to invade the entire world, beginning with countries like Iran and Syria. If it succeeds in doing so, it will kill hundreds of thousands more people on top of the millions it has killed in just the last sixty years alone.
I vehemently oppose this, not because I hate this country. I oppose this because I love America, I love peace, I love my fellow man, and I love liberty.
What will make this country truly great is not what the government will do, but what it won't do. This country will be great when it stops taxing us into oblivion, and no longer wages aggressive wars. This country will be great when it never again takes people's property without due process, spies on people, or tortures people. This country will be great when it no longer interferes with personal choice and peaceful behavior, and when it no longer interferes with free speech.
This country will finally achieve true greatness when it respects life and liberty.
Love of, and hope for liberty, is what made America great. I fear that hope is dying, but I still believe that We the People can someday break this system of power and create a truly free society.
The fact that I receive far more supportive emails than the negative examples above gives me hope. I'll leave you with this inspiring note from Peter in Australia:
Truth may not be forceful - it relies for its efficacy on a willing and free acceptance, but it can heal. It can even repair a broken world. Like sanity, truth is grounded in the soil of the real world, as we ourselves can be thought of as being derived from the soil of the real world. Truth poses no threat to anyone save those who rely on untruth as the cornerstone of their foundations. It is time to speak the truth- irrespective of who is listening or even has the ears to hear.
It is time to speak the truth, and clearly, I'm not alone.
Michael Boldin [send him email], is a gun-toting, thirty-something technology-inclined city-dweller, who is an avid hiker of the San Gabriel Mountains, and is prone to life in the wilderness. Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by a politically active family, he developed a distaste for big government early on. Michael is a senior editor and contributing writer for http://www.populistamerica.com and welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
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