The True Patriot

by Christine Smith

Those who truly care about the republic we once enjoyed, those who are seriously concerned about the erosion of our civil liberties, those who express rejection of American foreign policy...are now often referred to in the most hostile of terms. A resurgence in the irrational and hypocritical "my country right or wrong" and the "love it or leave it" mentality is experiencing newfound popularity.

To me, this portends an unrest among those who feel threatened by those who challenge their agenda. It also indicates that the powers that be (primarily the major US corporations who benefit from a war time economy and their paid-for politicians at every level of government) have done an excellent job of instilling fear into many of the American people. Their success is illustrated by the percentage of Americans who, fearful of future terrorist attacks upon American soil, are willing to so blindly allow their fundamental liberties to be taken away all in the name of protecting the "homeland." Further, the same, believe they are being patriotic in maintaining a stance of support for their country.

Yes, they abhor the tragedy of 9-11; yes, they are legitimately concerned regarding security in our nation; yes, they want those responsible brought to justice...but what many fail to understand, due to the indoctrination they constantly receive from most news sources, is that all of that is possible to accomplish, yea--it is only possible--without their giving up their fundamental rights and likewise without America's invasion of Iraq (or the other countries the US has its eye on).

If you value integrity, and if you love our nation as I do, then you must not be afraid to consider information which contradicts what you have been told by our government. Unfortunately, the republic we are built upon, on which we, the people, predicate our support for our country upon, is no longer. It has been subtly circumvented into an oligarchy. True patriots, regardless of where they stand on the issues, love truth. Truth must be your highest priority. A love of truth requires an in-depth research and consideration of the decisions being made, in our name and supposedly on our behalf, by our rulers.

I find it interesting the number of people who proclaim their support for Bush and who view those of us who dissent from his invasion of Iraq and his affront on our civil liberties as being "un-American." In reality, anyone who would label another American citizen as being "un-American" solely because of their political position and disagreement with the man who is now holds the office of President, is hypocritically contradicting themselves. To be "American" is to practice our free speech in the public forum no matter how popular or unpopular one's position may be. To be a patriot is to love our country and support our does not mean support for a president's actions...on the contrary, a patriot looks to the U.S. Constitution and upholds the principles on which this republic was founded.

Few seem to adhere to or comprehend Theodore Roosevelt's position: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile...but is morally treasonable to the American people."

The word "patriot" is a good word...though often mis-used and misunderstood. It does not automatically refer to those who have served in our military forces, nor does it automatically describe those who praise our government's international policies nor those who outspokenly proclaim pride in the American way of life, neither is a definition of those who agree (or disagree) or support/do not support a particular candidate or office holder--including that of the presidency. No.

A patriot cares for the well-being of his country. A patriot courageously opposes those who seek to undermine the guiding principles on which America has thrived. Ironically, those patriots who have been warning us for years of the ever increasing loss of the republic, are the ones now being labeled as "unpatriotic"...and even being accused of siding with the "enemy." True patriots remain committed to the truth, and will criticize the president when the actions of the president contradict the founding principles of our nation. Standing for our country, not any particular politician, is the work of a patriot.

What is unpatriotic is to practice the lie in furtherance of an agenda. What is unpatriotic is to blindly proclaim your pride in America while sufficing to remain ignorant of the facts. And, even if one agrees with a president's policy, is it most certainly not the work of a patriot to proclaim dissent as "un-American." The hypocrisy.

The America I love and for whom our sons and daughters have sacrificed for is being threatened by a most dangerous enemy. Not the terrorist. But the enemy within: Those governed by greed and power...and by those Americans who prefer to live their daily lives in blind bliss until the day comes when suddenly they realize the America they once lived in is no longer, but has become a facade of the America we cherished and once was. While many Americans wave their flag and speak their hateful opposition of dissenters of current policy, the America they think they have continues to erode by their own hands.

It is my hope, and the hope of millions, that America can survive the tyrannical Bush and his gang...but I firmly believe our only hope lies in the true patriots--those who value the constitution and Bill of Rights--to boldly and courageously speak the truth, expose corruption, and work for our country's true best interest.

Will our constitution withstand and continue to be our guiding force? Benjamin Franklin stated, "This constitution will fail, as others have before it, and that will be due to the corruption of the people, for whom in the end only despotism will serve."

Franklin was aware of the apathy of the people, and our Constitution with all its good, was merely the best document our nation's founders could develop amongst compromise, discussion, and shared values...intrinsically, it laid the groundwork for the citizens it was written to protect to ironically become those who would destroy it. Yet this could not happen if the American people were truly patriotic--not just apathetic people content to exist in their relative comfort--without regards to the world and its injustice, corruption, and power grabs--taking place all around them.

America was meant to be a republic, not an empire.

True patriots examine the basis of our republic, and stand for it--not a president, not a policy, and they do not allow fear to do their choosing between right and wrong.

Be a patriot.

Christine Smith is a freelance writer, actress, and social justice activist. You may visit her website