You may have noticed the increase in people and groups calling themselves patriots. You may have even seen some of them describe others as “traitors”. This patriot disagrees with this sorta stigmatization and targeting of others as I feel it isn’t necessarily based on our constitution or the meaning behind its words, essentially shutting down another freedom of speech because they are in a position to do so. In our own private worlds, there isn’t really anything wrong with that, but in the public forum, is vile and disgusting as they essentially state that another person does not have the same right as you do to express themselves, their opinions, or speak the truth as they see it.
To not like something another says, is completely ok. But with the hyperbolic times that we live in, a difference in opinion and view is more often than not received as some sort of personal attack or afront when in most cases, what is repulsive to that person is more along the lines of the direct observation their own behavior and words being placed on display to their peers.
Most people do not like what they see when forced to look in the mirror. This is a fact. The most well-rounded of us typically can tolerate being wrong or having someone differ in opinions and lifestyles whereas others feel that it is a personal insult to them when their customs and actions are not adopted by their peers.
Like a person who claims publically that they support a cause when really they are simply using that cause as a means to promote themselves. Another form of this is a person who states an opinion as a fact but avoids public discourse and/or discussion about those topics and would rather be passive-aggressive, contact people behind the scenes, and bad-mouthing behind another’s back or attack their support structures peripherally.
The entire “mean girl” persona was amplified. This is further exacerbated by the disconnect of those who only engage over social media. The more detached or removed by someone, the easier it is to dehumanize them as a means of proving our talking points, which in most cases have no depth to them as those people engaged in such behavior often times are too lazy or do not have enough time to actual research and achieve an understanding of the ideals and beliefs they support.
Many times they also invite their friends to join in as most people gauge the strengths of their arguments by how many “likes” they get including having their friends begin with drive-by comments and character assassination attempts which serve no other purpose but to make someone feel bad as a person for speaking up or disagreeing with another. This, in my opinion, is why the degree of nastiness in our social media selves is often the most hurtful as those people, the aggressors, are simply trying to do the most damage with the least amount of energy possible.
Someone didn’t get their way so it’s time to attack them. Someone is called out for not living up to the ideals they espouse or they are demanding treatment better than what they historically afforded others. It can often be spotted very easily but is dependant on your reaction in order to hold water. What I mean by that is speaking directly to how “reactive” people are when confronted with someone like I described above. Instead of engaging in meaningful dialog, it devolves into hate speech and personal attacks which is simply an attempt to lure a person into lowering themselves enough to justify the agreeing person’s attacks. I often tell folks, “there is no need to go into a sewer to fight a rat.
This is why it is important to recognize the bait before you take it, especially when dealing with people who do not really have any justification for their positions and understanding of the topics they are pushing. A good example of this is when talking with someone and after the disagreement, they say things like “you’re a child” or “you lack understanding” without showing they have any real substantive understanding themselves. It is entirely meant to shock someone into a retaliatory knee-jerk reaction which they then use to reaffirm the typecast they are projecting on you.
Another type of this attack is one that tells someone that they are lacking something such as integrity. Entirely subject as integrate is not something that can be quantified by anyone but that person and/or the people who have invested enough time in them to even know.
Typically, from my experience. it manifests as outright insults or “ad homonym” attacks. An ad-hom attack is a personal slam someone makes rather than arguing or engaging in the topic or point being made by another person. Moreover, with the reliance on social media, we have almost all fallen into the trap of responding in an explosive or volatile manner when confronted with our own poor behavior or falling short or on our faces during an argument.
That’s great Kevin, but what does this have to do with being a patriot?
It is relevant bc now these attacks have turned into personal attacks and slams which call into question a personal individual sense of freedom and image of the American dream which is different for every single person in our country. What I mean by that is this… Tak some who tell another “you don’t have the same nice things I do” when in reality they are assuming that they should have the same goals. Like the ridiculous argument of whose grass is greener, the beauty of this country is that we do not have to all have the same ideas and goals as everyone else. The power of choice and individuality emphasized by the constitution we all enjoy and appreciate. The twilight zone begins when suddenly we start judging others lives and words by the pseudo standards we as individuals have which reaffirm in our own minds and if that varies from what is held close to a person, rather than accepting “different stroke for different folks” it becomes something like a negative power and force we must then react to. It is them saying that in order to be “accepted” you must do as I do rather than promoting that person’s choices and accepting that they made them outside of your approval.
So what is a patriot?
To be a patriot…
- Doesn’t attack others for expressing their opinions
- Doesn’t react poorly when confronted with a different view or appreciation of something
- Doesn’t shut down others for speaking their lives and the truths they experienced
- Accepts that other people won’t always agree with them
- Tries to find common ground
- Values the freedom of thought and expression of others, even when they disagree
- Owns up to the things they do and say, good and bad
- Does not shift their beliefs and ideals based on their audience
- Accepts good ideas even when they do not originate from their political opposites
- Approaches their fellow citizen with humility
- Takes time to understand and challenge the beliefs and ideals they subscribe to
- Engages in open discourse with those they disagree with without exempting themselves from the same scrutiny they apply to individuals outside of those beliefs
What does this matter?
It matters because we currently have this harmful element on both sides of our political spectrum where others tend to attack individuals for being different and thinking different. If you’re a Democrat who doesn’t subscribe to SJW standards, then you are an “uncle tom” or on the right, if you don’t accept their accepted excursion of individual rights, that means you are not conservative enough. THEY feel entitled to being right without doing anything to make the argument or an argument that would make them right.
In recent months I have noticed that folks on both sides using this shallow strategy and exploiting it in order to establish or increase their own social standing. Be it admins of a social media group or organizers for recalls of school board members. I have even had these people personally attack me in their attempts to maintain control and relevance. This is exactly why more than ever we need to think for ourselves rather than go off half-cocked and unaware of the motives behind the movements we support.
This means challenging our group leaders. This means calling out the negative and regressive actions/words of people we know to be bad rather than being bullied into supporting or forced into silence for fear of being singled out. You should never sacrifice what makes you YOU in order to belong and you should always encourage others to do the same. In the end, we are the ones who end up hurting when we allow the values we hold to be subverted and stymied based on the perceived need for social belonging.
- Of course, that means some will attack you for not accepting the projection and false premise of their character.
- Ask yourself, are these people genuine, do they live up to the ideals they expect from others?
- Do they walk the line they expect others to hold?
- Does someone say they support the constitutional rights of others and then actively shut down speech they don’t like?
- Does this person have the right motives and reasons to be running for the offices they are?
- Would this person defend you in the same way you defend them?
- Do they demand you act and speak as they do in order to participate?
- Have they misrepresented the reasons for their feelings and positions?
To question and the challenge is healthy and normal for any American. We all know that the lack of individual thought and the over-reliance on groupthink is what has gotten us, as a country, to the point we have and almost everyone is miserable and angry with the situations and state of our nation. We have all lost something, be that money, jobs, friends, neighbors, family relationships in the polarized projections and words of others. It’s time to reject these falsities and start calling people out for engaging in such a way.
We all want to believe that we are, at our center, good, decent, and honest human beings. We all want to believe that we can do no wrong. We all know the feeling of needing a “win”. A patriot knows that we are fighting a war and sometimes we have to lose a battle or two in order to win the war. That win means not getting everything you want and being okay with that, It means accepting that we have made mistakes and may not be as good as we think we are. It means understanding that your adversaries are people too. It means that it’s okay to just be yourself. It means holding your ground and standing up for your own integrity in an honest way. It means it’s okay to express your onions and beliefs without concern for those who will not accept them. It means sometimes people are going to attack you for not doing what they want.
Keep in mind, most people do not want to hear your opinion but that they want to hear their opinions coming out of your mouth.
Be yourself, speak the truth, challenge the narratives, reject the notion that you are not allowed to have an opinion.
- A patriot does not say they support the first amendment and right to speech while limiting others.
- A patriot gives people time to explain themselves
- A patriot stands up for the rights of others, even when it would gain itself more by disallowing or shutting them down.
- A patriot doesn’t try to bring another down just to push themselves higher
- A patriot give themselves and others room to grow and change their opinions and beliefs
- A partiot doesn’t just mouth the words, they live them and allow others to live them with the same passion and love they expect others to give them
“Liberty and justice for all” mean exactly that, and without exceptions. If you cannot speak the truth without feeling bad about it or excoriated for expressing your thoughts and concerns, then you are probably hanging with the wrong people or are a person who engages in the opposite way, this patriot described above.