Opinion: Many People Who Claim They Are "Patriots" Actually Hate America

Walter Rhein

Image by Walter Rhein

I’m starting to mistrust the word “patriot.”

Calling yourself a “patriot” does not make you a patriot.

I think it’s odd that many of the people who claim to be “patriots,” also fly the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag represents an attempt to overthrow our government. To me, that’s the opposite of patriotic.

The man who was captured parading through the US Capitol with a large Confederate flag during the January 6, 2021 riot, was -- along with his son -- found guilty by a federal judge on Wednesday of obstructing an official proceeding, a felony—Man who carried Confederate flag in US Capitol and son found guilty of felonies

In fact, the second a man refers to himself as a “patriot,” I begin to suspect that he is a traitor to our country.

It’s the same way that a burglar would describe himself as something other than a burglar.

People who wish to cause you harm don’t generally go around advertising that fact. When somebody is going to cheat you, they tell you they’re going to give you a fair deal.

It seems to me that true patriots shouldn’t have to call themselves patriots. If they are truly patriotic, that should be obvious from their actions. If other people want to call that person a patriot, then it means something. If you call yourself a patriot, it’s the same as saying you’re a “successful businessman” even though you refuse to show any tax returns.

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump asked a federal judge Wednesday to block a Justice Department order that the IRS turn over years of his income tax returns to Congress—Trump lawyers ask judge to block release of tax returns to Congress after Biden DOJ orders IRS to do so

I think it’s weird for people to define themselves based on how much they love their country. The United States is a representative republic. I understand that to mean that sometimes the politicians I support will be elected, and sometimes they will lose.

When my candidate loses, I’m not happy about it, but I accept the result.

Too often, you see people who attempt to justify acts of violence by claiming they are “patriots.” There is no place for this kind of behavior in a civilized society. We have to accept the results of elections, not work to silence other voices because we don’t like it when we lose.

Some people say the people who attacked the Capitol on January 6th are “patriots.” I call them “traitors.”

Now, allies of former President Donald Trump are calling those charged in the Capitol riot “political prisoners," a stunning effort to revise the narrative of that deadly day—US Capitol Hill Rioters Being Dubbed As 'Patriots' By Trump Supporters

In my opinion, the word “patriot” has been sullied by violent people who don’t respect the Constitution.

I feel it’s the duty of every citizen to try and make our country a stronger nation. When our politicians pass laws that hurt our country, we need to speak out. However, we still have to abide by those laws.

We have the right to work to elect the politicians that pass the laws we want, but we never have the right to engage in acts of violence. We never have the right to suppress the voices of others unless their words contain direct calls to violence.

Many Supreme Court cases upholding restrictions on speech believed to be subversive have relied on the idea that such speech is forbidden because it incites, or is likely to lead to, violence or illegal actions—Incitement to Imminent Lawless Action

It troubles me that many people who call themselves “patriots” seem to act as if the law doesn’t apply to them.

In the United States, nobody is above the law. That should especially apply to so-called “patriots.”

In my opinion, the word “patriot” has become a code word for inciting acts of violence. Any time any individual refers to themselves as a “patriot,” I become immediately distrustful.

The United States has become too divided. It’s time that we were reminded that we are all Americans. We might have differences of opinion, but we all want to see our country succeed.

When politicians commit to what I believe is a disastrous course of action, I’ll speak out. For example, I spoke out about Trump's tax cuts for the wealthy because I thought it would lead to inflation. Speaking out is my constitutional right. However, I will never resort to violence or break the law.

Calling yourself a “patriot” does not mean you are above the law. Calling yourself a “patriot” doesn’t mean that your opinion is better than mine.

I suggest that we leave our patriotism out of the discussion. Instead, let’s set aside the propaganda and evaluate the results of legislation.

Republicans trying to blame President Joe Biden for this inflation point to the American Rescue Plan from this spring and the infrastructure plan that recently passed (and hasn’t yet put one penny into the economy). What they refuse to admit is that much of this inflation is the result of their tax cuts for wealthy Americans that has put $250 billion per year of stimulus money into our economy each year since 2018—Tax cuts have boosted inflation

Try to resist allowing your political loyalties to prevent you from seeing the truth. Every American is a patriot. There’s no need to signal yourself out over your fellow citizens.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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