True patriotism

Lots of email from Bushites. Some call me unpatriotic for daring to criticize their President. Others call me a lot worse. Many suggest physically impossible anatomical acts.

“You’re a traitor to your country,” says one. “Why don’t you just shut up and go fuck yourself.” Those kinds of emails are always anonymous. Cowards don’t have the guts to leave their names when they insult you.

“What,” another anonymous keyboard cowboy asks, “gives you the right to criticize our President? Where’s your patriotism?”

Excuse me, but — as an American — I not only have the right but also the obligation to be critical of my government if — and when — I feel it has failed in its service to the citizens.

A republic like the United States is ill served by a passive populace. In theory, our government is a representative one where those elected to office work for us. In reality, those who win election all-to-quickly forget their obligations to those they serve. They become prisoners of power, beholden only to the special interests that finance their campaigns and buy influence with big political action committee checks.

Such abuse of power crosses party and ideological lines. Greed is equal opportunity, corruption bi-partisan and arrogance a disease that affects liberals and conservatives alike.

I’m an emotional man, driven by strong passions and equally-strong opinions and when I see a government that fails to serve its people I get mad.

But don’t for one second mistake anger with a loss of love of country. I love this country more than the faux-patriots who cover their pickup trucks with American flag decals and claim only those who blindly follow our leaders into the abyss can be patriotic. Such narrow vision ideologues are both fools and a danger to the future of this nation.

Remember that this wonderful place called America would not even exist if our forefathers had accepted the status quo and bought the argument that dissent suggested a lack of love for country. Back then an English King named George tried to suppress opposing points and view and restrict the freedoms that the early settlers in the colonies came here to find. Now an arrogant President named George tries to suppress opposing points of view, restrict freedoms and calls anyone who disagrees unpatriotic.

Sorry, but those who stand up against tyranny are the true patriots and that includes tyranny at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as well as those who wear turbans and carry suicide bombs.

Osama bin Laden is a threat to our way of life but so is our present administration with its callous disregard for the Constitution and the freedoms that provide the foundation for this nation. Freedom cannot be protected when the rights of Americans are considered expendable.

America cannot be America if Americans are imprisoned without due process and the protections of our legal system.

America cannot be America if the government is allowed to spy on its citizens without proper judicial oversight.

America cannot be America when the President of the United States appoints an attorney general who claims the Constitution is “an outdated document” and considers it a hindrance to his goals.

And America cannot be America when dissent is discouraged and called unpatriotic.