In these post-9/11 days, no word has had its definition argued more than the word “patriot”. It is a word that has had its definition fought over ever since the Revolutionary War, but ever since our nation was attacked by Muslim extremists the fighting has become intense. The word “patriot”, at least to me, describes a person who loves this country and not afraid to do whatever it takes to protect it, even from the government.
Conservatives have accused opponents of the Iraq War and President Bush’s decision making as unpatriotic. Anyone who criticizes the government or its actions, especially during a time of war, are doing nothing but complaining and won’t back their words with action. Reserving American’s rights to voice opinions and staging peaceful protests aren’t considered productive. At least that’s what the conservatives are saying. This government has refused to listen to its own people and continues to lead us into a failed war, nothing will be productive enough to get this incompetent leader’s attention. The government is suppose to be represented by the majority, but the polls are showing us that it is just the opposite. The Associated Press’s latest poll shows that only 26% of Americans believe that George Bush has done a satisfactory job thus far.
Even with these sagging approval ratings, conservatives have continuously stated that critics of the government and their actions are unpatriotic. They state that “real” patriots are people who support their government no matter what. Don’t they even realize that the first patriots gave us the rights that apply to the liberal’s side of the argument? The founding fathers have given us the right to hold peaceful protests and to speak our minds. Documents, like the Bill of Rights and Constitution, have reserved the right to keep the government from misrepresenting us. Since the majority of Americans are against the way the Iraq War is being handled, the government should try new ways to end this conflict as soon as possible. Not only that, if the government has proven to be ineffective and unfixable, then we have the right to replace the old government with a new one! I do not, however, believe we need to go to that extreme. Something, however, needs to change before the situation in Iraq gets worse.
We were all saddened by the 9/11 attacks, but that doesn’t mean that we should give up the right to speak our minds if we believe the government is incompetent and intentionally deceiving us. To be a true patriot, I believe we need to exercise our basic rights. We need to voice our displeasure, demand change, and vote for those who we believe will make those changes. Ignore those who accuse us of being unpatriotic and continue to protest until we get the changes that we desire. This government is suppose to represent us and we need to make sure they do just that. Our forefathers fought for years before they saw the results they were looking for and I believe we need to maintain that integrity to reach the promised land.
So what is a patriot? A patriot is someone who sticks by their convictions and is not afraid of accusations or humiliation. A patriot is someone who faces overwhelming challenges and still manages to maintain their stance. So stick with it and be a real “patriot”!
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