The term traitor has taken on new connotations in recent years. Once meant to determine someone who has with serious and direct intent caused damage to a nation or its inhabitants; the recent mutation of its meaning is to indicate anyone who says anything against the wishes of those in power, especially prevalent during the Cheney domination.
Many who criticized government policy during this period were ostracized, marginalized and made to seem unpatriotic.
If one is going to alter and misuse the meaning of the word ‘traitor,’ then conversely, the meaning of ‘patriot,’ its opposite must be altered. There are now many ‘pretentious patriots,’ people who consider themselves patriots but are so because they have vested interests, illusions of grandeur or any of several other side interests that weakens their claim of nationalistic loyalty.
Real patriots are those who wholeheartedly have sacrificed something real for the making or sustaining of a nation, as opposed to those who merely blather their opinions into a radio microphone and get millions therefor or put up a great pretense for fame or prestige sake.
Example of a real patriot–Nathan Hale–hung by the British as a spy for the colonies during the Revolutionary War, his last words supposedly were “I regret that I have but one life to live for my country.”
Example of a pretentious patriot–someone who joins the military because there is nothing else for him, keeps a low profile for 20 years and slacks along, then retires with a military pension and life-time benefits and expecting the country to think he is a hero while it takes care of him for the rest of his life.
Real patriot–Martin Luther King–a man who went to extraordinary lengths to win freedoms for a large segment of the American populace who were oppressed and living in hopeless poverty.
Pretentious patriot–business owners getting government contracts or subsidies who wave the flag publicly because it keeps the money flowing towards them.
Real patriots–the signers of the Declaration Of Independence who lost their land, their homes and their livelihoods due to their allegiance to a new, untested nation.
Pretentious patriots–people who spout their loyalty wide while simultaneously hiring illegal foreigners to undercut wages, avoid paying their share of governmental upkeep by hiding their profits in off shore localities and by sending jobs overseas letting American workers go without work.
Real patriots–people who buy their food and goods from within their region or nation to support the community, nation and environment around them.
Pretentious patriots-talk show hosts whose only real talent and job training is a gift of gab that they use to distort the reality of news events and political situations to fit an agenda that benefits themselves and their sponsors.
Real patriots–those who show concern for all their countries attributes rather than just one or two narrow points of concern. People who truly love their country show concern for all its people, not just a select section of the populace. They show interest for all its dimensions including its culture, its wildlife, its natural environment, its downtrodden, an accurate telling of its history. They care for all aspects of the world they live in and do not willfully overlook an aspect that is not presently in the popular consciousness of the place.
Pretentious patriots–soldiers who go to war in order to excise their sadistic urges and take out their brutality on civilians and combatants alike while pretending to be loyal to their flag. In the name of America, they commit gruesome atrocities.
The pretentious patriots are after several things. They want power over you. If they can convince everyone else that they are superior and successful they can use that to beat you down. The strongly religious (no matter which religion) are especially like that. They also want the glory in peoples’ eyes, whether they deserve it or not. And many only want the money, fame and material things that can be coaxed out of those that they have hypnotized.
It is easy to be a patriot when that government or nation that you profess to support is paying your pension, paying your subsidy, providing your livelihood or in some other way supporting your life. However, on the other side of things, how patriotic would you be if a soldier or policeman from that nation killed your daughter, or if the government took your house and land away, imprisoned you unjustly, or restricted you because of your race or ethnic background? If that same nation in some way damaged your body, your family or your life would you still be able to find the grace of heart to love it? Or would it be easy to turn traitor? Many of those who claim to be patriots have never been so tested.
Real patriotism comes out of a love of self and neighbor that is then extended to one’s entire nation. Most of what passes as patriotism at this moment in our history is bloated narcissism both of oneself and one’s country. Many who consider themselves patriots live within the narrow confines of a mentality that only recognizes one’s immediate, limited environment and has no understanding of how things operate on an international level. In their imaginations are posted many false pictures of the way the world is and in some false pictures of their own selves and their importance or relationship to their outside worlds. They are heroes in their own minds. Unfortunately, their minds are a little askew.
“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), U.S. General, Republican, politician, President
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
-President Thomas Jefferson