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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    A Patriot By Any Other Name…

    I have always considered myself a Patriot. For better or worse, I am an American, and I see no reason why I should hide that fact from the world. Sure, America has not been on the good side of the rest of the world for quite some time now, but a Patriot, a true Patriot, sticks by his or her country no matter what. It is after all the goal of Patriots to work towards improving the nation they inhabit.

    The reason I talk about my Patriotism now, just days before the six year anniversary of September 11th, is because my Patriotism is being called into question, and has been for quite some time now, and it is high time that I and my fellow Patriots defend ourselves.

    Ironically, my American-ness is being challenged by a group of people that have hijacked the word “Patriot” and transformed it to mean something completely different from its original definition. Now, a “Patriot” is someone who blindly supports the actions of our government, a defender of the status quo. “Patriots” support our military, “Patriots” want to close our borders, “Patriots” hate gay marriage. “Patriot,” it would stand to reason, has become synonymous with “conservative.”

    Even on our campus, the word has been perverted. The Patriot student paper, published by the oh-so-American-sounding Enduring Freedom Alliance, is an outlet that is used to spread conservative talking points to all twelve of their readers.

    The brilliance of the Republican party has been their deceitful and silent takeover of the political lexicon. “Liberal” conjures up thoughts of raving anarchistic lunatics, “illegal immigrants” paints a picture of savage and primitive people entering our country and stealing our jobs and our cars. And now “Patriot” has been twisted and convoluted as well, to further a political agenda and use as a recruitment tool.

    Most Americans see through the thin layers of distortion.

    For example, when counter-protesters hold up signs at anti-war rallies reading “Support our troops,” what they mean is send more of them to suffer injury or worse and leave the ones we have stationed in Iraq there longer. These people don’t support our troops, they support our President. I support our troops, real Patriots support our troops, by pleading with our officials to bring them home and out of harms way.

    While most Americans can detect the scent of a coverup, some cannot. It is these citizens, the malleable Fox News viewers, that keep the conservative movement afloat. Already, a majority of Americans agree with liberal views on everything from health insurance to gay marriage to immigration. And yet we the majority are called traitors and un-American and even godless by a few real wackos.

    Worse, today’s “Patriots” subscribe to some of the most inhumane sections of the conservative charter; that is, flat out discrimination against gay people, racism towards both Latin American immigrants (think Minute Men) and the black population (as evidenced by the mysterious exclusion of their votes in recent elections), and the idea of one nation under Jesus Christ. Now this is not to say that all conservatives are like this. Many subscribe to the Goldwater brand of conservatism. Barry Goldwater, the father of the conservative movement, isn’t too fond of today’s “Patriots” either, declaring that “people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don’t hurt anybody in the process,” a concept lost on many a conservative.

    Of course, logic, reason and truth all stand by my side when I argue that these people who call themselves “Patriots” stand in the way of progress. In fact, it is today’s “Patriots” who are doing the most harm and irreversible damage to the country they claim to love. My shining example is the aptly titled USA PATRIOT Act, which won near unanimous support following the events in September 2001. The act, as many have come to realize, effectively overrode our basic rights as Americans and jeopardized the very foundations on which Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and others founded this country. Every great idea, every revolutionary change that this country has seen, from the civil rights movement to women’s suffrage, has been led by a Patriot and firmly opposed by “Patriots.”

    The whole debate over the word Patriot really plays no significant role in our day to day lives. For 364 days out of the year, I couldn’t care less what people were calling me and my beliefs. But for one day, every September 11th, I have to care. On that day six years ago now, the discourse of our country changed for good, and the word Patriot was thrust into the spotlight, where it was reworked and redefined by war-mongering vengeful men. We have been at war for six years now, four of which have been against a nation free of blame for the deaths of 3,000 of our citizens. And while the “Patriots” among us scream and shout for “stay the course” and continued support for politicians that seek to undo the fabric of the nation, Americans are in dire need, perhaps more than ever, of the Patriots among us to step forward.

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