Issues Under Fire: Patriotism vs. The Freedom to Disagree
At the risk of ruffling some feathers and pissing some people off, today’s post will forward a counter-narrative to the military worship being marketed these days. As the latest story goes, every American should support and honor the troops. Americans should be proud and grateful to be protected by the most powerful military in the history of the world. American youth should respect and want to serve and protect America, too. After all, the troops are our “heroes”. And anyone who don’t hold these sentiments near and dear to their hearts can consider themselves disloyal and unpatriotic. These people don’t deserve to call themselves Americans. This kind of thinking is dangerous. Please take a moment to explore the following (not so humble) explanation.
As parents, many teach their children to think for themselves. They teach them to follow their own minds and not the crowd. Many teach them to question authority and even challenge it when they disagree with that authority. If they think something is wrong, they’ve been taught to speak up, speak out and stand up for what they believe to be true. People who were exposed to and embraced these messages as a way of life, tend to bristle at the notion of “going along to get along.” So, the idea of paying homage to the United States military when they disapprove of how it’s being used and abused, simply ain’t gonna happen. This kind of thinking is dangerous too.
There’s an inherent conflict between natural born followers and those considering themselves individualists. Followers have no problems taking orders; individualists do. Followers keep their mouths shut when the individualists won’t. Followers allow others to pick their battles, while the individualists pick their own. Followers rarely ask questions, while the individualists always do. Followers have no problems with others setting the agenda, while Individualists are busy making their own plans, plotting their own course and blazing their own trails. But the biggest difference is, followers do what they’re told to do; individualists do what they need, must and want to do.
While America strives to be viewed as a nation of independent, outspoken, self-reliant mavericks, the reality is anything but that. These days, America’s leadership not only encourages and rewards those who’ll tow the line and stay in line but will demonize and try to penalize those who won’t. It takes a great deal of strength and courage to buck the trend of blind loyalty and unbridled patriotism. It takes a person of unwavering convictions, uncompromising principles and a focused moral compass to withstand the backlash and blowback for not supporting values and ideals that are in conflict with their own. To disagree today is to be disenfranchised tomorrow. And this might be the most dangerous
When Donald Trump called Congressional members treasonous for refusing to stand, acknowledge and applaud his every utterance during the State of the Union address, followers were in agreement, while individualists were outraged. When Donald Trump called for tens of billions in additional defense spending, followers accepted the request without thinking twice, while individualists rejected the idea without thinking twice. So, when Donald Trump called on the Pentagon to plan a military parade to rival that of France’s Bastille Day celebration, his followers were cheering, while individualists questioned if the so-called leader of the free world had lost his God Damned mind. Let’s face it, individualists always reserve the right to say F#@K You!
Bottom line: When patriotism and loyalty are demanded, you are not free. If you ever feel uncomfortable expressing disapproval of your government, you are not free. If you feel like an outsider for disagreeing how the U.S. military is being used and abused you are not free. If you ever feel pressured to stand for the national anthem, salute the flag, or pledge your allegiance to the United States, once again, you are not free Therefore, when Donald Trump calls you un-American for not praising him as America’s Commander-in-Chief, you should feel proud, because nothing is more American than fighting to be free. Podcast below.