After Jump of course. Unsafe, safety image:

Taken without looking on my ride home.

I consider myself a patriotic person. I love my home - I love my country. But I can acknowledge that there are things that need to be changed. I understand that oppression still occurs here. I understand that there are racial issues that I don’t understand because of my white, small town upbringing.

Patriotism is not flag-waving and shouting USA! USA! USA!

Patriotism isn’t the jingoistic support of whatever war we are involved in “because the troops.”

Patriotism is absolutely not attacking celebrities for standing up for a cause.

Patriotism is loving your country enough to fight so everyone has an opportunity to make it.

Advertisement

My grandfather lied about his age to go fight against nazis. Now it seems a whole political party is aligning with their beliefs because “they’re very fine people.”

To claim that patriotism is about a flag - a symbol - while ignoring the very real problems that it’s the responsibility of all of us to fix, is idiocy.

Despite the struggles I’ve had, I know that there are advantages I have just because I’m a straight white male.

Advertisement

I can walk into a retail store without people tailing me suspicious that I’m going to steal something.

I can walk through an upper-middle class subdivision without someone calling the cops.

I don’t have to worry about a police officer panicking and shooting even if I comply with his or her orders.

Advertisement

I don’t have to worry about people attacking me for who I fall in love with.

I don’t have to worry about someone assaulting me because of my religion.

Is patriotism the idea that everyone has to submit to a specific ideology and anyone who disagrees hates America?

Advertisement

Or is it loving your country enough to make it a safe place to grow up and live as a citizen, no matter what color your skin, who you love, your religious beliefs, or national origin?

If you choose to denigrate people who are oppressed simply so you can maintain the status quo, you’re not a patriot. You’re just an asshole waving a flag.