17 years old

Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

I joined the United States military at the age of seventeen. When I turned 18 I left Cleveland Ohio for US Army Basic Training. My enlistment in the army was only three years and I spent every year in a different dessert in a different country.

I joined the Army for a bunch of different reasons, I was avoiding college, I wanted to see the world and I felt like it was the patriotic thing to do. Patriotism for me was the love of the idea of the United States over the actual United States.

Ideally the United States allows every person the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that the declaration of independence makes it clear that these rights, life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable. Because they are unalienable they cannot be given away or taken by any government. Growing up I loved the idea the the United States government would work to preserve these rights for everyone.

After leaving home I watched many people even citizens of the United States get denied these rights under the cloak of patriotism. Xenophobia and racism sit behind patriotism with groups like the Oath Keepers and the Liberators. These groups are part of what is being called the patriot movement but they do not believe in life. liberty and the pursuit for justice for all. The idea of the United States was and is still poorly executed but is one of inclusivity. Everyone has these rights no matter what the color of their skin is and what their heritigat. The Patriot movement is exclusive and will not afford these rights to people based on their race, religion or sex. The current patriot movement is shameful and sadly very unpatriotic.

Photo by ALTEREDSNAPS on Pexels.com

The hate from the Patriot movement has bleed over to mainstream politics and into the political parties and their actions. There is nothing patriotic about banning people from travel based on their religion or race however this happened in 2017 for three months and was done under the guise of protection. This is not patriotic at all it is the opposite of the great idea that the United States was founded on however it was not the first time that the idea of the United States was perverted.

Since the beginning of the founding of the United States patriotism was perverted to wage war on the indigenous people of North America. There have been 1,500 attacks on Native Americans by the United States government and countless crimes committed against the native American people. The genocide and total disregard was also cloaked in patriotism but that was not in line with life. liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

I like to believe that I am a patriot not because I served in the US Military but because I believe and support the idea that every person in the whole world deserves life, liberty, and to pursue happiness. I support everyone’s right to freedom no matter what that a living beings, race, sex or religion is. Being a patriot is understanding how great your nation should and can be if it has good core principles and lives up to those principles.

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