Tag Archives: Patriotism

More Fighter Jets?

Donald Trump in canceling his Ill advised military parade tweeted the following

The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!

Really?
More fighter jets???
What a child he is!!

How about funding the homeless vet population. Which went up for the first time in 7 years.

Whose responsibility is that Donald?

NFL players take a knee to protest social injustice and Trump call it unpatriotic and disrespectful to the country’s vets.  He does this for political reasons ignoring or not really caring about the real reason for the protest while at the same time pretending to actually care about our country’s veterans.  But you can’t hide your true feelings as your actions betray you. We’ve all seen the horrible statements he has made regarding John McCain’s POW stint and his disrespect to Gold Star families.

Veterans are living on the streets and he wants more fighter jets. Not really for matters of national security mind you but more so to feed his oversized ego.   Who’s really the unpatriotic one? Who’s truly disrespectful to veterans.

DISGRACEFUL!

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They serve so they could kneel

Without debate, without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive.

John F. Kennedy

Men and Women for centuries have worn the uniform, fought the fight and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our right to peacefully protest. Let no man silence the voice made possible through this sacrifice. Keep America great

Happy Memorial Day 

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The True Patriot

It is the true patriot who stands
against the slings and arrows in
order to hold their country
accountable rather than turn a blind
eye to injustice. For turning a blind
eye to injustice is in essence a tactical
admission that the country is too
weak to live up to the standards on
which it was founded.

Carl A. Cooke

I love my country – The African American voice

I defended my country, the country I love, in WWII but when I came home I was denied service at the lunch counter.

I defended my country, the country I love, in the Vietnam war but when I came home they turned the fire hoses on me when I dared to vote.

I defended my country, the country I love, in the Iraq war but when I came home the police still stopped and frisked me for no reason.

I am a person of color and I joined the military and I am veteran today because I love my country.

Yes I love America but America has not treated me fairly. America has enslaved me, segregated me, denied me the right to vote, denied me equality in housing, wealth opportunities and education. It has jailed me at in-proportioned numbers. Slowly I have seen things change, gotten better. But these changes did not happen by themselves I had to stand up to the country I love and demand that it lives up to the promise that it was founded on – All men are created equal. I did not stand up to America because I hate it. I did not kneel in solidarity because I disrespect it. I did it because I love my country and make no mistake it is as my country as much as anyone’s because despite the obstacles I had to and continue to endure I continue to create breath taking masterpieces, inspire others in literature, art and music. Produce life saving breakthroughs in science and medicine. I continue to achieve great things each and every day and with each step I take forward I leave an indelible fingerprint on the very fabric of a country.

So no matter how hard some may try I will not be silenced I will continue to shine a light on social injustice. Continue to demand that America live up to her promise. After all dissent is the highest form of patriotism and I love my country.

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False patriots are in abundance these days

Today GQ magazine named Colin Kaepernick their citizen of the year and as expected conservatives were up in arms. FOX news contributor Todd Starnes wrote an article calling Kaepernick and those that have followed his lead cowards. Of course one could surmise that neither Starnes or any of his families or friends have been subject to the social injustice that Is the real reason for the protest. I doubt Starnes or any of his families or friends have had to worry when pulled over for a routine traffic stop. His article today showed a complete lack of understanding of what it really means to be a citizen or the very real problems that people of color in this country have to face everyday. His article is an example of what too many Americans would rather do, especially when it comes to race, which is to turn a blind eye to the real problems and instead focus on the false narrative pushed by the President and thus have a reason to hate those who would dare take a stance against social injustice. As Thomas Jefferson said:

It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among our opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political & social opposition, who transferred at once to the person the hatred they bore to his political opinions.

Let’s dissect a few statements from Mr. Starnes article today.

Todd Starnes states – Mr. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, was responsible for starting a national movement to protest the Star Spangled Banner by taking a knee along the sideline.

Wrong – Kaepernick was never protesting the Star Spangled Banner he was protesting police brutality. His exact words “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Todd Starnes states – They said they were protesting alleged racial inequality and police brutality, but it’s pretty clear to most of the country that Mr. Kaepernick and his minions were dishonoring the flag, the anthem and the military.

Wrong – It’s only clear to those who never have to worry about being victimized by social injustices, including veterans of colors who deal with the same issues as any other person of color despite their military service. It’s only clear to people who fallen for the false narrative being pushed by the President. For everyone else it clear that there is still a problem with race and a few members, not the many but the few, of law enforcement who abuse their power. Abuse that has led to the deaths of people of color. Until those few are dealt with they will continue to be a stain on the many good men and women in law enforcement and remain an imminent danger to all people of color.

Todd Starnes states – Apparently, GQ seems to think that disrespecting our military and spitting on our flag is a symbol of heroism and manliness. That’s not citizenship – that’s cowardice.

Wrong – I’ve already disputed the false narrative that the protests have anything to do with disrespecting our military and spitting on the flag. As for speaking out against social injustice at the risk of your own livelihood as Kaepernick has done is far from an act of cowardice. It is in fact the very essence of what a citizen is. As Thomas Jefferson wrote “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,”

Sadly Todd Starnes appears to another of the many false patriots poisoning our country today. Contend to chant USA and wrap themselves up in the flag while turning a blind eye to the very values of America.

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America – Status: its complicated

You say it is disrespectful to our servicemen and women but you wouldn’t give up one football Sunday to volunteer at the VA hospital.

You say it is disrespectful to the flag but you turn a blind eye to the basic tenants the flag represents. Such as All men are created equal and individual Liberty: The principle that each person is born with freedom from arbitrary or unjustified restraint.

America is a complicated country founded on the principle that all men are created equal while at the same time it was openly embracing slavery and allowing legalized discrimination until as recently as the 1960s. Full of so called patriots who embrace our military but at the same time are willing to turn a blind eye toward the problems many soldiers encounter after they return home. A country whose richness was built upon the various contributions of immigrants whose diversity is one of its strongest qualities yet still has a large group of people who reject immigration and segregate themselves in their own communities afraid of the unknown from a different race or culture.

Despite all its flaws America remains the greatest country in the world but it can be better. We as a people are tasked with ensuring that it reaches its unlimited potential. To achieve that promise it is sometimes necessary for the people to engage in Nonviolent resistance to facilitate social change through symbolic protests and civil disobedience. Every time this is done there will be those who disapprove those who wish to keep the status quo but as Richard Dawkins said

“when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.

We should never be afraid to raise our voice against injustice it is our moral responsibility to see that our country live up to principles it was founded on. To do any less would to be complicit in the failure of the promise that is America. As H.L. Mencken so eloquently stated

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”

So continue to shine a light on social injustice. Continue to demand that America live up to her promise. Reject those who would have you simply accept the status quo. After all dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

I kneel because I love the promise of America

Ok NFL players you showed your unity this past weekend with varying displays of so called anthem protest but now is the time to bring the narrative back to its original intent. Yes you should continue to kneel, continue to lock arms or whatever form of protest you feel is appropriate. No you should not allow this President to deter you. But when a microphone is placed in front of you and you are asked about disrespecting the flag and the servicemen and women. Do not allow the narrative to be changed. Tell them emphatically NO I will not play that game. Tell them I kneel to protest social injustice. Tell them I kneel to protest police brutality. Tell them I kneel to bring to light the way people of color are treated in many aspects of society today. Tell them you love America as much as anyone and as such you demand it lives up to its promise. Tell them you respect this country’s servicemen and women and as such I kneel because the 40% of the military made up of ethnic minorities should not have to return to a country where they or their family may be subject to police brutality or discrimination based on the color of their skin. Tell them I kneel not as a sign of disrespect to this country but as a sign of respect for the values that it was founded on, the concept that all men are created equal. Tell them I kneel to force those who would choose to turn a blind eye to these injustices to feel uncomfortable to the point that they will finally open their minds and begin a dialogue on how to truly make this country great. Tell that this is why I kneel.

Changing the narrative yet again

The narrative has been lost. It was never about the flag or patriotism it was about social injustice and police brutality. But the fact is that topic makes people uncomfortable and no one likes to be uncomfortable, they rather close their eyes or change the narrative then confront the ugly truth and look for ways to improve it. But since our current President has decided to change the narrative, because social injustice is an issue he appears to be squarely on the wrong side of the debate on, and make this about patriotism I thought I remind him of the words of James Baldwin. If he can somehow grasp the meaning of Baldwin’s words then maybe he will understand what it really means to be a patriot.

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We as a country will forever be divided…Until

Another shooting. Another unarmed person of color killed. Another night of unrest. The racial divide continues to grow. Yet here’s what the dimwits who dismiss the protests taking place in the NFL and other places as nonsense and disrespectful or who say to those who do protest if you don’t love this flag get out, still don’t get. It’s not about respect for America it’s about demanding America live up to what it is suppose to be, what it was founded on. In theory if not practice in 1776.

I’m a 50 year old African American who:

Loves both humanity as a whole and America as my country.

Who respects and is grateful to the police and the job they do everyday to keep me and those around me safe.

Who has never been in any kind of trouble with the law.

Yet anytime I see a police car in my rear view mirror there is a sense of anxiety that comes over me as a person of color because at that moment I don’t know who’s in that car and what their intentions may be. That’s a feeling if you are not a person of color you nor your children will ever have to deal with and if you’re not a person of color is something you should be grateful for because the reality is it’s something people of color and their children always have to deal with.

Simply put:

Until we stop telling people to turn a blind eye, chant USA, wrap yourself in the flag and assume that 100% of the police shootings in America are justified.

Until we understand that it’s the principle this country was founded on, we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, not the flag itself that is what is worth defending and worth dying for.

Until we understands there is a problem with race in this country that isn’t going to get better by ignoring it but rather by having an open and honest discussion that leads to real solutions.

Until we stop pushing the false narrative that by calling for justice and the removal of the few rotten eggs that smear the reputation of the hundred of thousands of men and women of all ethnicities in blue who put their lives on the line to keep us safe is not an attack on the police but rather on those racist individual who simply put on but do not deserve to wear the uniform.

Until we start to do these things we as a country will forever be divided.

Silence does not equal Patriotism

Love it or leave it. So has gone the refrain from many in response to San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest of sitting for the National Anthem. Kaepernick has stated that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Kapernick isn’t the first and he won’t be the last high profile athlete of color to speak out against the treatment of people of color in America and while you can choose to agree or disagree with the matter in which he chooses to protest you cannot voice displeasure with his right to protest and simultaneously say you stand for the principles on which this country was built.

“If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.”— George Washington, first U.S. president

The crux of the public outcry over Kaepernick’s protest centers around his patriotism and as an extension the patriotism of those who support him, especially those in the African-American community. Lost in the uproar of Kaepernick’s decision to sit for the National Anthem are the very real concerns that triggered his decision in the first place, central among them police brutality. Anyone that has read my blog knows that I have the upmost respect for law enforcement and the job they perform every day. You also know that I recognize that the police department is an institution like any other and is therefore susceptible to have with-in its ranks a few bad apples. Regrettably we have seen that the abuses of those bad apples disproportionately impact communities of color. To remain silent or to condemn those who speak out on these issues neither shows bravery nor can be seen as a sign of support to the police departments across the country as silence only emboldens the few evildoers and devalues the good accomplished by the many. In the case of police brutality those among us who do speak up do not do so to see police departments across America dismantled or police officers targeted. Rather it is because we believe that the institution of policing is one that is better than to allow itself to be sullied by those who do not deserve to wear the uniform and when those who abuse their power are allowed to continue that abuse because of the silence of the masses we become despondent at the system in general.

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”
― H.L. Mencken

Now there are those of you who will say – Ok I hear you but sitting for the Anthem? Dishonoring the flag? There has to be a better way to get your point across? To me no matter how you slice it Kaepernick’s actions and those who support those actions are unpatriotic? Maybe one could see it that way until you recognize that the African-American experience in this country is a unique one and patriotism is part of that unique experience. We did not leave our homeland seeking a better life for ourselves and our families rather we were taken forcibly from our home and brought to this “new world” in chains landing on the shores of Jamestown in 1619 as slaves and remaining as such for 246 years until 1865. During that period our history, our language, our culture, our very identity were all stripped from us. Today we cannot look to a specific country and call it home rather we can only look to the African continent as a whole and wonder who and what we once were. With our culture robbed from us we forged a new culture, a new identity here in America. Everything the African American is today is born of this country. One could say more than any other group, save the American Indian, America is OUR country and time and time again we have shown that by putting our lives on the line to defend her. In fact we are the only people to fight for the right to put our lives on the line in defense of this country.

When we were slaves, when our men were beaten, our women raped, and our families ripped apart and sold off as property we fought for this country’s independence.

When we were freed from the bonds of slavery but still denied basic fundamental rights supposedly guaranteed to all men in this country such as education and the right to vote we fought for this country.

When were held down by the institution of Jim Crow and terrorized by groups like the Ku Klux Klan we fought for this country.

We fought and we did so with one simple belief, that despite all we have endured this country, OUR country, would one day live up to its promise, live up to the words on which it was based – that all men are created equal.

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” – James Baldwin

The subjects of racism, discrimination, police brutality, etc. may make some uncomfortable. Some may want to quietly turn a blind eye to them. But there will always be the brave who rather than standing for the status quo will use the freedom of speech afforded to them in this country to push America to live up to her promise to treat all men and women as equals. It is after all the patriotic thing to do.