Personally, I think it is time we took back the label of “Patriot” from the likes of Trump. It can be done without ever mentioning his name or using a single pejorative. Doing so only increases polarization.

We are patriots who love America. The creation of the immigrant, the land of the free, and the home of the brave. The shining city on the hill honored by France with the Statue of Liberty. The land where 3 percent of the population died or was maimed to free an enslaved minority.

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Declaration of Independence

The land of honest friendship to all nations of goodwill and a reminder of what ought to be – and a helpmate those those still struggling. And yes, a necessary firewall against those who refuse to leave the dark.

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The Marshall Plan. Lets rebuild our enemies to make them into strong friends! What other nation in history would have done such a thing?

We saved western Europe and much of the Pacific from the nightmare of endless slavery under a totalitarian regime. First from Hitler and Tojo, then from Stalin. We endured while communism collapsed on its own.

We put men on the moon and created so much technology over two+ centuries that the world would be a vastly poorer place without us. We invented the environmental ethic with our parks and our poets. We produce ten time more food than we need ourselves and are a very large part of the reason that famines are not commonplace anymore.

Of course we have often failed to live up to our lofty ideals. We are a work in progress. Nothing is perfect and anything human will always be filled with imperfection. The road to the future is full of zigzags, sometimes with backtracking, and sometimes with potholes and landslides.

 

Yup. Politics is a substitute for violence.

If we don’t agree on the rules and accept the outcome when we don’t like it, we have to intimidate our way into office. Having done that, our opponents raise the stakes to get back. Scapegoats make us feel good but don’t resolve anything.

It is all a matter of which side of the argument you are on. The arguments on both sides are usually based on stereotypes and extreme examples because that is what stirs up the base and drives small donors and volunteers. (Big donors are driven by who they think aligns with their policy objectives.)  They may be accurate 1% of the time but alienate the other 99% of the “other” side to the point hate is returned for hate.

The answer is patience and empathy. The answer is compromise. The answer is to think twice before opening mouth once. The answer is to build a super-majority that is resistant to the hysteria of the day while being open to reasoned change. One that also protects the rights of the minority to be different, to live within their subculture, as long as they don’t violate anyone’s rights. All part of the pursuit of happiness.

Build it in the populace by gaining its trust. If you do, Congress will follow.

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Lincoln’s second inaugural address. I guess nobody in charge on either side would consider this relevant.

No one group has “special” rights. Because you are a rich white person you should NOT get a “Get out of jail” free card. The same can be said of any other demographic. A fundamentalist Muslim or Christian has the same rights as an atheist. A rancher has the same rights as a farm worker. Poor and rich have the same rights. Rights do not differ by race, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual identity, political preference or any other artificial division.

The Bill of Rights. You don’t get to pick and choose.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is what it is all about. If you have that, you need nothing more. If you don’t nothing matters. Government exists to regulate the affairs of people so as to make those ideals possible. When it becomes hostile, we have the right and duty to alter it. We have a representative democracy, constrained by a constitution and laid out in a republican format. That is what we have to use to change things.

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Nobody is without sin. Earl Warren wanted it. FDR signed it into effect. J. Edgar Hoover opposed it. Who was in the right and who was a villain here? Pointing fingers is futile, even if it is accurate.

The tools are there. In order to have the strength to change it, we need to do as Kennedy advised. We must not alienate those who disagree with us but we need to show them how the current path we follow is not in their best interests. The last election was won by those who did not vote. Whether you think it was a terrible choice is irrelevant. We need to convince the great unwashed that it was a bad result that must be overturned. Not with harsh rhetoric because if you alienate them they will never vote and you don’t want that. Do it gently, and if they end up selecting the least objectionable “other party candidate” in the primaries, count it a success.

A political party is a club, a special interest group no different from any other. We get to hang out with the people who agree with us and shut out everyone who doesn’t. Political parties are *echo chambers*. They do NOT lead to an overall awareness of how the world feels. They are NOT bastions of truth.

Progress comes from successful compromises and mutual respect for the guy you disagree with. A good person doesn’t stand there and demand the other yield first. The good person moves first and assumes the risk. Nor do you get angry if you are rebuffed. You try again differently. You keep trying until something clicks.

Many people concluded that one party was as evil as the other. Nothing has happened to change that. They have solid evidence of the one but no evidence that the alternative would be any better. They want gentle words, conciliation, honesty, and the middle ground or there is no point in voting.

Parties have failed us. In much of the country, no party can lay claim to more than a third of the registered voters. Not to mention the people who don’t think registration is worth the effort. Each party bears 50% of the responsibility for this. If they didn’t, one party would grow and the other would shrink. People in the middle really dislike parties. It can’t be just about parties.

It is just as bad to hate based on party membership (or non-membership) as it is to hate on any other stereotype. Ignore party membership. In fact we should specifically encourage moderates to run for election in both parties to give the weary center someone worth voting for.

The center is where the hope for the future is at. Don’t “dis” patriotism. Reclaim it.