Monthly Archives: June 2016

Thought Police in American Universities are Criminalizing Free Speech

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There is a policy on many social media websites against the use of “hate speech”. Those who seek to undermine our freedoms will go so far as to ban a user for life, if they ever engage in the amorphous practice of which one can be accused, but no one can explain.

Naturally, as is always the case with these draconian policies, no one can define what the term “hate speech” means. In principal, “hate speech” is supposed to mean words which encourage direct, plausible and immediate threats of physical harm to a person or group of people. In practice, “hate speech” is typically defined as words which feel hurtful or offensive to an overly-sensitive group of spineless pansies.

America was founded on the ideal of different races and religions and creeds uniting to live in peace and harmony. Most important of all, our great nation was forged upon the idea that we can have open dialogs and the irrevocable freedom to speak our minds; and most important of all, to debate and disagree. For it is within the turmoil of opposing viewpoints that we most rapidly educate and improve ourselves and advance as human beings. We need conflict. We need dissent. That is what helps us to excel. A culture devoid of opposing ideologies is a nation which stagnates and dies. Conformity and obedience are the death knell of prosperity. We are a country of pioneers and rebels. It’s high time we start acting like it again.

Hate speech should never be encouraged or condoned, but it must always be permitted. Morally, hate speech can never be criminalized and any organization with policies against hate speech is in direct violation of the Bill of Rights. For what society deems dissent today could be construed as hate tomorrow.

Don’t believe me? Think I’m exaggerating? New York City is doing it right now. Corrupt government officials are bragging about it on government websites.

In New York City, they have violated freedom of speech in the most fascist way you can imagine. Violations of the New York City Human Rights Law could result in civil penalties of up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct. One of those violations is intentionally failing to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title. For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman “him” or “Mr.” when she has made it clear that she prefers female pronouns and a female title.

Have you ever seen these lists of so-called “gender pronouns”? Zir. Xem. I can’t even pronounce half this shit. You know why I can’t pronounce it? BECAUSE THEY AREN’T FUCKING WORDS! Based upon this new law, in New York City, if some lunatic gets mad at you because you neglected to address them by some unpronounceable fictional pronoun they invented that morning, you could face a quarter-of-a-million-dollar fine!? What kind of bizarre alternate universe did I wake up in? You can’t just make up new vocabulary words and sue people for not using them! Are these legislators grown adults, or are they 5 years old.

That’s right. If a mentally ill person, afflicted with gender dysphoria, gets mad because you keep calling Bruce Jenner a man, you could be arrested and fined $250,000. These New York lawmakers are guilty of treason for violating The Bill of Rights. They are telling you what to say. How to speak. What is permitted. What is not. Stealing your freedom one layer at a time. Controlling behavior. Controlling speech. Controlling thought. Just like every tyrant and dictator in history. When will the same laws come to your city? When will your friends and family start to get hauled off to jail because someone didn’t like what they had to say?

I have gay friends who are terrified of these laws because they are smart enough to see that homosexuals are just being used as pawns in a much larger game that will eventually silence everyone.

Personally, I would never seek to censor anyone simply because I disagree with them. Have you ever heard of Laci Green, Franchesca Ramsey, or Anita Sarkeesian? They are women who preach racist and misandrist messages on YouTube and MTV while giving horribly divisive advice to young kids about sexuality and ethnicity. Most of what these women preach is misguided at best and hatefully immoral at worst. Although I disagree with these ladies vehemently on nearly every opinion they express, I would be furious, and jump to their defense immediately, if anyone ever tried to silence or censor them. Although I have no respect for their viewpoints, I deeply respect their freedom to express those views. Silencing such people, hateful as they are, would never be justified. Their disciples, having no reverence for the First Amendment, would never reciprocate my attitude. Disagree with them, and their minions want to silence you.

Sadly this attitude of oppressing opinions is starting to fester across college campuses all over our country. Universities, once the very bastion and beacon of debates and the free flow of ideas have become prisons guarded by the fascism of thought police. They are ruled by the cultists of censorship and silencing those who fail to conform to the established agenda.

In 2013, Modesto Junior College in California campus police told student Robert Van Tuinen that he could not pass out copies of the United States Constitution outside the student center on Constitution Day, because he hadn’t been “approved” to do so. Since all police take an oath to uphold the Constitution, these police officers are all guilty of treason.

In 2014, Duke University began a campus program called “You Don’t Say” in an effort to suppress free speech by banning certain words deemed “offensive” or “disparaging” to specific categories of people.

In 2015, University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click, called for “muscle” to physically remove student reporter Mark Schierbecker for filming an encampment on school grounds, which was part of a protest that resulted in university president Tim Wolfe resigning over the handling of racial incidents on campus.

In 2016, a University of Texas at Austin police officer issued a citation against a preacher who was preaching off campus grounds because someone reported being offended by the preacher. When the preacher questioned the officer, explaining that his right to speak was protected by the First Amendment, the treasonous officer broke his oath to uphold the Constitution and thereby forfeit all of his authority when he replied, “It doesn’t matter, freedom of speech. Someone was offended, that’s against the law.”

Some of these tyrannical universities even have the audacity to designate so-called “Free Speech Zones” – tiny sections, cordoned off from the rest of the campus, where students may speak freely and exercise their First Amendment rights. Go look it up. I was astounded when I saw this. These aren’t schools in communist China or North Korea. These are American universities. It made me sick to my stomach. Every single square inch of our country has always been (and will always be) a Free Speech Zone! No one ever needs permits or authorization to speak their mind. Not on college campuses. Not on private property. Not anywhere. No citizen has the authority to revoke something in the Bill of Rights from another citizen. Despite what lies these braindead college administrators are teaching our kids, everything in the Bill of Rights applies in every square millimeter of this nation, including inside private homes, private businesses and private schools. That’s what the First Amendment means! Freedom of speech exists everywhere. Always. Yet American college students are being indoctrinated to believe that free speech must be sequestered to designated areas and the administration is acting as though they are doing the student body a favor. Any university in this country with a Free Speech Zone should have the entire administration brought up on criminal charges of treason.

The list goes on. Countless cases of schools and universities teaching the next generation to hate our freedom. Suppress thoughts. Silence speech. Bury opinions. Kids are being systematically brainwashed into thinking these oppressive practices are acceptable and even normal. Just like the Hitler Youth were conditioned to believe that Jews were not human beings, so too the crop of students in high school and college are being taught that our Constitution is outdated and illegitimate. They’re being taught socialism is a good idea, despite the fact that all socialist societies throughout history have crumbled over and over again, like the National Socialist German Workers Party and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Being too young to think for themselves and too weak to defy or question authority, these children blindly accept such lies, just like the Hitler Youth did in the 1930′s.

I’m not the only writer who feels threatened by this kind of censorship. J.K. Rowling, one of the most wealthy and widely-read authors of my generation, expressed the same sentiment, only a few days ago…

It is time to defy their rhetoric and stand up against those who seek the undermine the very foundations of our freedom. Voice your thoughts. Express your opinions. Never allow anyone to suppress your ideals. Speak out. Walk tall. Never forget that your viewpoints respecting ethical values and tradition and morality are the very foundation of what makes America the greatest nation in the history of all mankind. The enemy is no longer overseas. The enemy is now in our backyard. This is a war unlike any other we have fought before. This is a battle not to end tyranny or oppression, but to prevent it from taking hold. But when we win the day, we shall preserve the righteous character of liberty and freedom that will assure our fortitude for another 2 centuries, through truth, justice and the American Way.

The First Amendment & Censoring of Alpha Phi Sorority

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All my life, I’ve never been much into politics. I’m one of those people who is of the opinion that most politicians are corrupt, regardless of their political party affiliations, and much like Captain Malcom Reynolds, I see government as a system designed purely to get in a man’s way.

But I must admit, as time goes on and I spend more time upon this planet, that kind of corruption and undermining of freedom and liberty becomes more personal and more important.

As a novelist, I am obligated to care about freedom of speech and freedom of the press. After all, those ideals not only affect my writing, but the writing of every author I admire. As citizens of the United States of America, we must be willing to do anything to maintain those freedoms, up to and including sacrificing our lives or ending the lives of those who would rob us of those liberties. Patrick Henry famously said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” He should have said, “Give me liberty or meet your death.” That’s what America was built upon – the defiance of tyranny at any cost.

Some time back in the early 1990′s a very insidious and tyrannical movement began in these very United States of America. At first, it was considered a joke. A punchline. Something everyone made fun of. Today, it has gained the power to get kids expelled from school, parents to lose their jobs, families to shutter businesses, and soon it will result in innocent citizens being incarcerated.

I’m talking of course about “politically correct” agendas. This insidious ideology is disguised as being about “respecting people’s feelings” but that is a lie. The true agenda of these people is now coming to light. These are vile scumbags who seek to suppress and censor thoughts, ideas, and words which contradict their own beliefs. They confuse “empowerment” with “agreement”. The desire to feel “empowered” only exists among the weak. Those who possess genuine strength never yearn for validation.

The McCarthy trials of the 1950′s were a time in this nation when we were righteously united against the threats of communism. People were singled out and blacklisted for being members of the Communist party. No freedom-loving American will ever permit a socialist or a communist to hold a political office in our democracy, so while the viciousness of McCarthyism may have been unconstitutional, the principal was absolutely justifiable. Ironically, most of the dirty hipsters of today condemn the evils of McCarthyism, while perpetuating the exact same kind of persecution upon any citizens who disagree with their views. Disagree with gay marriage or support the police or defend freedom of speech and you will be tried and convicted for treason against the dictatorship of liberalism.

Personally, that’s fine with me. Give me the rope. I’ll hang myself. I’d rather speak out and die than live forever as a slave to manipulative ideologies. Speaking out against the evils of “politically correct” bigotry is something I should have done long ago, but it reached a breaking point for me in August of 2015 with the controversy surrounding the recruitment video for the University of Alabama chapter of the sorority Alpha Phi. This video was shot and edited by a film student named Griffin Meyer and as a person who has done videography for a living myself, I have to say, Griffin Meyer landed the best gig ever.

Personally, I never went to college. I mean, sure, a couple classes at community college, but that doesn’t count. Community college isn’t a real school, that’s just an excuse for us poor kids to keep busy when we don’t know what the hell to do with our lives. I never went to a real college. And, as I was always one of the geeky weirdos and outcasts. Ordinarily, I’d never stick up for any Greek house. In high school, I would have hated Alpha Phi just on principal, knowing those girls would look at me with about as much affection as dogshit on their shoes.

However, when I saw that video from Alpha Phi, my whole attitude changed.

For the first time in my life, I was horribly jealous of their world of wealth and privilege. For the first time in my life, I wished I was handsome. I wished I was popular. For 4 minutes, I found myself wishing I could be part of that universe I will never know. I wanted to come from a family of influence. I wanted to be someone that had friends and was desired by gorgeous blond sorority girls instead of being a lone hermit.

Instead of being judgmental and condescending towards that world of prestige and beauty, I found myself yearning to be part of it. The parties. The laughter. The companionship. I desperately wished I was a dashing frat boy who was dating one of those girls. Or four or five of those girls. Or two? At least two. Come on, there are so many!

I digress, but I did wish I could be part of that.

And I was so happy for all those lovely young girls who had their whole lives ahead of them and will get to live that dream for real. All those dazzling ladies who will always have lives filled with love and friendship and success. Good for them.

That image the Alpha Phi women created was one of joy and innocence and companionship the likes of which I have never seen. What they created was truly beautiful. In our world of so much rage and hate and judgment, these women created a lovely collage of a life I can only dream of experiencing. By the end of the video, I found myself reeling; overjoyed for them and all the lifelong memories they were making.

Then it happened.

The unthinkable.

Like a bunch of deranged teenagers murdering a darling kitten, the “politically correct cult” swooped in and attacked Alpha Phi with a vengeance. They turned a beautiful video of love and friendship into something they could hate. Evil and pustulant demons crawled out of their gourmet coffeehouses and dared to accuse the sorority of racism and a lack of diversity. First of all, Alpha Phi is not a whites-only sorority. But did you know there are black sororities like Alpha Kappa Alpha. Asian sororities like Delta Phi Kappa. There is even Lambda Theta Alpha which is a Latina sorority. Why aren’t those sororities considered racist? Why doesn’t anyone say those organizations have a lack of diversity? The truth is simple – white people are the only ethnicity stupid enough to hate themselves for their skin color. Black pride? That’s fine. Brown pride? That’s okay. Yellow pride? No problem. Red pride? Perfectly acceptable. White pride? Whoa! Hang on! You’re racist!

What!?

In our culture, everyone is allowed to be proud of their skin color, unless you’re white. Voicing any pride in caucasian heritage is condemned, stupidly enough, mostly by fellow caucasians.

The latest trendy term for this unjust segregation is “white privilege”. These politically correct morons are so monumentally stupid, they think having an equivalent quantity of ethnicities represents diversity. Since Caucasians comprise 72% of the United States population, then it would actually be an accurate representation of diversity for 72% of the Alpha Phi girls to be white. Blacks represent about 17% of the population. Hispanics are only about 13% of the population. Insisting all minorities be portrayed with equal numbers is not diversity – it’s a lie. Disproportionately smaller quantities of ethnic or social groups within a society do not deserve an equal quantity of representatives with all other groups – they deserve to be depicted via a ratio equivalent to their proportion in the culture. Duh.

And while we’re on this topic of the source of evil that attacked Alpha Phi in the form of socialist goosestepping femmes, Peggy McIntosh, a Caucasian women’s studies professor at Wellesley College is credited with coining the term “white privilege” in her 1988 essay with the misandrist title “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies.” Before I even researched that information, I knew with 100% certainty that an angry white femnazi invented that phrase. The phrase “white privilege” could only come from the mind of a hateful white feminist. No other demographic of people would ever think to invent such a term. No one on this earth hates white people more deeply than Caucasian feminists. These self-hating Valerie Solanas disciples are the only group of people in the history of the world who would ever invent a label to deride their own heritage. Where’s the empowerment in that?

True white privilege is men, women and children who behave with dignified grace in the face of adversity. Never resorting to looting or rioting just because life has beaten them down. Never blaming others for the mess they are in. Possessing that kind of self-respect is indeed a privilege that not all ethnicities are noble enough to exemplify.

Back to the lovely ladies of Alpha Phi, their video contains no nudity. There are no derogatory comments made against anyone due to their ethnicity or religious background. There are no offensive symbols or logos or gestures. No one is portrayed doing anything illicit or illegal. No one is saying anything hateful or slanderous against anyone. No one utters any crude or inappropriate language. So, tell me, what kind of a braindead piece of rotten-elephant-jism finds that video offensive? You have to be a truly worthless sack of garbage with unscrupulous morals and perverse values if you think that film was in any way inappropriate. Do hideous liberal Marxist whores just jump on the Internet looking to deride anything that shows decent and wholesome facets of Americana? When I see this video, I just see an endearing house full of downhome country girls in Alabama. Ladies I can take to the shooting range because their daddy taught them to use a shotgun and out to a fancy dinner because their momma taught them to be a lady. Anyone offended by that is a diarrhea-soup-eating communist.

Worst of all, their own university betrayed them! The Associate Vice President for University Relations (which is just an egocentric way of saying PR) Deborah M. Lane fell prey to the pressures of the social justice warriors and she condemned the video, saying, “This video is not reflective of UA’s expectations for student organizations to be responsible digital citizens.” What in the name of Mother Theresa’s skidmarks does that even mean? Responsible digital citizens? What kind of a fustian phrase is that? So now it’s irresponsible to show a video of sorority girls laughing and enjoying each others company? Really? Is that was these politically correct bags of vomit are teaching college students? To celebrate life is irresponsible?

The video was fantastic. If I were a father sending my daughter to the University of Alabama, I’d be proud of her if she became an Alpha Phi. At least I know she’d be living her life with some joy and positive friendships.

A.L.Bailey wrote a scathing article saying, “The video lacks any mention of core ideals or service and philanthropy efforts. It lacks substance but boasts bodies. It’s the kind of thing that subconsciously educates young men on how to perceive, and subsequently treat, women in their lives. It’s the kind of thing I never want my young daughters to see or emulate.”

Who does that judgmental bigot think she is? And since when do legitimate journalists interject their parenting practices into a news article? Ugly feminists have always tried to brainwash women with the same disempowering rhetoric: Beautiful women are obligated to suppress their beauty, otherwise men will never show women any respect. Not only is this an infantile and ignorant view of feminine sexuality, it is an insult to both men and women. These grotesque feminists demand attractive women hide their looks and simultaneously imply all men are chauvinistic rapists, simply because they find a woman desirable. Militant worshipers of the SCUM Manifesto espouse sick and deranged opinions designed only to make women conform and subjugate themselves to hateful agendas of a monstrous matriarchy.

The most articulate retort I can vocalize against these misogynistic feminists is… Fuck those dumb broads.

If you’re a beautiful woman, you own that hotness, baby. You own it. Don’t let some haggard, do-rag-wearing, manly witch make you feel guilty about the fact that you’re good looking. These self-appointed feminist watchdogs are not my favorite people and I’m getting real tired of the excrement they constantly regurgitate about how they are “offended” or “triggered” by every petty statement they disagree with with. I called them misogynistic a moment ago, but I misspoke. Feminists are downright misanthropic. Feminists hate everybody. They hate beautiful women for being beautiful and they hate men just for being men.

Think about this for a moment – Muslim extremists wish to kill everyone unwilling to convert to Islam. Militant feminists wish to kill everyone who don’t match their genitals. How psychotic is that? At least the terrorists give you an escape route. Feminists show no mercy.

For A.L.Bailey to claim the Alpha Phi video lacks substance is a lie, proving she is the one with the inability to look beyond the shallow surface of appearances. The video glorifies sisterhood, camaraderie and companionship. These women are celebrating life and laughter. They carry themselves with grace and dignity. That is substance to anyone with some ethics. A.L.Bailey claims there was no expression of core ideals, but I can think of no core ideals greater than extolling the bonds of joy and friendship. And if that is going to teach young men how to perceive and treat women, I’d say Alpha Phi was resoundingly successful in portraying themselves with decorum.

This was it for me. After all these years of politically correct liberals trying to censor freedom of speech and control language and dictate what can be said, like some Stormtrooper Gestapo, I’ve had it. Something snapped. I’m done with these politically correct traitors to liberty. After the Alpha Phi incident, it’s time to call them out on their treason and keep calling them out.

Griffin Meyer was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter on 18 August 2015 by Katie Wilson Berg and Emmet McDermott where Griffin said:
“This video is not for politically sensitive adults who immediately associate eating a popsicle with sex. It’s a hyper-realistic video that’s supposed to evoke an emotion in the mind of an incoming freshman girl, so I don’t really care what adults think… I wish they left it on YouTube. By deleting the video it made the criticism seem legitimate and made it seem like something was actually wrong with the video.”

I couldn’t agree more, Griffin. You summarized it perfectly.

As for the women at Alpha Phi, I hope you will reconsider and repost your video. Or better yet, make many more like that one in the future. You did nothing wrong. What you did was beautiful. Forget that jerk Deborah Lane and her meaningless apology. Screw that nimrod A.L. Bailey who wrote the scathing Alabama Media Group article against you. Those women are beneath you. You are goddesses and they are cockroaches. You created something fun and joyful and positive and they had the audacity to belittle you for that? Those people are worthless. Ignore them. You ladies at Alpha Phi are better than they are. Don’t allow those inferior insects to dictate your life to you.

In fact, this is America. Don’t ever allow anyone to dictate your life to you.

Remember ladies, The Bill of Rights are not rights that were given to us by the government. The Bill of Rights are human rights that We the People demanded our government must obey, because those rights are universally applicable to every moment of our lives. The principals of freedom of speech always applies, not just to laws and regulations. The freedom extends to everyplace we might speak or write or express our thoughts and opinions. And those rights extend to every facet of our existence from our homes, to the Internet, to college campuses, to the steps of Washington D.C.

Those who sought to shame and censor Alpha Phi were wrong. They were wrong. They were immoral. They were unethical. They were traitors to America and our highest ideals of freedom.

There was nothing vapid or inappropriate with what Alpha Phi expressed. Never let anyone tell you ladies otherwise.

Why Patriotism Matters

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For a long time, my videos were never political in nature. The whole point of my InkShard blogs is to talk about the art of writing and storytelling and novels and fiction. However, as a writer, language is everything. Words and their meaning and the use of words is extraordinarily important. As one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain goes, “The difference between the right-word and the almost-right-word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

So, although I am usually not particularly interested in discussing political topics, I have started to notice how politics frequently uses language to spin agendas and I have become increasingly intrigued by this. The manipulation of words for political gain is brilliant at best and sinister at worst. Being fascinated with the meanings of words, I recently came across some famous quotes regarding patriotism and nationalism which I found intriguing. Personally, I have mistakenly seen those words as synonyms, but they really aren’t at all.

President Teddy Roosevelt said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

Former French president Charles de Gaulle summed it up best when he said, “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”

But let’s respect these two words with a little more attention.

To distinguish the words, let’s look at how they are defined in the dictionary.

Patriotism means, “devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty”.

Nationalism means, “the policy or doctrine of asserting the interests of one’s own nation viewed as separate from the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations”.

Nationalism means you’re zealous in your support of your government and advocate your military forcing your views on other countries.

Patriotism isn’t about subjugation or violence or dominance. Patriotism is being proud of the ideals of your nation.

I was wrong in thinking they are synonyms. In fact, ethically speaking, patriotism and nationalism are antonyms.

“Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.”
- Bertrand Russell

I discovered that quote when I was just out of high school. That is an interesting age in life. People tend to split into very distinctive mentalities in their late teens and early twenties. Some kids join the military and become very patriotic. Other kids begin to abhor warfare and idolize pacifism. From a sociological standpoint, it’s the first moment in your life when opinions about serious issues begin to form rifts between people who may have shared very similar values as children.

In June of 2006, Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks, was interviewed in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph and said, “I don’t understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don’t see why people care about patriotism.”

When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I would have agreed with her. I don’t feel that way anymore. But in my teens, I made the same mistake as a lot of kids: I had very liberal views. I’m ashamed of my former ignorance, but I’m man enough to admit my faults. I was naive and misinformed and thought I knew it all. I was wrong. I foolishly thought patriotism was a bad thing. I thought you should be proud of humanity and people, not pledging allegiance to nations and flags. When I was that age, I held to an idealism that we are all human beings. We should identify ourselves as human. Nationalities are irrelevant. No matter what our heritage or skin tone or language, we are all still people. First and foremost.

Years later, I realized the truth. I was mistaken.

Patriotism does not diminish our humanity. Patriotism does not prioritize nations above individuals. Most importantly, patriotism is not a willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons. Bertrand Russell was an idiot!

Patriotism means caring about your neighbors. Patriotism honors a collective brotherhood and sisterhood of citizens who live together upon the land and support and defend one another.

In my teens, I was young and foolhardy and I failed to realize the simple truth – flags and nations are symbols which represent their people. I took it all too literally. When we pledge allegiance to the flag, we are vowing to uphold the noble principals that flag represents. We honor the physical object because it symbolizes something greater. Even as a teenager, I would have thought that was a good thing. When I was a kid, I just never looked at it that way. No one explained it to me like that. I didn’t know any better.

Like most teenagers, I was too cynical. I was frustrated and angry because I saw all the problems and negativity associated with corrupt politics and shady military operations and injustices in the court system and I thought, “How could anyone be patriotic? There are so many bad politicians trying to take away our Constitutional rights and corporations who are outsourcing jobs to China or Mexico or India and throwing fellow Americans into the street. What is there to be proud of or patriotic about?”

I still see that today. As a computer developer, I see tons of unethical American companies hiring employees in foreign nations instead of hiring fellow Americans. These business owners are truly the scum of the earth; content to let their neighbors remain unemployed, just so they can line their own pockets with more money by hiring cheap labor in some third world backwater filth-hole of a country. I wouldn’t trust any of them any farther than I could spit in their eye.

When I presumed those sort of injustices had anything to do with patriotism, I was wrong. Very wrong.

Took me years to understand the simple truth. Patriotism isn’t about the politicians or the corporations or even the people of your country. Patriotism isn’t being proud of the mistakes your nation makes. Patriotism is being proud of the ideals your nation was founded upon and striving for the epitome of your greatness. Patriotism isn’t about ignoring the faults. Patriotism is about living up to the potential. In that sense, I firmly believe that despite her missteps, The United States of America truly is the greatest nation in the history of the human race. Why? What justifies such a boast? Because we are the only nation in all of human history to have defined our very existence upon the principals of individual freedom and sovereignty. No one else had ever attempted that before. Ever. We’re the only people who did that. Yes, we are imperfect. We have made mistakes. Our justice system fails sometimes. Our politicians pass unconstitutional laws. Our economic systems, repeatedly proven to be effective at self-correcting, do become tainted by greed. But our ideals of freedom and truth and justice, and a nation of the people and for the people, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, still make this a land of opportunity like no other.

That would be a great place to end this essay, but I do tend to ramble. Bear with me.

The collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City on the 11th of September 2001 was an event which made me truly understand patriotism for the first time. As I said, I’m not really interested in debating politics. Whether you believe official reports and mainstream media stories or you suspect ulterior motives and sinister conspiracies, there was one undeniable result that occurred within the psyche of the American people as a result of September 11th and that was a sense of national unity and camaraderie like I had never witnessed before. I finally understood the pride and patriotism my grandparents felt. What happened to our nation psychologically was exactly what happened to my grandparents generation on December 7th 1941.

Seeing our fellow Americans dying on live television did something to us. For the first time in my life, I saw the United States truly become united. We were no longer a nation of liberals and conservatives or blacks and whites or Republicans and Democrats. We were Americans. For the first time in my life, I felt the pride of patriotism. Because before that, all I ever saw was conflict. Bickering. Petty arguments. All the shallow and irrelevant fighting that made me so cynical against our culture. September 11th 2001 changed me forever. In the face of our shared tragedy, I saw that Americans did have the capacity to be United States. To care for each other. To support each other. To fight back when our brothers and sisters were slaughtered.

I don’t know if we were attacked by foreign or domestic terrorists that day. I don’t have those answers. But I do know, from firsthand experience, what the results were. And for me, I finally saw a glimpse of our aptitude for heroism. Our admirable ideals were manifest in the weeks that followed. Restoring my faith in humanity and making me see that this great nation fills me with an immense pride and patriotism. Because I saw how humane and caring our entire country became in the wake of that horrible day.

People all over the country left their jobs. Left their families. Traveled to New York City just to help. To volunteer. To give blood. To dig through the rubble. To do anything they could to comfort fellow citizens in need. In the weeks that followed, everyone all across the country was more kind to strangers. People spoke softer. People were more patient. More understanding. More compassionate. Because we all knew, that could have been our office. That could have been our building. That could have been you.

Seeing those people holding hands, and jumping from the windows so they wouldn’t burn to death, made us all remember how precious and fragile and sacred our limited time upon this earth really is. All we have, is each other. Caring for each other. Being decent and kind. Embracing a fellow human being as we end our lives together. Doing your best to face your death with grace and dignity. In those final seconds, you don’t care about money, or your career, or politics, or all the irrelevant social issues the media tries to make us think are important. All that matters is that this beloved quota of time we are blessed with upon this earth… is over.

After all those years, the rebellious teenager in me finally understood why patriotism matters. This is what Natalie Maines still hasn’t figured out.

Patriotism isn’t about flags or parades or salutes or national anthems. Patriotism, American patriotism, is about defending and taking pride in our undeniably noble and magnanimous ideals of liberty for all people. On occasion, we may falter, we may fail, but our principals of justice for all encompasses a foundation of ethics upon which every human being has dreamed of living since the dawn of mankind. Patriotism, especially in our great nation, matters because to exemplify our patriotism means we still have hope. We still believe in our dreams. We still strive to attain our highest truths and are beholden to personify our most righteous aspirations as a nation, as a people, and as men and women of America.

That is why every American citizen should be a patriot. Because patriotism is not about who we are. It’s about the virtuous principals we aspire to epitomize.

My fellow Americans, this is still the land of the free and the home of the brave, and here’s to our potential.