Finding Beneficence: For Love of Country
Between the times of 6:32 and 6:49 a.m. on Wednesday, President Donald Trump retweeted three videos depicting possible Muslim aggression. One of which involved the beatings and possible murders of two individuals.
It is unclear if President Trump reposted the videos in an attempt to denounce Muslim culture or any other minority. Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that he was advocating for stronger borders, declaring that people of this type of radicalism cannot and will not be accepted into the country.
Regardless of his intentions on Wednesday, and through nearly all of his actions, President Trump has proven himself to represent a darker side of American culture, a side of intolerance, judgement and hatred.
Our country has problems, there’s no denying that. At times it seems as though the world has been set on fire, and all we can do is watch it burn. But regardless of the hardship and our worst days, there is one fact that will not change.
I love this country.
This country has the ability to stand up for more. We have the ability to reach for something greater, an idea of what we can be tomorrow.
That’s what makes us American. Out of everything that we identify ourselves with, be it white, black, gay, straight, male, female or anything else, this is what makes us who we are. We have the ability to wake up each and everyday and declare that we will fight for our fellow countrymen, regardless if they disagree with us or not.
Being American does not include your race, religion, politics or sexuality. Being American means that you are here to stand up for what is right.
That’s what it means to be American. It means you are willing to lay your life on the line for someone else to say that your point of view is wrong.
It is our duty to protect our country, to make our home better for all and to respect the freedom of speech, press, the right to assemble, to petition the government and to peacefully protest.
Those ideas are at the core of who we are.
The people protesting by kneeling during the national anthem are doing something more American than anyone else.
Men and women speaking out against sexual assault, harassment and violence are defining what it means to express courage as an American.
These people are stating, boldly and clearly, that this nation is not what it can be. This nation is not what it should be.
America is greater than this.
The only disgrace to this country and its flag is not paying attention to our failures. It is despicable to silence the voices and rights of entire cultures that are as American as anyone else.
I love this country, but I will not give it a pass.
The flag that we honor means nothing if we are not behind it everyday declaring that it has meaning. Without believing those core values of who we are, that someone has the right to protest the flag if they feel so inclined, the American flag has no meaning.
Some of the people in my hometown, and others all throughout this nation, follow our leaders and our flag without question. It is not only our right, but our duty as American citizens, to question those in power and things such as our flag. Because if that flag, three colors that represent the sacrifice, honor and loyalty to our nation, no longer stands for people of color or any other minority, it means nothing.
There is no loyalty or honor in the discrimination of any person, black, white, gay, straight, Jew, Muslim or impoverished.
If our flag doesn’t stand for all, it doesn’t stand for anyone.
It is un-American to not believe in these things, to stand silently as you scroll on your phone.
It is American to stand up for what is right.
It is American to protest.