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I am sometimes accused of being anti-American. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I love this country, and I love it enough to read, study, reflect, and meditate on it and the issues facing it and the American People. I am nobody special, just a prole, but as a citizen it is my job to put time into being a good citizen.

Being a patriot is more than a flag sticker on your car, or playing Toby Keith songs, and a hell of a lot more than yelling at people who point out some of the areas we as a nation are not doing so well. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t patriotism. True patriotism is like true love, it isn’t that you don’t see the flaws in the people you love, it is that you do see them, and you love them anyway. If you can, you help them attempt to improve on their flaws, but you love them unconditionally.

A group of people whose patriotism I admire very much are the Brazilians. I have lived for short periods of time in Brazil on two occasions. That first time was during a horrible economic crisis, with inflation of 971% that year. Brazilians are patriotic, not because they have the biggest military in the world, or the most economic power, but because they are Brazilians. They know where their country has problems, but they still love it. Brazilians use to tell me, “My country is third world, but it is mine.”

One of the great examples of this is in sports. It doesn’t matter what sport, or where it is, if a Brazilian is competing, you will find other Brazilians supporting him. It can be any sport, Judo, volleyball, even sailing. If they held a snow-cone making contest in Antarctica, you would find a group of screaming, dancing Brazilians, painted yellow and green, cheering on their guy. When you go and support your countrymen, win, lose, or draw, that is true patriotism.

Another great patriot was Socrates. He went about, exposing hypocrisy, and trying to get people to think. He was as he called himself, “a gadfly”, stirring the people to try to improve themselves, their people, and their city. He got himself the death sentence for that. I admire and in a small way, try to emulate the example of Socrates, that is part of the reason I write this blog. I will try to avoid the death sentence though.

The situation of this country is stark. Corporations have laid waste to our economy and our system of government, and along the way have convinced many people and politicians that the only way to fix it, is to give them even more power and free rein to do it again. The American people who still have jobs, are working longer, and getting less. They are yelling for more prisons, and more guns, to calm the fears put in their heads by a “free media” owned by corporations, that banks on ratings from fear-mongering and misinformation. The Americans that don’t have jobs anymore, are finding out that the chickens have come home to roost. Jobs, and manufacturing have all been sent overseas to China, so that the CEO’s can show a profit and get their bonuses. Many jobs are gone, and aren’t coming back, and we, the richest country in the world, have one of the worst support and unemployment systems of any first world country.

The glimmer of hope is this: we, the people of the United States of America, have the power to change it. The rights in our Bill of Rights, give us the power to speak, to assemble, and to make our representatives fix the problem, the way we want, and to do it now. We have those rights, and we still have time to use them, but the clock is ticking….

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