When does patriotism become prejudice?



Gene Roddenberry, Creator of Star Trek said, “If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”

When differences are not accepted, we abuse the founding fathers’ dream of a truly integrated society, and weaken ourselves by not understanding our differences make us strong.

There seems to be a lot of Fear in society today; manifesting in attacks against others who are unlike us. Fear; a reaction to the unknown or what we have been taught is ‘bad’. Fear is cowardice. Fear has no place in a country of equals.

As the daughter of the American Indian who raised me, my heart aches for what has been done to the native people of this land. As the daughter of a former police officer my heart aches for those innocents who are killed in the line of duty. As the sister of those who were both Indian and African descent, my heart aches for all who receive unfair treatment, in any form, at the hand of fellow human beings.

Whenever we seek to elevate a set of human beings above another set of human beings, we devalue those who are not in the elevated set. My former pastor used to say, “Nobody act big, nobody act small, everybody act medium.” I get it; I am a veteran. I get it; veterans and police and fire risk their lives every day and some make the ultimate sacrifice. It is right to honor them — but to demand everyone honor them; is equivalent to raising them to the status of people that the American Revolution was fought to win freedom from.

We fought to be free from England’s ruling class’ system but nonetheless elevate those with fame, money, veteran status, police, firefighters, athletes, and singers. We have lost sight of the vision. EQUALITY is the foundation of this nation—nothing less.

Not all will recognize sacrifice, and it’s your right to say maybe they should, but it’s their right not to. We can’t deny, despite 200 plus years of this blended society concept—we still have a long way to go. It’s okay for Colin Kaepernick and others to bring that to light.

When respect is forced, it is not respect. When Patriotism is forced— you’re probably in North Korea or some other dictatorship. Protestors aren’t trying to belittle anyone, but to bring awareness of patterns and systems formed from years of prejudicial habit which make life more difficult for some than others.

It takes awareness and discipline to recognize we all have prejudice; and rigorous action to overcome and eliminate from our society. Denying it exists, doesn’t make it so. American’s need to elevate and respect some more than others can be a form of prejudice, and we should work to reduce it so that Equality can someday be a reality. pschmidt@mihomepaper.com

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