Patriot: one who loves and supports his or her country - Merriam-Webster.
Alleged American "patriots" have railed against the burning of the flag. They have screamed loudly against taking the knee during the national anthem. They have denied systemic racism. All for love of country.
Last week, these self-professed patriots desecrated the US Capitol - the symbol of our democracy. They came with pipe bombs, guns, batons, Molotov cocktails, and zip ties. They broke windows and doors, climbed the walls, stole property, and caused deaths. Thousands of them disrupted a constitutional process.
The President's daughter called them "American patriots".
Raise your hand if you are one.
Ah, I thought so!
We came to this country 40 years ago, motivated by achieving our dreams, rooted in a belief that the sky is the limit, offering good education, hard work and determination. Decades later, we can say with confidence that the country has allowed us to reinvent ourselves, given us incredible chances and our kids the ability to pursue their dreams.
Not that any of this is impossible to achieve elsewhere in the world; it is definitely easier here. And so, we have thrived in a self-made bubble imbibing the goodness.
To see followers of a madman act violently and willfully based on privilege afforded by race makes me suffocate. The failure to protect our institutions and processes transformed us into a strife-ridden country run by criminals. Men in power rallying the insurrectionists took us to chapters in history we swore never to visit.
The profound irony of the January 6th siege and the BLM protests in the summer lies in their roots. Both movements believe that the “system” has failed them. Both see rising up as the only way out. Each despises the other.
The differences could not be more stark.
One movement protested in the streets and fringe elements caused violence. Another movement in its entirety desecrated the Capitol and caused deaths.
One is grassroots, the other was incited by the President.
One has genuine grievances over decades of unethical, illegal, immoral behavior that is systemic in nature. The other rests on the scaffold of lies and a fictitious deep state sustained by a propaganda machine.
One has been marching for justice for as long as we can remember surrounded by riot gear. The other went to the Capitol armed to the hilt to overtake the government and got little pushback from police.
Yet, the perpetrators find equivalence.
Our bubble was pricked last week. Air went out and toxic fumes rushed in. The gash will repair when the law makers, law enforcers, and law upholders find courage to be true patriots and put the country back on the rails.
I am not giving up hope because I adore my bubble. But there's no denying that 75M supported the insurrector-in-chief. Frankly that shakes me to the core.
Prayers for this dark chapter to firmly recede into oblivion.
Photo from Reuters