Patriotism isn't about what you wear, or what you say, it's about loving your country enough to never allow it to fall short of its potential.
I’m frankly tired of watching people who are running for office walking around with American Flag lapel pins on their coats, as if that’s what it means to be a patriot. And I’m also tired of the people in our country believing that if someone doesn’t wear such a thing, they must not love their country.
Patriotism isn’t something you wear, or hang in front of your house, or stick on the back of your car. Patriotism is about what’s inside your heart. I’m running for congress because I love my country, and I hate what’s happening to it, and what’s happening to us.
I have the American Flag tattooed on me twice. Although the tattoo has faded some, it’s a tattoo of the original Betsy Ross American Flag crossed at the staffs with the modern version. I got this tattoo because I wanted to make sure I always remembered what this country was intended to be at its formation. I love my country, but I believe we’ve taken quite a few wrong turns over the course of time. I want to help fix those things.
I believe patriotism isn’t a matter of blindly following any politician, party, or government or its policies. Patriotism, properly expressed, is more like being a parent; the patriot is the parent, the country is the child.
When your child does the right thing, most parents gush with pride. Is there anything greater? Absolutely not. It’s the same thing with your country.
But when your child does something wrong, you correct your child. You correct your child quickly and as effectually as necessary in the hopes it won’t happen again. Because what if you don’t? We all know kids whose parents don’t do a good job of raising them, don’t we? They hit another kid, and the parent blames the other kid rather than reprimanding their own child, and things like that?
Nobody likes that kid, and nobody likes those parents.
You don’t correct your child because you hate your child. You correct your child because you love your child and you want your child to be the best person they can be. This is all the same thing with your country.
So, I reject the standard that a person has to wear an American Flag lapel pin in order to prove they’re a patriot. All they’re really proving is that they want you to believe they’re a patriot. I don’t know about you, but when I look at our government, with its tremendous corruption and greed, one thing’s pretty clear to me: Lapel pin or not, most of those people aren’t patriots.
Even the word “patriot” has been co-opted so often that it has almost completely lost its meaning. In my opinion, perhaps the least “patriotic” bill ever to be signed into law is the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act. They built a bill around that word in order to fool us into believing we should support it. And we fell for it. I believe true patriotism is something very deep and moving, and we’ve allowed it to be treated like something very shallow and petty.
And because of this, even though it may hurt me politically, I will not be going around trying to impress people with lapel pins or any other faux-patriotic trinkets. I just hope it will force enough people to look deeper into us all as candidates to see what truly lies in our hearts.