Repairing Patriotism in a Post-Trump Nation

Photo by Max Letek // Unsplash

Published: November 19, 2020

Flashback to 2014, when I had a pair of sneakers with the American Flag proudly printed on the entire shoe. ‘Merica! I was studying at college in Muncie, known as Middletown, USA, where I’d happily adorn my feet with those silly shoes at each tailgate.

You see, in Indiana where corn field ridden lands had rivers cutting through them, we love to display our red, white, and blue flags where our ancestors once plowed land.

Snap forward to January 2020, and those shoes are sitting in the back of my closet. Together as a pair, they anticipate the day to wrap around my feet once more. Why hadn’t I brought them out? The answer wasn’t hard to identify.

My sense of patriotism was murdered. Shot dead, one slick bullet right through its nonexistent skull. Execution Style.

But now, my patriotic spirit is taking small, shallow breaths. I’m still wondering, how can the United States repair its Patriotism in a post-Trumpism nation?

  • Remembering What Patriotism Is

  • How It Broke

  • The Road to a Common Place

  • What We Can Learn from History

I lost my sense of Patriotism after 2016’s election.

Remembering What Patriotism Is

Merriam-Webster defines Patriotism as a “love for or devotion to one’s country”. You might have felt this when it seemed like we were leading global efforts concerning democracy, freedom, and human rights. And according to Congressional Research Service, that was the case.

But then, something happened. Our nation went through a phase of enlightenment. Where all of our shadows  were cast into light and it faced us with our demons; floating right in front of our eyes.

How It Broke

In 2016, some Americans like myself felt as though the country I loved and was proud to call home chose darkness. I felt like we chose someone who would grab my pussy at any given time; because it was now his country, and he felt he could do what he wanted with it.

Then, in 2020, we saw a glimmer of hope. But we still had to face the fact that 71 million people voted for bigotry and, arguably, racism. We witnessed our friends and family display their feelings toward the Black Lives Matter movement and other huge social media events this year. Not to mention, our leader pulled us out of some agreements to make the world a better place.

Photo by Jim Stapleton

The Road to a Common Place

After breaking our nation’s sense of Patriotism, all of us need to seek deep into ourselves to find the way back. How do we do that? We need to find a path where there is common ground.

As President-Elect Joe Biden says, we are “Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Progressives, moderates, and conservatives. Young and old. Urban, suburban and rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White. Latino. Asian. Native American.”

What do all of those types of people have in common? They’re human. And it’s time to start acting like we know this.

What We Can Learn from History

The Civil Rights movement started in the 1940s and “ended” in the 1960s. I use ended in quotations because I believe movements at this level never truly end. But there are several events that took place during these years that we can takeaway and learn, so we can get back to feeling prideful about our country.

  1. Activism Works, So Don’t Stay Silent

                           Clayborne Carson wrote, “mass protests and demonstrations at the local level gave political leverage and credibility to national leaders who spoke on behalf of African Americans.” Basically, it was the activism of locals that sparked results from policy makers and decisions made by the Supreme Court. Had those folks never spoke up, equality may not have been sought after. The lesson? I’ll let Dr. Martin Luther King explicate. 

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

  1. Changes Starts Small, Literally: Ruby Bridges

                            Ruby Bridges was just six years old when she was courageous enough to be the first Black child to attend a white school and desegregate. Ms. Bridges taught us, in 1960, that change can start small and in your town.

  1. Truth Can Spark Change

                            Once we know the truth about something, it’s hard to turn our backs on it. In 1955, Chicago’s Emmett Till was beaten to death for flirting with a white girl. A decision to have an open casket sparked a frenzy when Jet magazine published a photo of the boy’s body. However, this whirlpool of reaction turned international and more eyes were on the country’s Civil Rights Movement. Much like George Floyd, the man whose cry was heard around the world.

The road back to Patriotism is untraveled as of late. The trail is overgrown with bushes and wildlife. We’re all left wondering if we can feel the sense of unity our new administration is promising. Until then, we’ll all be repairing our own Patriotism in a post-Trump nation.

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