There is a lot of talk these days about patriotism and dissent. Most Americans have confused Patriotism with Nationalism, though the two are often diametrically opposed. Waving a flag is Nationalism. Dissent is Patriotism. "My country, right or wrong" and "USA: Love it or Leave it" is Nationalism. Pointing out dangerous flaws in government policy is Patriotism. Telling people to "Shut up and get in line with the President" or "If you don't like it, move to France" is the antithesis of Democracy. For a better understanding of Dissent and Patriotism, I leave you with these words from some of the greatest patriots in history:
"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from the government.
- Thomas Paine
"A President is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution".
- President James Madison
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither."
- Ben Franklin
"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
- Samuel Adams
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
- Edmund Burke
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it."
- President Abraham Lincoln
"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce and brave man, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
- 'Mark Twain'
"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President."
- President Theodore Roosevelt
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
- President Theodore Roosevelt, 1912
"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
- James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
"So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy."
- Roger Baldwin
"Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion."
- Oscar Wilde
"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
- George Bernard Shaw
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Dr. Martin Luther King
"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."
- Haile Selassie
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.