Every year I remember September 11th 2001. I remember that a major airline used the deaths of 3000 to cancel my retirement and that of thousands of others. I remember that banks and corporations used it as an excuse to loot the nation and tighten their hold on the government, and I remember that my government used it as an excuse to tighten control on the rest of us.
So when I see public officials from Paul Ryan to Barack Obama act mournful and reverent, sorry, not buying it.
As for the media? I find it obscene that the same media waving the 9-11 flag, broadcasting somber images then sold us an unnecessary war and a parade of false Presidents and ex-Presidents who are part of the 1% looting of the nation. That same media helped to sell us Donald Trump, Libertarians and Hillary Clinton
So where has patriotism gone? This country has turned it into a joke. It has turned it into a lie. To some degree it always was, in Declaring “all men are created equal,” only to enshrine the concept of 3/5ths a person for slaves, or to deny women the vote, or to codify Native Americans as savages.
But at least it made attempts in fits and starts to address the wrongs of the past. the complex simplicity of the constitution decentralized power sufficiently to empower agitators and sympathizers to a closer ascension towards egalitarian rather than libertarian or capitalist freedoms.
Now, to mask and further hugely obscene windfalls for a tiny minority the nation actively fights against acknowledging and correcting past and future mistakes, ignorances and injustices. It celebrates its own ignorance and ambivalence.
What has the impoverished Black, white and poor child to be patriotic about? What has the Muslim immigrant individually attacked and insulted for his or her faith have to be patriotic about? What does the student corralled into endless and crippling debt simply to get an education have to feel patriotic about?
Is the banker who forecloses unnecessarily on tens or hundreds of thousands of homeowners purely for profit any more or less patriotic? Is Bain capital, run by republican Mitt Romney patriotic for closing the profitable Sensata factory , decimating  for generations Freeport Illinois patriotic? Is the democrat CEO who used her congressman father’s influence to corner a market and then raised the cost of Epipens hundreds of dollars in order to pay herself millions patriotic?
Was Obama’s nakedly corporatist and fully undemocratic  end run to push TPP despite proof it will cripple national sovereignty, destroy jobs and further damage the environment Patriotic? In Chicago, is raising taxes to pay for massive sentiments police abuse of civil rights, only to blame the increase on schools and teachers patriotic? Are the corporations actively funding an effort to stop regulations that protect clean water and clean air, or protect consumers from safe products, or seek to limit settlements on those they a purposely and negligently injured or killed Patriotic? What patriotic act has Trump and his family done that has helped anyone but themselves, and those who forgive every transgression with intolerance and hero-worship zeal?
Did the DNC act patriotically in hand picking a candidate rather than fairly leaving it up to the people. Was Hillary’s assumption that the presidency was hers, like some sort of retirement party watch an act of patriotism? Likewise did those who tantrumed rightfully or wrongly over Bernie Sanders betrayal thinking patriotically when they stormed to opposition? And to a segment of the Press paid by or used by a foreign powers to sow discord, where is your patriotism? We know, however, that your loyalties lay only with the highest bidder.
If you want something to cherish and hold true, if you wish a country that people will want to be loyal and patriotic, corporate prisons, excessive taxation, bully religion, racism, looming environmental catastrophe, economic perversion and a national conversation spoiled by hate and lawyerism, minority, indigenous and immigrant rights, Militarism and, predatory capitalism all need to addressed with the same passion some in this country give to their gun. In the meantime, please don’t lecture me, or expect me to kneel for a pledge that is hollow or an anthem that rings empty, while using the wounded and dead and scarred veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, or those who perished on that September morning that you allowed to be wasted and squandered for a lie.
Patriotism isn’t a card trick to be played upon the gullible or the systemically mis-informed. patriotism does not spring from an ideal, but is instead based upon universal hopes and truths, not those who parcel it as trinkets and accusations. To be honest, I don’t pray for the dead.  I pray for a nation that would finds its better course if it cared for those who remain alive, and for a nation that has lost its way from hopelessness, despair and hypocritical justice at the bottom and from callous greed, dishonesty and inhumanity at the top.

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