“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.” – Clarence Darrow

For weeks after terrorists used four hijacked jetliners to murder 2,977 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, the mood around the nation was somber. Those in New York held a vigil behind a black iron fence, dubbed the “grieving wall” at St. Paul’s Chapel, across Church Street from ground zero. They mourned together, waving American flags and singing patriotic songs about America, vowing to avenge the death of their fellow patriots.

That evening, 150 members of Congress came together on the steps of the capital to grieve for our nation during a time of great tragedy. Democrats and Republicans stood hand in hand in patriotic unity singing God Bless America in solidarity for their beloved motherland that had been the target of barbaric acts of Islamic terrorism. With tearing eyes, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said, “We in Congress stand united, and we stand together, to avenge these attacks on innocent Americans.”

That was only 21 years ago. Two decades can erase memories, flashing only snippets of the past across the mind’s eye. Many have forgotten the tragedy of those who lost their lives, trying to rescue their brothers and sisters from sure-fire death. They forget the smell, taste and the acrid air. And many forgot the pain, sorrow, anger, pride and, unfortunately, their brotherhood and patriotism.

After two decades, only the fear remains. This is not fear of another terrorist attack on America, or a fear lingering of the carnage that took place in our nation on Sept. 11, 2001. This is by far a much greater fear for our nation. It is a fear about what has happened to our country since 9/11.

“True patriotism is not manifested in bursts of emotion. It is a dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai Stevenson

During the ensuing decades after 9/11, this renewed patriotism was disrupted by two wars, a great recession, violent social and racial outbursts, five rancorous presidential elections, hateful partisan politics and a deadly pandemic. Today, if you say you are a patriot, you are a right wing extremist!

How did Americans go from rallying against an attack on our country on 9/11, to attacking anyone in our nation who claims to be a patriot and ascribes to the tenants of democratic republicanism?

The solidarity and resolve of 9/11 began to fray with the nation’s deep division over the war in Iraq as memories of these morbid attacks faded quickly. President George Bush, once applauded for retaliating against those who invaded our nation, was scorned by the left for invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

Patriotism was besieged under President Barack Obama by the IRS, who filtered through tax exempt applications looking for groups that had the words “Tea Party” and “Patriot” in their name. This was unethical, illegal and anti-American. This disgraceful act turned the word “patriot” into a partisan pejorative.

“These Tea party groups only call themselves patriots because of dislike for me.” – Barack Obama

Donald Trump, a patriot, ran for president on the premise of “Making America Great Again.” He was fed up with politicians and their party politics, and wished to give the government back to the people. He wanted Americans to prosper in the free markets as they had before politicians rationed liberty and freedom in the name of protecting them from themselves for their personal political gain. When Trump defeated the media’s queen bee, Hillary Clinton, on Election Eve 2016, political pundits around the U.S. were caught with their pants down. Liberal media did all that they could to destroy the character of Donald Trump and make him unelectable. Little did they know Trump was just what the middle class wanted and needed; a true patriot as their next president!

Everyone loved Trump the patriot and baron of industry, until he became Patriot President Trump. As promised, he put America first, cut middle class taxes and refused to allow the beltway politicians to place special interests over working Americans. As a result, Democrats made his life a living hell for four long years and labeled his brand of enthusiastic patriotism as anti-American.

No matter what your political views of Trump, he continues to be one of the most popular patriots in America today. Although Democrats and media tried to convince America that Trump committed crimes and espionage, those who love America will always defend America’s patriot.

“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice!” – Donald Trump

It is a depressing reflection on the left that President Joe Biden felt compelled to deliver a prime-time address in front of Constitution Hall, decrying Donald Trump supporters as guilty of political violence and anti-American. He demanded Americans “unite behind his party to defend democracy,” supporting his party’s partisan ideology and dogma to help the left save America from the GOP.

“Republicans represent an absolute extremism that threatens the core foundations of our Republic.” – Joe Biden

It is no accident that Biden staged his “soul of the nation” speech, filled with fierce condemnation of Republicans, just eight weeks before the midterms. Biden’s speech focused solely on denigrating Republicans, especially those who had supported Trump. There was nary a comment by him on the economy, out of control inflation, abortion, high gas prices or a broken supply chain.

Pounding his fists, Biden was wrong to conflate upholding the rule of law with his partisan agenda, which he called “the work of democracy.” He essentially said that a person is unpatriotic and un-American if they are a Republican or if they are against his far left all-progressive partisan policies.

When the word “patriot” becomes a pejorative, it is a sign of how much our national faith has been besmirched by hyper-partisan politics. Respect for the IRS has continued to decline since the word “patriot” was used to flag tax returns under Obama. It was a sad day for U.S. patriotism when those on the far left defamed American patriots and their military service as leaders for world imperialism.

Clint Eastwood told us, “A patriot puts his county first.” Patriotism is more than putting up a flag on a holiday, singing the national anthem or saying the pledge of allegiance at special events. It is staying involved in government to ensure that your rights and liberties are always protected. A true patriot stands up to government abuse, and defends government when they are doing what is right.

The very emotion that should unite us all as Americans is too often used as a wedge to divide us. On this 9/11, it is worth reflecting on the patriots who died during the terrorist attacks on our nation, and how Americans came together to honor and mourn them that day. Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11, will make all our bitter political battles seem small and self-indulgent.

“The patriot subordinates himself to his State in order to raise it above all other States to find his personal sacrifice repaid with interest through the greatness of his motherland.” – Richard Wagner

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