I occasionally get emails from people who tell me that I hate America. They tell me that I’m destroying our country, and that the world would be better off if I would just go live in some Communist nation.

These people equate love of America with allegiance to the government, and patriotism with loyalty to their favorite politicians. Sometimes people tell me that they wish I would be thrown out of the country, tried for treason, or even executed.

Here’s a common example (spelling and all):

your a traitor and should be executed just like your friend sadaam

The words differ from email to email, but the overall theme stays the same. Why do you hate America? Why are you such a racist? or, Why do you love “the terrorists?”

The most common, though, is what I call the “get out” email; if you don’t like it, you should just leave.

To me, this type of position is one of weakness. Don’t stand up for what you believe in. When you don’t like things, don’t try to change them. Instead of speaking out, run away.

Utter weakness.

Like this note from “Tom”:

Why don’t you go to some other country and live? You obviously don’t appreciate what you have here.

Or this short and sweet email from “FREE MAN”

MOVE TO CUBA

I often wonder if people like Tom or the free man would run away if they opposed the government’s policies, or would they obediently fall in line the way they want other people to do.

America: Love it or leave it; that’s what this type of person says.

Does this mean that anyone who rises in opposition to any federal act is a traitor and hates freedom?

Or, is it just one particular law, or one particular war? Or is it a different one, or the next one, or the one after that?

Is everyone who doesn’t like this massive government a communist or a fascist? Is it impossible for a person to love America and hate her policies at the same time?

Or, are we supposed to accept that every single person under every single government ever to exist – including the victims of murderers like Stalin, Mussolini, Nero or Napoleon – hated their country because they hated the government that oppressed them?

Unfortunately, some people identify with the methods of these dictators. Take this love letter I received from “Ken”:

Your web site SUCKS .You are all traders and if this was 1952, You would all be shot.Get real you pieces of shit.

To these people, being patriotic is nothing more than showing obedience to those in power. Did Ken think the same way when other presidents were in office?

As far as these government-lovers are concerned, to oppose the federal machine is to hate America. To stand up against politicians who press for more spending, for more invasions of privacy, or for more invasions of other countries – is traitorous.

But, on the other hand, to be a cheerleader for the bailouts, for the wars, spying, and torture is being a good, patriotic American.

Obey little one. Obey.

For them, the government people are America. The president is America. The NSA is America.

Every politician that they love and worship is America. And, if you don’t like it, you obviously hate America. You must be some kind of racist, or fascist, or whatever term they decide to label you with; and you’d rather be living in some foreign dictatorship.

It’s important to note, though, that most discussions on patriotism neglect the most important issue – what it really means to love America.

You see, I love America. I love the liberty that still does exist here. I refuse to live in a socialist dictatorship like Cuba.

But what is it that makes America great? Is it its multi-trillion dollar government? Is it its role as world Superpower or its self-proclaimed status as spreader of democracy? Is it the spying, or regulations, or bailouts?

Absolutely not.

I love liberty.

I love the Bill of Rights.

I love the freedom of speech

I love personal privacy and religious freedom.

I love habeas corpus and the jury trial.

These are just a few of the things that make America special; one-of-a-kind in the history of the world. It is liberty that is a direct cause of much of the prosperity this country has had. It is liberty that has driven millions and millions of people around the world to give up everything to come here.

Unfortunately, too many people in this country appear to have very little love for that America. They make is quite clear that they’re willing to abandon these ideals of liberty.

Arturo from Florida is one of those people:

dear idiot, sorry,mr idiot,
here’s a little background info; i’ve been in the car business for 9 years; the middle eastern’s are liars, cheats, and skates. They will steal from you every chance they get;unfortunately, are gov’t doesn’t get it and doesn’t know history; yes, we had the the right to invade iraq. now we need to pull out; why? b/c we do not know who we are dealing with and we don’t have the balls to slit their throats, b/c we are a civilized and the liberal media; you have to kill all these people like they would kill you

Sadly, these people are weak and afraid. They want the military to go out and kill whoever they’re afraid of. Others want the IRS to go out and collect money to pay for bailouts. And in both situations, these people want to get other people to do things they can’t or won’t – at the barrel of a gun.

They are cowards.

These violent cheerleaders may claim that they’re patriotic, but they’re willing to throw away everything that’s good about America.

They’re willing to give up our beloved liberties. They’re content to give the government the power to do whatever it wants. They assume, with complete naïveté, that doing so will never affect them. They berate free speech with the hope that they can shut up people who oppose their favorite government programs.

People like Tom, Ken, Arturo and the FREE MAN, whether out of fear or weakness, are willing to abandon the Constitution and turn this country into a police state.

So let me say it again. I love America. And – I’m not leaving.

The U.S. government seems to be preparing to control every person on earth. Here at home, they tell us what kind of plants we can grow and consume, how big our toilets can be, what kind of self-defense we can use. And around the rest of the world – well, the US government has been bullying and killing people everywhere for far too long

I vehemently oppose this, not because I hate this country. I oppose this because I love America. I love peace, I love other people, and I love liberty.

What will make this country truly great is not what the government will do, but what it won’t do. This country will be great when it stops taxing us into oblivion, and no longer wages aggressive wars. This country will be great when it never again takes people’s property without due process, spies on people, or tortures people. This country will be great when it no longer interferes with personal choice and peaceful behavior, and when it no longer interferes with free speech.

This country will finally achieve true greatness when it respects life and liberty.

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Love of, and hope for liberty, is what made America great. I fear that this hope is dying, but I still believe that the People can someday break this system of power and create a truly free society.

The fact that I receive far more supportive emails than the negative examples above gives me real hope. I’ll leave you with this inspiring note from Peter:

Truth may not be forceful – but it can heal. It can even repair a broken world. Truth poses no threat to anyone save those who rely on untruth as the cornerstone of their foundations. It is time to speak the truth- irrespective of who is listening or even has the ears to hear.

It certainly is time to speak the truth, and clearly, I’m not alone.

Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin and Facebook.

Concordia res parvae crescunt
Small things grow great by concord...

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