The Difference Between a Tea Party “Patriot” and a Real Patriot

patriotRepublicans are great at coining a term and using it over and over and over and over and – well you get the point.  It’s as if there’s a secret handbook only conservatives are given access to where they’re instructed which words to say and when to say them.  Rich people aren’t wealthy, they’re “job creators.”  Laws that legalize using religion to discriminate against others are “religious freedom” laws.  Even when it comes to patriotism they act as if they’re the only ones who are patriotic.  As if flying an American flag, putting a “God Bless America” bumper sticker on their vehicle and finishing sentences with “support our troops” instantly makes them patriotic.

It’s Propaganda 101, but they’re masters of it.  Though it’s easy to be a master of propaganda when you’ve conditioned those who support you to blindly support almost anything you say.

And while I don’t doubt some of these conservatives are true patriots, many of them aren’t anything close to being that.

A true patriot loves this country.  They want to make this country better for every American, not just those who look like them.  A real patriot might question our government, but they don’t hoard guns in anticipation of overthrowing it.  True patriots respect our military by only putting them in harm’s way if it’s absolutely necessary, not because they want something by which to try to define their presidency.

Real patriots respect the rights of all Americans, they don’t try to pass laws which aim to restrict the rights of those who they don’t feel should have certain rights.  Actual patriots realize that the best way to fix our government is to make sure it’s easier for every American to vote, not harder.

Genuine patriots understand that supporting our troops means supporting our troops, even after they’ve served their country and are trying to adapt to civilian life.  Authentic patriotism means understanding that being an American isn’t defined by skin color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, how many flags you own or how many guns you possess.

Patriotism means understanding that there’s no such thing as “traditional American values” because our Constitution was set up for a nation to evolve and grow as society evolves and grows.  It’s not always liking who’s president, but not actively rooting for their failure.

It means supporting our Constitution, even if it doesn’t support something you think should be constitutional – but isn’t.

Most tea party “patriots” don’t fall into any of those categories.  They say they love our Constitution, yet do everything they can to violate it whenever it doesn’t side with their personal beliefs.  They say they support our troops yet their party is the one that always sends them off to needless wars.  They brag about their love for America while hating most Americans.  They constantly harp on about standing for freedom while seeking to restrict the freedoms for those with which they disagree.

The only “patriotism” that’s found within most of these tea party “patriots” is found in the trinkets they own, like flags and bumper stickers, yet when it’s time to act like an actual patriot they don’t have the slightest clue what that actually means.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Altreg01

    Kind of like the bible…cherry pick the parts that suit you and ignore the rest. ‘Murica!!!

  • Sandy Greer

    While I agree with the gist of the article…I don’t question people’s patriotism.

    If they take up arms against this country, that is one thing.

    But a different POV? Even one antipathetic to my own? I’m going to give benefit of doubt – their beliefs are sincere as mine. I may not understand them – but they’ve got their reasons, same as me.

    Bush’s ‘with us or against us’ led us into LieRaq.

    Too easy, depending on who’s in power – to question Patriotism – and make the ‘other’ guy the ‘bad’ guy.

    Not The Right Thing, at all.

    • AEC

      There is honest belief, and there is hypocrisy. There is informed belief, and there is ignorance. There is rational belief, and there is insanity. Reasons can be truthful, accurate, and rational; or they can be fabricated, twisted, and just plain crazy. Yep, everyone has beliefs, and everyone has opinions. The mistake is to think that they’re all equally valid.

      • Sandy Greer

        All that is true. But doesn’t take away from what *I* said – that we don’t label unpatriotic the ‘other’ guy – simply for being the ‘other’ guy.

        Not even if he’s a hypocrite. Or ignorant. Or insane. Even twisted and crazy trolls don’t NECESSARILY equate to being unpatriotic. Unless we’re making an argument for Eugenics.

        >The mistake is to think that they’re all equally valid.

        ^^^It would be a mistake to think that’s what I said.

      • Vince Cannava II

        I believe the article is trying to shock the system of the “tea-partier” (as if they would read this type of article anyway). They are so focused on saving America they fail to think rationally or choose not to because it wouldn’t make them feel as good as blindly following their pied-piper. They want a religious – based , no-tax, no government system they don’t even have a clue whom that would actually benefit (Because in all likely hood it wouldn’t be them). While I think it would be a mistake to say that they are “bad people” I think that very clearly their shared political opinion *IS* unpatriotic. It also happens to be un-christian but thats another forum.
        Some of these people will never be reached because they’re proud of being ignorant. Still if common sense makes it to a few it could be worth the effort. All they have to do is consider a few ideas with an open mind and answer honestly.

      • buricco

        Saving America from, well, what America was meant to be…

      • theyak47

        so you’re saying they want to be serfs in a feudal society?

    • Alfred Mack

      Inciteful rhetoric is always dangerous. There is always someone who is going to believe the rubbish then try and run with it. Freedom of speech was not meant to be used to incite violence and that is what the TP goons want you to do. Hitler was a conservative and it turns out a super Fascist. Not a very nice guy but he could convince people to follow his evil agenda.

      • Sandy Greer

        You haven’t read my posts, if you think I run and follow where ‘TP goons’ lead.

  • u_go_guys

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    Oligarchists: “Testing. Testing. That went well. What next?”

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    The whole fiasco is a test by the oligarchs to find out how much and for how long they can wreak havoc on this front, before moving on to bigger confrontations in their agenda for stage their full blown coup d’état.

  • Kevin Nivek Murphy

    I believe too many people on the left are too passive in voicing and acting out against right wing bullies. We need to let the more passionate, aggressive progressives to stand in front and push the way forward, because there are too many passive, weak people now on the left who would rather let them still have a say and play nice and go golfing with these a’holes, when someone should have told them “You damaged this country, we are trying to fix it, either help us repair the damage, or get the hell out of our way!” So tired of the left trying to do good by not doing nothing or making speeches trying to appeal to the common good in selfish psychopaths. Of course they won’t listen, you cannot bargain with crazy, greedy, selfish people. You need to show them consequences for their actions, and in 6 years, these nuts have never got the pimpslap they so desperately need on the national stage.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      Probably because right wing bullies threaten to kill us.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        under the ersatz flag of “patriotism” ( see: lemmings)

      • suburbancuurmudgeon


      • moe/larry & curly keys

        did U see the jon stewart evisceration of HANNITY regarding hannitys view on the poacher/moocher bundy?

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Yup. Priceless.

  • Jim McDade

    Allen, In case you’re not already aware of it, get a copy of Thom Hartmann’s “Cracking the Code.” It explains very specifically how people like Gingrich and Frank Luntz did, in fact, write the book of codes to be used by conservatives when talking about specific political ideas and activities.

    • Pipercat

      It’s just simple merchandising, branding (if you will) and the like. Slogans, gimmicks and platitudes. Kinda pathetic when you think about it.

  • rossbro

    ‘Patriots’, my ass. All I hear is anti government wailing from people who mostly hid from the draft or were born later. The terrorists who were aiming at Government people in Nevada should be in jail with Bundy. His cattle and land should be sold to pay the past-due grazing fees .

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      There’s a good chance that will happen. Take pictures and names, then pick them off one by one.

  • Eleanor Clarkson

    Read the book The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer (google it for free). A retired professor from Canada he studied this behavior for over 30 years. It’s very important to understand what we are up against.

  • Terrie Watkins

    Having viewed some of the photos from this year’s Boston Marathon,I would say those people are real patriots- who support their nation and their community and each other.

  • 13bigdaddy13

    Excellent piece!

  • Guy Le’Douche

    Terrorists calling themselves Patriots. Check.

  • Kevin H.

    I could not have summed it up any better than this. Bravo!!!

  • MJ

    Every American that respects the constitution deserves it. Those that don’t can kindly leave this country under god!