Redefining Patriotism into Action

What You Can Do in this Moment

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: times feel dark, but thereโ€™s a lot we can do to change things for the better. Talk, listen, volunteer, protest, vote, and hold leaders accountable.

Read on for moreโ€ฆ

Is anyone else feeling a National hangover?

Our barbecue pits are still smoking, you can still find damp red, white, and blue streamers in the streets, but something is different.

This week, we were asked to celebrate the birthday of a nation that is unraveling at the seams.

For many Americans, July 4th has already been a challenging holiday. For Black Americans, the United States has never lived up to its ideals. For Native Americans, the U.S. is a reminder of genocide and the loss of culture, history, and itโ€™s people. But for many White Americans, this July 4th was the first time they questioned their patriotism.

Itโ€™s no secret that the past 6 years have been challenging for many Americans. The Trump years, a deadly pandemic, an attempted coup that gets worse the more we know, constant mass shootings, and government inaction to our most important crisis has challenged a nation. These years have exposed the divide between those that are unquestioningly patriotic for the white America they want, those that know a better, more equitable and compassionate U.S. is possible, and those that just want to live their lives and ignore how government shapes it.

I understand the need to turn a blind eye to cope. These years have tested even the most grounded peopleโ€™s mental health. The constant news cycle is enough to want to move to a secluded farm and throw your phone out the window on the drive over.

But thatโ€™s not what our country needs right now. The right-wing authoritarian movement is not slowing down but only getting more brazen with reshaping the U.S. for white Christian wealthy men. With the federal government hobbled by the Senate filibuster and two stubborn Senators, itโ€™s nearly impossible to pass the legislation necessary to tackle voting rights, democracy reform, and other pressing needs. Only a massive movement for democracy including a blue sweep in the November elections can help turn the tides.

Patriotism has been warped by the right-wing. But patriotism is not about blindingly following a flag without question.

Patriotism, like love, is an action. Just as government is not in stasis, but constantly evolving, so must we be as citizens.

We cannot expect the change we want to see without action. ย It is showing up everyday to be in community with your fellow citizens. Itโ€™s challenging authority so that our government works for its people.

What do we do in this Moment?

Iโ€™ve heard this question by so many times over the last few weeks from friends, family, and activists. While many are still processing, thereโ€™s a need to know how to channel this energy of despair.

There are many pundits calling for calm. โ€œLetโ€™s all just calm down, itโ€™s not that bad. We need to get back to civility.โ€

This coming from the same people that called women hysterical when we said Roe would be overturned or said Trump wouldn't be that bad.

We were right then and weโ€™re right now.

Right now, the best solution is to be radically honest about what we are facing.

We canโ€™t tackle our countries greatest problems (systemic racism, climate crisis, gun crisis, etc) until we shore up our democracy. The right-wing are doing everything possible to manipulate our democracy and bend it to their will. We must restore and strengthen voting and our institutions.

Guide to Action

  1. Tell the truth (the media is more worried about appearing neutral than being honest about the authoritarian threat we face so we must step in)
  2. Listen with empathy (talk to your friends and family and listen to their concerns. Youโ€™ll be surprised how much they share.)
  3. Volunteer (find a local SwingLeft chapter and sign up to call voters or knock on doors)
  4. Protest (sustained protest is what is required. Sustained protest has proven to work nearly every time)
  5. Vote (vote blue to protest the dangerous turn the GOP has taken)
  6. Hold leaders accountable (not all senators are open to abolishing the filibuster. If your in California, call Diane Feinsteinโ€™s office and tell her we need to reform the filibuster to pass legislation)

Patriotism to me is about the constant quest to better our country.

While these years have tried and tested me, I am resolved to fighting back. We can build a democracy that works for and supports everyone. We just need a mass movement to turn the tides in our country.

๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


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