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Perspective: What does it mean to be a patriot in 2022?

Art by Mo

What does it mean to be a patriot today?

Since the 1850s the word has periodically been used by some to create division. Patriot was used in hate speech. Patriotic symbols and language began to be used to mark people as “one of us and one of them.”

Some say they are patriots even as they use the American Flag as a weapon breaking into the capitol or while they walk its halls carrying a confederate flag. Doing this while trying to prevent the orderly transition of power. The ritual that is the bedrock of the democracy they claim to be protecting.

The majority of the Supreme Court believed they were protecting the constitution, even as they voted to take away a right that people have held for over 50 years.

Perhaps a test for a patriot is their commitment to the ideas written into our founding documents. “We the People . . . . . hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” “With liberty and justice for all.”

A patriot knows these words are not yet true for all who live in America and that these words require constant vigilance and action.

Ask am I willing to stand up for equality for all? Am I willing to do the work a pursuit of justice requires?

Am I willing to put the founding ideals in action?

I’m Dan Kenney, and that’s the way I see it.

Dan Kenney is a retired elementary school teacher and the founder of DeKalb County Community Gardens. He's also a published poet and writer.