I was invited on a fishing trip this past weekend with a great bunch of fellows. I had an excellent time fishing (not much catching), eating, and playing a little cards and one night as we sat around one of the fellows uttered the phrase about Loving or Leaving your Country.
I was a guest and a newcomer so I didn’t say anything and the conversation did not persist. I was thinking about that statement as the night went on and the next day. I don’t like it for a number of reasons. Up until today I always argued that the Constitution of the United States is very clear that dissent is welcome. We have a number Articles and Amendments in the aforementioned document that state unequivocally that people are allowed to criticize their country, to even hate it, and express those opinions freely and without threat of arrest much less deportation.
I don’t disavow those thoughts and I think they are valid but I suddenly realized why the statement that you should love your country or leave it is so wrong.
How do we define who loves their country? That’s the question. And the answer tells us why the statement is so very wrong.
Is it someone who never criticizes their country? Then no one loves their country for we all have our complaints. Is it someone who proclaims they love their country? Then it has no meaning because anyone can say such a thing.
The reality is quite simple.
Anyone who disagrees with me about the policies of this country must not love it. Conversely, anyone who agrees with me is a patriot who loves their country.
What I’m really saying when I say love it or leave it is: Agree with me or go away, your opinion is not valid.
That statement shows a stupendous level of conceit and ego. I’m right, you’re wrong. I want anyone who doesn’t agree with me to pack up and leave the country. I want all votes to be unanimous in line with my opinion. I tolerate no dissent. I want total control.
Love it Leave it? Hardly.