It’s a question that comes up all the time, but I noticed it a lot over the 4th of July holiday. Why does it even need to be a question? It is some kind of contest of who is more American, of who loves our great country more? You have one side who is brash, loud, and drapes themselves in the flag. The other side is more quiet, contemplative, and actually follows the tenets on the Statue of Liberty and in our Deceleration of Independence. Who is to say which side is more patriotic than the other?

One thing I know for sure is that liberals don’t question the patriotism of conservatives, we just question the type of patriotism they espouse. But conservatives question our actual patriotism all the time. I live in Seattle, that bastion of progressive values. But yes, we do have plenty of conservatives here. I even have a few in my place of work. And yesterday, back from a long holiday weekend, the conversation of  ‘Do liberals even celebrate the 4th?’ came up. Are you fucking kidding me?

A few highlights from the conversation were…’I think they celebrate by burning the flag’ and ‘they celebrate by yelling I hate America!’ and ‘they probably turn their backs on the fireworks’. While these comments were ostensibly made tongue-in-cheek, they come from a sincere place. Conservatives honestly do not believe that liberals are patriotic. If you’re not a gun-toting, bible-thumping, Muslim-hating, Trump-loving conservative, then by golly, you must hate America. I’m tired of this bullshit narrative.

What does the Statue of Liberty say?

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Who actually espouses these values? Who supports refugees and the least among us? Who wants to help the poor, the sick, the downtrodden? Who wants equality for all races, genders, sexual orientations? Who wants to build and maintain communities? Who wants us all to be in this together?

Not conservatives. The want to us to isolate ourselves, to block off our borders and deny access to people running from war torn countries. They want people thrown off health insurance rolls. They don’t want money put into education or community projects, even though they reap the benefits of them as well. They are the party of ‘I got mine so I don’t care about you getting yours!’ They don’t want to help the poor, they think being poor is just a state of mind. They would advocate civil war before they ever agreed to work with the other side.

Granted, there are a set of conservatives that are intelligent, compassionate and embarrassed as hell at the people who are in the group above. Well-meaning people who have a different opinion on policies, but understand the danger of Donald Trump and his ‘patriotic’ base.

That’s what I don’t get about these ‘Mericans’. If we don’t agree with their hateful rhetoric, we’re unpatriotic. I don’t believe a thing they believe in, yet I understand they love their country, just in a very different way than I do. Political party and patriotism are NOT mutually exclusive. Why can’t republicans understand that?