What follows is a speech I gave to the counter Trump rally in Missoula a few weeks ago. I wanted to refresh this because following a decent national and state election and the growing concerns over the potential for Trump to completely hamstring the Mueller investigation, we need to understand the task before us. So here it is:
I have been thinking about what patriotism means and who holds the title of “patriot.” I do not pretend to be an expert in patriotism but as a combat veteran who wore the flag of this nation on my right shoulder for eight years there is something I need to tell everyone assembled here: you are all patriots. When I think about the brave men and women I served with in the military I also think about you brave souls with the same admiration. You have shown up day after day to fight for this country.
Across town there is an angry emperor with his few angry followers claiming they are the true patriots and we are an “angry liberal mob.” They wrap themselves in the flag and symbols of America to disguise their authoritarian, white nationalist ways. Their faked patriotism is a refuge meant to hide the scoundrels they truly are.
We cannot allow this to continue. The preamble to the Declaration of Independence closes with a sentence about what citizens should do if they see an evolving threat to American democracy, which the founders specifically cite as “despotism”:
“it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Hello, my fellow guards.
Patriotism is supposedly colored red, white, and blue but this American moment has involved so many other colors. The red and black of my comrades in the shadows. The rainbow flag of a community traumatized by the actions of this government. The intricate beadwork of our Native neighbors who have stood steadfast with us despite a historical knowledge of what illegal immigration really looks like.
My friends and neighbors of all colors—we now stand at the precipice of American democracy. A re-envisioned King George and his royal court hold two pillars of the American government and the third is on our ballots. The founders of this country put THE PEOPLE as the vanguard and now we need to find each other at this historical juncture. Today was meant to showcase our unity and our momentum has to continue forward.
One man, one woman, one prosecutor, one candidate is not going to save us. We have to save ourselves. This is our duty right now, as patriots.
Thank you all.