Writing is a messy business, like working in a butcher shop. The meat and marrow fly, especially when controversial subjects are involved. For most of my life, I had little or no interest in politics. I lived in Arcata and wrote young adult multicultural books, G-rated screenplays, and running columns. The “cult” had brainwashed me into believing Democrats held the moral high ground. We were groovy, highly educated, soy-eating, spotted owl-loving, NRA-hating liberals. Heck, we were so upstanding we wouldn’t even listen to the opposition’s side of issues. Why bother? Republicans were stingy, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and lots of other nasty phobic stuff. I closely adhered to the party line and never disagreed with college administrators, Arcata politicians, newspaper editors, or others who “knew more than me.”

Then Donald Trump was elected president and I saw the light.

It started when I wrote a newspaper column entitled “I voted for Trump. Do you hate me?” (Times-Standard, Feb. 19, 2017, Page A4). The anger and disgust poured in. Lifelong friends jumped ship. Two of my children were so embarrassed they could barely speak to me. I became the mother of all losers. I can still taste the rage.

Lately there has been a great deal of “America bashing” from people who live here and from abroad. I’m the last to claim that the U.S. is perfect, but no country is flawless. My patriotism is rooted in an appreciation of the freedoms that all of us share. America was founded on the idea of every individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are a melting pot of people bound together by self-determination.

I’ve become even more patriotic since Trump took office. Why? I was tired of deceitful Washington representation. I’m pleased to see a competent leader step into the White House and make some badly needed changes.

I realize devotion to one’s country ruffles left-wing feathers, but I will always have a deep respect for the sacrifices made by those who risked everything for freedom. The U.S. has led the charge for human rights across the globe. We treat illegal immigrants quite well despite the laws that they break, and no country has done as much to give them hope for a better future. The wage in America is comparatively high to the rest of the world. And here’s another plus: in our country, things work. You have hot water in your tap, you can rely on public transport in many places, and even the poor have internet and other modern comforts.

I’m proud because America allowed my European grandparents to come here very poor and make a good living for themselves. Many other countries model their nation under the framework of the U.S. Constitution. People beg to live here.

In order for a society to survive it must share a common culture based on longstanding mutually accepted societal norms. In today’s angry-about-everything America there is little interest in unity. It’s about “divide and conquer.” Progressives aren’t happy with many aspects of our country, such as its current administration and political climate, its attitude towards border security, and the lack of universal healthcare.

Most of all, they cannot — will not! — tolerate anyone who supports the POTUS.

The idea of hyper-patriotism is largely a stereotype satirized by the left. I have not met one white man in my lifetime who is the “’Merica! Bacon! Guns! Freedom!” type of guy. The reason is because that person is not real. It is a prejudiced creation of closed-minded group of people with very simplistic viewpoints. There is no “typical” American, Democrat, Republican, white person, black person, and so on. Americans are built our optimism about the possibility of a better life for everyone. We may not be guaranteed a better life, but we are guaranteed the right to pursue it.

America has problems. One of them is giving the microphone to the self-loathing and lazy, weak-minded, politically correct among us when we should be booting them off the stage. Nothing outweighs the comfort I take in knowing that my kids are being raised in a land where they can pursue their own happiness. There are plenty of people who are still proud of this country, and I’m one of them. We are a work in progress. I’m happy I live in a nation that periodically reexamines itself and changes to meet the times.Americans are constantly striving to make things better. With the leadership of President Trump, I’m positive this will continue to happen.

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