Mr. Patriot

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Hello Mr. Patriot. Know that as you sit in your recliner, pat your belly and lick the remaining coffee flavor off your teeth, we see you. Well of course we do, who doesn't? You scroll through Facebook and see riots. You go to your posts with a purpose and put some heartfelt message about what Dr. Martin Luther King would have wanted. Yeah, you like the sound of that. He wouldn't have rioted, you know that for a fact. You hit that intoxicating post button and lean back, content that the world is changed. You are Mr. Patriot.

You feel like you are, and I can't blame you. You pay your taxes and go to work every day. You have a modest car and a dead-end job that you don't pay attention to. You have a flag outside that's touched the ground a few times but no reason to throw it away, right? That's just tradition, nobody saw it.

Back to Facebook. Oh geez, don't you ever get tired of that? Now, this is really upsetting you; there are people calling you racist! You're not a racist, your parent's generation were racists. You can't stand for that, you can't. So you calmly explain that you have plenty of black friends and even had a black girlfriend once. Look at you go, Mr. Patriot, you've defended yourself.

More of these riots and protests. If they wouldn't antagonize the police none of this would happen! You're sure of it. You sit in your armchair and see that more notifications pile on. What's the deal with race anyways? You don't see color. It's a culture thing, you've never had a problem with cops because you're always polite. Mr. Patriot, Mr. Polite. Hey, they sound close!

Pay attention here, Mr. Patriot. I'm almost done telling your life story. You see, we all know you're not a patriot despite your self-given title. Despite the flag, you don't care about, despite the distant family member in the armed forces, despite the .22 in your closet, and for sure, despite the shares on Facebook. We see through you, Mr. Patriot. The only message we have is don't speak to us about our country.

Don't speak about our country when you're not critical of it. Don't speak about our country when you don't acknowledge our faults. Don't speak about our country like it's yours when you can barely understand who died to give it to you. And finally, don't speak to us about our country if you can see an unarmed black man die at the hands of a white cop, over (Keith Childress) and over (Kevin Matthews) and over (Michael Noel) and over (Leroy Browning) and over (Nathaniel Pickett) and over (Cornelius Brown) and over (Jamar Clark) and over (Eric Garner) and over (Michael Brown) and over (George Floyd) and the first message you have is to defend a Target in Minneapolis. Don't speak to us about our country, Mr. Patriot. And oh, change your name.

Much appreciated,

The rest of the country.

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