I was listening to music today. Strange, that the song in question should be "All These Things that I Have Done", by The Killers.

I got soul, but I'm not a soldier.
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier.

Inspired by good music, I proceeded to read more about the band out of mere curiosity. I was lost in one of my moments, where I'm saturating myself with random knowledge, voraciously usurping all information offered to me.

Until I ran across a tidbit which scratched the proverbial record.

Flowers (lead singer of The Killers) has recently gone on record claiming that Green Day's politically driven concept album American Idiot displays "calculated anti-Americanism."

Maybe it's an overreaction, in fact, there's a good possibility I am overreacting to this statement. Except, for the last decade or so, people engaging in active political dissent (Note: Not subversion--dissent) have been branded as "unpatriotic", "treasonous", and "Anti-American", and I'm tired of it. The United States of America has prospered in the grand tradition of protest for most of its history. Protests have been a major vehicle of social change, from our revolutionary self-creation to abolitionist protests which instigated the American Civil War and proceeded to galvanize our loosely banded gathering of states into a complete and entire nation. Even more recently than this, though, protests of the disparity between classes of humanity have led us through the Civil Rights movement, and protests of unjust warfare became the genesis of the "American Renaissance", the greatest artistically creative period this country has ever known.

Before the onset of this millennium, it could have been argued, legitimately even, that protesting was not "Anti-American", rather entirely the converse. These were times, though, when America was under tremendous external pressure, as well as internal pressure. Our nation was still in a constant state of flux, and our government was changing rapidly to adapt and retain its domestic authority. Even our Constitution's rapid series of amendments in the 60's and early 70's demonstrated just how dynamic our governing policies were.

As an aside, the reason why our Constitution has endured such a duration is precisely because it is dynamic, not static. It is vague, purposely on two counts, so that it can fit the needs of this country without being overbearing, defaulting to states rights over federal power, and because it is only a mere framework upon which our government is to be built. The writers of the Constitution understood they would not be able to envision all scenarios, and so only defined the most basic of necessities constitutionally, allowing simple legislation to "flesh out" our government's needs. Simple legislation is far less permanent, and therefore can be altered more rapidly in the instance a change is needed.

The problem with this, however, is that we now have a Constitution which has performed brilliantly for more than 200 years. People have come to revere this document, and this reverence has the unintended and severe side effect of rendering it far more static than it needs to be. Our government, all of it, Flag, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence included, should never be revered. Remember, it works for us, it does our bidding, and we, as a collective people, are greater than our government. As soon as we forget this fact, and allow our government greater power than is specifically prescribed, our rights will most assuredly be infringed.

That was an awfully long aside, perhaps I should write a node of that nature, and just link to it next time... back to the original point.

Starting with this entire War on Terror, people have effectively become lemmings. We've fallen step-by-step into the mechanisms of our government, and been thoroughly blinded by its rhetoric. Rather than responding legitimately to the issues brought up by protest movements, our government is perfectly content with branding protesters as "unpatriotic" and the like, and people, under the misconception that the government is the ultimate authority on that issue, sort of... accept that, and move on.

I'm here to tell you, folks, what you've heard before, that the government only has as much power over us as we allow it to have. We need to ensure that we don't lose our voice. Patriotism takes many forms, and there is no man who loves this country more than I love this country.

Next time you hear someone brand a protester as "unpatriotic", offer up a rebuttal. Just ask...