An  American  Patriot

I am an American Patriot. Few would willingly argue against this statement, but what does it really mean? And how many hyphens do you need to narrow your definition to suit your own personal belief system? Are you African-American, Asian-American, a minority, an atheist, an immigrant - legal or not? Are you a socialist, fascist, communist? What type of government do you believe in? Democratic, representative, a monarchy, state controlled? Does a certain answer to one of those questions preclude you, or I, from actually being a real American? An American patriot? The answer is... yes.
Understand this. Our founding fathers prescribed certain pre-conditions and conditions for the founding and running of our nation and its government. We are supposed to be a "free" country governed by the people, for the people. This precludes being governed by a king or queen, or any other totalitarian or dictatorial leadership, including the state-knows-best approach. In fact the constitution limits the roles and responsibilities of the federal government to specifics as to what it can do, and specifically says, using the phrase "Congress shall pass no law" many times over, that Congress can not add powers for itself or change or impede on citizens' or states' rights. In fact the Bill of Rights was added post script only to make sure individual states did not pass laws violating these rights of the citizens that the authors of the original drafts considered 'automatic' or "self evident." But of course congress has done so anyway through 27 amendments and countless court interpretational rulings.
The point is if you adhere to pure democracy, are a communist, fascist, or monarchist, in their purest forms, you are anti-American - in your beliefs. Ouch! Too harsh? That doesn't mean you can't live here nor does it mean you're not an American. It just means you're not a patriot.
But wait a minute. Did I say democracy is un-American? Absolutely. Democracy is a transitional government at best, and in its purist form is nothing more than mob rule. To believe that one more than half of any groups' opinions or beliefs should be forced onto the entire group is, well, ridiculous. Democracy, like communism, is a grand concept that has repeatedly failed as a form of government. They are both great and failed experiments. Ask the ancient Romans, Greeks, twentieth century Russians, or laymen of current day China, or the starving masses of North Korea. The day to day or even generational whims of a simple majority are not always valid or sound for sustained legitimate government. Translation: might is not always right. Fifty-one percent of the people can be, and often are, simply put, wrong. A strong and free governed population must be a society of  free persons represented by an elected government protective of an established set of civil liberties and laws where change is possible but through a legal process that is slow moving and thereby not overly influenced by pulses of the moment. These laws must be protected by the representative government through checks and balances, and protective of the citizens governed. If a simple majority were the only stipulation needed for change or the lack thereof, many states in the USA might still have slavery, segregation, and worse. America was originally, specifically, intentionally, and blatantly set up NOT as a democracy, but as a republic. Unfortunately a good argument can be made that we are now in a transitional democracy and headed toward an oligarchy.  The more cynical and pessimistic among us would argue we in fact are already there. To understand the difference between a republic and a democracy watch this video (new window).
Are you a "natural" American? I didn't ask if you were born of the descendants of the original or indigenous peoples that lived in this land before there was a United States. I'm asking if you were born in these united states or its territories, or to the parent(s) of a citizen. If so, then you are a "natural" American. A natural-ized American is one who was not but who has become a citizen through legal channels. If neither is true to you then you are an alien, legal or not. "Alien" is not a bad word. It is merely a distinction between natural, naturalized, and neither. You must be one of the first two to be an American. But you could in theory be living here, legally or not, and be a patriot in your beliefs and conduct. Confusing? Not really.
Can I be an atheist and a patriot? Of course you can. The constitution guarantees you the freedom to pursue the religion of your choice, including the lack thereof, and the lack of persecution from your choice, with its clause and condition of the separation of church and state, even though it never suggested the omission of God from state. In fact it labels us a nation of and under God. And although the word democracy does not appear in the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, even once, references to morality, God, The Creator, divinity, and other God-like terms are used repeatedly. The intent was and is clear. Separation of church and state was meant to mean separation of organized religion and government. Not the forced elimination of all things religious from all things social, public, political, or even governmental.
African-American, Asian-American, Caucasian-American are all adjectives, nothing more. But a true patriot would probably distinguish his or herself an American first, with ethnicity secondary, as in American of African or Asian heritage. Semantics to be sure and I'm not suggesting you change how you classify yourself verbally so much as in how you think of yourself subconsciously. This country is in its infancy in terms of age and in comparison to other nations. As such we are not a true race of people, so much as we are a immigrant-fueled collusion of peoples brought together under a unique political and social belief system.
Are you a capitalist or socialist? The word capitalist has been misused to the point it is construed as a bad thing by many. But it too is not a bad word. It's just a distinction. It means you believe in free market, profit-driven, competitive business where hard work and sound practices lead to profits based on performance with no limits. Of course as success mounts the potential for abuses escalate. Socialism means that society as a whole is the beneficiary of what the state views as excesses by business through distortive and or redistributive wealth such as slanted taxation or tariff. Which is right? Both, of course. Capitalists should be free to maximize profits, and government should fairly tax and tariff the wealthiest for the protection and care of those in society who need help. Neither concept is wholly right or wrong until excesses are practiced. Government's sole role should be to monitor business to make sure it does not abuse the public good. It's a fine line between trying to maintain enough control over business practices to ensure fair competition and deter abuses to the public without controlling business practices as a whole. It's a constant balancing act. But in simplistic terms one must believe in capitalism to be a patriot. Without the drive to exceed beyond the norm, and the rewards that come with reaching that goal, one simply won't.
If all these points and counter points seem contradictory and complicated, it's because they often are. Fortunately for us the answers were figured out long ago and transcribed and recorded for posterity by a collective hoard of drunken geniuses (read more) in the master document of all documents. One that separated and still separates us from every government that ever came before or since. The U.S. Constitution. But as government swelled it began to neuter the constitution with amendments and laws that circumvented the original intents of the writings. Read more on the neutering of the constitution, and how far we have drifted from the intent of a federal government (as explained in the Federalist Papers).
Or read more patriotic prose here. But beware. Taking the red pill is a one way street. Can you handle the truth? Are you patriot enough?