Random Thoughts: Patriotism is the opposite of what happened on Jan. 6


By Travis Mounts, managing editor

On Monday, a far-right militia member named Guy Reffitt was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison. It is the longest sentence handed out so far in the attempted insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.
The sentence is just over seven years, but is roughly half of the 15 years that federal prosecutors asked for. Unlike many other insurrectionists, Reffitt went to trial. He was found guilty in March of five criminal.
Reffitt offered an apology on Monday, but the judge called it “half-hearted.”
“What he and others who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 did is the antithesis of patriotism,” said Judge Dabney Friedrich.
Hear, hear.
The word “patriot” has been co-opted by people who see only themselves as “true Americans,” and anybody who does not agree with them as anti-American or somehow less committed to the United States.
Let’s be clear about something. Any true patriot puts their country ahead of their party, their candidate or themselves. Anything else is an abuse of the word “patriot.”
It’s one thing to be a strong advocate of your party’s position. Blind loyalty, however, is a disservice to all Americans.
The institutions of our country are a major reason why our country has been a global leader since early in the 20th Century. Our flaws, like Jim Crow laws and segregation in the last century, are not to be glossed over. Despite those flaws, we helped set a standard for democracy and stability.
At the core of that stability was the peaceful transfer of power. It was sacred to both Republicans and Democrats.
But on Jan. 6, that stability took a major hit. A small but significant group of people ignored the November 2020 election results. They were more committed to a candidate than to country.
And they turned to violence to get their way.
It was an affront to democracy, and an attack on the America that was built over the past 235 years.
Let’s be clear. The election was not fraudulent, despite the refusal by a great number of Americans to believe it. Every court case failed.
The Jan. 6 hearings are proving just how much of this insurrection was pre-planned. We are seeing that this was not just a rally that got out of hand. The hearings show that members of the previous administration and nationalist groups that were already prone to violence were making plans to subvert the election results.
It is un-American, and it is criminal.
And it is undemocratic. Our future is being determined right now. I have no idea how it will turn out. Politically, there seems to be little common ground.
If America is to continue as a functioning democracy, however, people and politicians will need to start putting country before their political identities, at least in terms of the most basic principles and functions of government.
Democracy must work for everybody, or it will work for nobody.
If you think that the government is only for you and like-minded people, however, you are not for democracy. And that means you are not for the America I grew up in.