A Black Patriot
As a very young child in the sixties, I watched in confusion as people I didn’t know marched throughout the country, claiming they were fighting for my “Constitutional rights”. I didn’t understand. It was in Sunday school that I learned what those strangers were fighting for. There too, I was introduced to the writings of Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Langston Hughes and other Black Americans.
In my teenage years, I learned that by demanding their Constitutional rights my Elders had battled against and knocked down the mighty door that for over two centuries had kept most Blacks locked out of the American dream. In the process, they were labeled “Leftists”, “Socialists”, even “Communists”. Their grievances were distorted by the media. Their demands fell on deaf ears. They were blamed for incidents they had nothing to do with. They were called a threat to a free society… They were injured, jailed and murdered … Without due process… Without reason.
As I studied history, the Elders of my community were making history. People rose up, marched, fought, and died for the right to vote; the right to peaceably assemble; the right of due process…in short, they fought for the right to be Americans. Yes, they fought for themselves, but more importantly, they fought for their Posterity. I am a beneficiary of the Victory.
But what victory was won ? So-called “Black leaders” began preaching a new message: I no longer had to be responsible for myself. I could now lay the blame for my failures and shortcomings on “someone else” because my people had been oppressed for some 400 years. I no longer walked around the corner to attend the neighborhood school… racial quotas brought bussing and transported me to a school on the other side of town… a school that I never felt comfortable attending… a school no better than the one around the corner from my home. I no longer had to compete, affirmative action guaranteed my success but had the unfortunate side effect of stripping away my sense of purpose and removed the hurdles of life that bring maturity and create character.
I bought into the lie and with it came bitterness and resentment. I rambled through life on a reckless course of self-destruction and contributed to the decay of my community. And when I finally found myself behind bars, I realized for the first time where the blame belonged… the answer stared me in the face as I looked in the mirror at “someone else”. I had become the part of America my Elders had fought against. I had become a “slave” to the system, my own worst enemy.
I made a conscious decision to become part of the solution and stopped living in the problem. I sought out like-minded individuals; they called themselves “Patriots”. After lengthy discussions with Patriots across the country, I didn’t just join their movement, the Patriots joined me. But why me? Why am I a patriot? The Patriot / Militia movement uses the Constitution to battle against, and knock down the mighty door that for over two decades has kept most Americans locked out of the American dream.
We are called “radicals”, “extremists”, and even “fascists”. Our grievances are distorted by the media. Our demands fall on deaf ears. We are blamed for incidents we have nothing to do with. We are called a threat to a free society… We are injured, jailed and murdered… Without due process… Without reason. Sound familiar?
Why am I a Patriot? The murders of Vickie Weaver and her son at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, were a wake-up call for countless Americans. Then there was the unGodly atrocity of Waco, where nearly half of the 86 Christians who died a gruesome death of flames were Black Americans. Yes, I was outraged, but I was equally outraged when government forces fire-bombed an inner-city neighborhood of Philadelphia in 1985, killing 11… and then there are the countless murders and cover-ups by “law enforcement” that have become common-place in my community… long before the first shot was fired at Waco.
Why am I a Patriot? Foreign military troops, encamped and training on U.S. soil is reason enough for concern, however, I am much more concerned with our “law enforcement officers” who have received their training from the military. These “law enforcement officers” have recently become known as “peace officers”, a term all too similar to “peacekeeper” for my comfort. As they wage their “War on Drugs”, warrantless house-to-house searches by these “peace officers” have become a common occurrence in my community. I watch in disbelief as Black Americans -decedents of an enslaved people,-welcome (sometimes with celebration) this “military occupation” of our community. Some victory!
Why am I a Patriot ? I am a Patriot because many of our “Black leaders” advocate giving up a measure of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights “for a measure of security”. So much for the Constitutional rights our Elders fought for. Read the Constitution. Study it. Live it. It too is a part of our heritage. It is worth fighting for… dying for. Without it, I lose my right to vote; my right of free speech; my right to freely worship; my right of self defense; my right to be an American.
I am a Patriot, my brother… because I have no other choice.
Written by J.J. Johnson.