PROFILE OF A PATRIOT

Photo and effects by Jim Bauer copyright 2009
Photo and effects by Jim Bauer copyright 2009

On the front of my house I proudly fly the American flag. I love my country, and I love all of the freedoms my country allows me. Yeah, we all take those freedoms for granted at times. Even I'm guilty of that now and again, I'm not afraid to admit that. You wake up every morning with the ability to choose what you want to do, where you want to go, and how you want to get there, and you just think that's the way it is. That's the way it has always been. We forget about the things we learned in school about our history. We forget about the sacrifices men and women just like you and I made one day to keep the flag flying and keep our fellow Americans safe.

During the War of 1812 24,500 American lives were lost. We lost 110,000 union soldiers in the Civil War. Between WWI and WWII hundreds of thousands more Americans walked onto foreign soil and gave everything to their country. There was the Korean War, Vietnam, the first Gulf War and our present operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I joined the military during the first Gulf War. My sister did a tour in Iraq with the U.S. Air Force during Operation Desert Storm.

It's when I think of the wars we've fought as a nation, and the sacrifices made by the service men and women and their families, that gives me great pause when I hear Muslim's and Arabs in this country, and even Americans who were born here, get upset when anyone talks about profiling in our nation's airports.

"But I've got rights," I hear. "It's an invasion of my privacy." "Everyone should be treated equal in America." There's any number of arguments one can cite against the idea of profiling at our airport security checkpoints.

But I go back to those soldiers who died on the battlefields defending everything that is represented by the red, white, and blue stars and stripes we fly. What of their rights? Their pursuit of happiness? They went into battle for their country and gave it all up. Their families will never see them again except in their memories and old photos collecting dust in attics across the nation.

I respect the rights of every single American on our soil whether they were born here or legally immigrated here. But aren't we patriots? Isn't being American more than just having a set of rights or having the freedoms we enjoy? Isn't it more than just flying the flag on the front of your house?

I get that we don't want to alienate the Muslims and the Arabs who have come here. No one wants to be singled out for who they are. I get that too. And no, we don't want to make anyone who wishes to make America their home feel unwanted or as outsiders. But why did they come here in the first place? Didn't they want to become Americans? Didn't they see that American flag waving majestic and proud and have the same feelings conjured up as we do? Do they know the history of this great nation and how it came to be a free and great nation?

There are sacrifices that we have to make as a nation sometimes. Those sacrifices are hard. Sometimes they are painful. And sometimes they are permanent. Each and every day brave men and women put themselves in harm's way to make the country better. To make the country safe. To offer meaning and purpose to the American flag, the Constitution, and the freedoms of the people they represent.

In a way, isn't it the patriotic thing to do as an American Muslim to be willing to step aside for the safety of his fellow Americans and say "I'm willing to give a few extra minutes of my time just to be sure?" Is it a violation of rights? Is it an invasion of privacy?

Or is it simply a contribution to country?

We're all Americans here. We've all had things that we've had to give up since those two towers came down on September 11, 2001. We've all made sacrifices. And some of our freedoms too have been compromised.

And when you get right down to it, isn't profiling already happening? Aren't all Americans being profiled every day by the enemy? By the terrorists who wish to kill us? If an American soldier walks down the streets in Yemen, won't he be profiled as an American? What of a contractor who works in Iraq or in Afghanistan in rebuilding efforts? Isn't he made a target by the flag he flies? By the color of his skin? By his ideology or his religion?

That's profiling just as much as it is at an airport security checkpoint.

If I were a Muslim American who was profiled, I would not feel ashamed or violated. I would feel proud that I have made an important, and patriotic contribution to my country. It's a sacrifice I could live with.

Do you feel we should be profiling at airport security checkpoints?

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Comments 25 comments

maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

Your last paragraph captures my thoughts precisely...I would point you to a remarkable ( and prescient ) speech by Teddy Roosevelt in France , 1910: http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech...

This speech, The Man in The Arena, is full of the responsibilities and duties of an American citizen...Should be memorized and discussed by all high school students...Thank you for this insightful Hub...Larry


Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

Wonderful Hub and very well spokin. I appreciate your thoughts !!!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Sadly Maven, I have not read that speech. Perhaps if it were a part of the curriculum that would not be the case. It is poignant to say the least, and so true. I've decided to link it and thank you for pointing me to it.

Army Infantry Mom, thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your kind words. Thanks as well is owed to your son or daughter serving.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

You are certainly passionate about your stance, Springboard and you brought up some very good points. I share with you in your humble opinion. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

Dohn


ehern33 profile image

ehern33 6 years ago

I couldn't agree with you more. This PC is leading us down a road of no return. You are passionate in your writing and look forward to reading more. Just became your fan.


William R. Wilson profile image

William R. Wilson 6 years ago from Knoxville, TN

There is one simple reason not to profile: it will not work.

It will only make it easier for the terrorists. Start profiling Arabic people, Al Qaeda will send Muslims who look Asian. Add Asians to the list, Al Qaeda will send African Muslims. Add Africans to the list, Al Qaeda will send white skinned Chechens.

There is no way to profile based on skin color.

And what about Christian terrorists? (Tim McVeigh).


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I think there are a lot of arguments for profiling and its effectiveness. It's not a perfect science, nothing really is. Police departments say they don't do it, but we all know they do—and they often times catch real criminals in the process. The FBI uses it to help them narrow down serial killers.

It's not even just about skin color, but rather myriad other factors such as where is the person originating from, is it a place known to have terrorist cells? Is the person a Muslim or an Arab? Middle Eastern? Does he have a one way ticket and no luggage? Is he carrying a Koran?

Again, I don't like the idea of having to single anyone out, but I think we also cannot simply do nothing and expect the problem to go away. Political correctness will get us killed to be sure, and the terrorist activities are getting more frequent recently.

As for Tim McVeigh, the Unibomber, and other such individuals, they were terrorists, but we're talking about the ones who get on our planes to use as weapons; like the ones on 911. Like Reid. Like this Nigerian fellow.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Fantastic hub. You are speaking the kind of straightforward truth that we all need to hear more often. Well done! As for profiling, it is a technique for rooting out those among us who pose a danger. It is good police work, plain and simple.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

well thought out, and well written. Stumbled Upon and Bookmarked.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Thanks Rebecca. I appreciate it. :)


Lily Rose profile image

Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast

I wholeheartedly agree with you and your opinion of profiling. There's a lot involved other than skin color and it is a very important tool used by many forms of law enforcement to find and arrest criminals, terrorist or not. People who are against it should really take a back seat and deal with it for the safety of the rest of us.


Info Stream profile image

Info Stream 6 years ago from Planet Earth

I think that you should be careful that the measures that the Government implement in the name of protecting your Nation do not start impeding the very values and freedoms that brave people like yourself and your sister have fought to protect.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I hear you Info, and I do have some fears when the government gets too close into my life. But this is one of those areas where I have to say I don't want to lose my freedom to live either. Just like we sometimes need the police to help us out, there are cases in the extreme when the government does and should play a role. This is one of them. It's also a case where Americans should understand the importance of it and not be so complacent. There really are bad people out there ready and willing to kill us.


ralwus 6 years ago

Well, the price of freedom includes our ever changing laws. Some we do not like or agree with, but we are a nation of lawyers in the eagle's nest.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

Well-written, sir. We in Canada suffer from an excess of political correctness, and while I do not agree with racial profiling, I am proud of the contribution of my father and grandfathers, and of all our military now serving us overseas to ensure my freedoms today.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

I agree with you precisely Spring, for the reason also that better be profiled than many people dead, and also in addition better be naked than dead too, Have a good day, Maita


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Yes, being dead is a little too permanent for my liking. :) Thanks for stopping by prettydarkhorse.


Jim Sr (Pops) 6 years ago

Politically, I see times changing. Some good, some bad. I see little trust in our government, and those who we trusted to run it. All of this reminds me of a time when I was a teen just graduated from high school and stood there staring at my draft notice. "Trust in your nation, Jim." My Mother told me. It was the way I was raised. So I signed up rather than being drafted. During this time, forces in this country were using thier "civil liberties" to attack this nation (from within). Am I proud to be an American? Yes, and "love it, or leave it" is etched in my fabric. Profiling whether fair or unfair, is something we have to live with. After all, during Vietnam we were called "baby killers". I know what its like to be profiled. Didn't hurt a bit! Great post son.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Glad you stopped by, and I definitely agree with you. Might I point out to anyone reading through the comments that Jim Sr is also a 23-year veteran of the US Navy.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Yes! It is ridiculous to see a granny for Des Moines stripsearched in the name of political correctness. Absurd. Profiling is how criminals are caught. I agree with the premise of your fine and engaging article.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I just think that a lot of this profiling is just plain common sense given what we know...very glad you stopped by.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Springboard, well written article and deeply thought provoking. I can see a few sides to this. I like RedElf's comment about honoring the people who've protected our rights to debate issues like these. Thanks for your years of service to our Country and for those of your sister and dad.


tipperary profile image

tipperary 6 years ago

I also see it as a contribution to ones country. If only those who died at the hands of terroists could have had more safety measures like these put in place, some maybe alive today. Whats worse?, giving a few mins of your time and privacy to protect people or watching people die. Well written hub!


Artisina profile image

Artisina 6 years ago from Sacramento

Again, you are spot on! I got pulled aside in an airport and searched. I could be the poster child for a white person. I also had sandals on. No where to really hide a weapon. But I didn't mind. It showed me that 'they' really are trying to keep us safe. Stop me all you want to. I have nothing to hide so it doesn't bother me a bit. I love your articles and the naked truth in them. Thanks again for a fantastic hub.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Thanks Artisina. I'm glad you enjoy them. As to your comment I can't agree more. The thing is that we're ALL Americans here, and as such, we should act in the interest of ALL Americans. That means if you are a Muslim, you stand aside and be counted. It's just a FACT that right now THAT is who is not on our side. Any Muslim who willingly accepts his duty as an American citizen earns my applause. Any Muslim offended by this process, or unwillinging to cooperate without complaint can take his next plane back to where he came from.

Had it not been for the sacrifices made by REAL Americans, including REAL American immigrants who respected this country when they came here and fought for this country and gave their lives for this country, the country these offended Muslims have come to might NOT be America at all.

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