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GOD BLESS THE USA!

Is it OK for a citizen of the United States of America to hate the United States of America? Does it matter if the basis of your hatred is that you do not like the President? Does it matter if your hatred is based on a belief that it is unfairly difficult some people to realize the "American Dream" while others have a perceived advantage. And finally, is it OK to hate the USA because of a belief that you are being targeted by the justice system? Does it matter if you are guilty or innocent?

Anyone who has been through the justice system, whether or not he has been incarcerated, has certainly wrestled with this question. There are times, when one feels unfairly targeted that there is nothing but blind hatred for a system that is at best biased The potential for hatred is only amplified, when faced with the reality that "innocent until proven guilty" has little application in the reality that is the current justice system. (http://www.whitecollarguru.com/2017/01/innocent-until-proven-guilty-or-guilty.html)

The potential for hatred, is even greater for someone who is forced to spend time incarcerated, especially upon realizing that prison rates in the USA are the world's highest at 724 per 100,000. Even Russia has a lower rate at 581 per 100,00 and the average is around 145 per 100,000. For an inmate at a prison it is very easy to develop a hatred for this country especially when he feels he has been unjustifiably incarcerated or received a sentence that is unnecessarily harsh compared to the crime committed. Even for the recently released, the obstacles can seem unfairly insurmountable. The stigma of being an ex felon never goes away and some rights are never restored.  Yes, it would seem that the justification for hatred exists.

Or does it? I remember, shortly before my release, I watched Colin Kaepernick register his protest of police brutality by refusing to stand for the the national anthem. I remember how many players, including some member of my beloved Miami Dolphins followed his example. I also remember how disgusted I was by this ridiculous display of protest. Colin Kaepernick earned a salary of over $14 million for the 2016 season. If there is anyone who should be grateful to this country it is him; and yet he kneels for the anthem? Where else in the world would he be able to reach such heights. Yes, he was protesting police brutality and support for Black Lives Matter, but one flaw, even if it is systematic does not negate all that his country has done for him. When Kapernick visited Miami last year he wore a t-shirt glorifying Fidel Castro; exemplifying hypocrisy at its best by supporting one of the greatest oppressors of freedom of our time. The examples are numerous. Dennis Rodman goes to visit North Korea. Alec Balwin is regularly threatening to leave the country. They seem to hate their country don't they? By the way, have any of them left?

When reading and watching current events, a realization comes into focus: the world is a very turbulent place. Venezuela has essentially dropped any pretense of being a democracy. The Middle East is in perpetual chaos. North Korea regularly sends prisoners to work in labor camps. In Russia, dissentis often met with an untimely accidental death. Our ally, Saudi Arabia regularly executes citizens for actions that we consider completely normal. Mexico's economy is so bad that its citizens try to come here, illegally nonetheless, for the chance to take a job below our minimum wage! We regularly hear about acts of terror in France. In Syria, Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Now lets look to  the USA, the object of our anger. Whether someone likes the president or hates the president the fact remains that who the president actually is has little bearing on the daily lives on the average US citizen. People hate trump, people hated Obama and people hated Bush. As history has shown regardless of who is president, the life of the average american remains largely unchanged. Our democracy is so resilient that it even allows for an athlete to disrespect the anthem of the country that give him the right for that very disrespect. Try sitting for the national anthem in China and see how that goes. Try publicly vilifying Putin in Russia and see if you are sleeping in your own bed that night. When foreigners are looking for a safe place to park their money,  nine times out of 10, they come here. Emigration is not a problem; immigration is.

No, the USA is not perfect and there are many aspects, especially when looking at the criminal justice system, that need to be fixed. And yes, an individual, or the family of an individual that is under indictment or even incarcerated will certainly resent or even hate this country. However, when the dust clears, he will realize that even if he was a victim of an unjust and arbitrary justice system there never has been, nor will there ever be a county as great as the United States of America. GOD BLESS THE USA!!!

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