This is a guest post by Michaela K., a proud millennial with a message for the conservatives that scapegoat her generation for their own screw-ups.
This year we saw a lot of things we wish we could unsee – front and center being the election. There were others of course but notably, this year seemed to be the year of protests. From #NoDapl to Colin Kaepernick to Love Trumps Hate, I think I saw more protests this year than I have in the last five years combined.
One response to these protests and to many people’s genuine feelings of dissatisfaction with our country was, “If you don’t like it, then leave.” This response never sat well with me, and I’ve only recently understood why. Since it’s predominately a Republican response, it is really saying “Your opinion doesn’t matter. Your thoughts don’t matter. You don’t matter. It’s my way or the highway!” This frankly pisses me off, and not because I’m a so-called “crybaby libtard millennial,” their fond label for my generation, but because I am an American citizen. How dare you or anyone else tell me that if I don’t like something in my country, then I should leave?
When did God give you the deed to America? This is my country as much as it is yours, and I have the right to say when things are not how they should be in my country, to protest against things that I feel need to change, to stand up against things that are wrong, and to do what I believe is right. How dare you say that I can’t exercise my constitutional rights to express discontent with leadership or whatever else? How dare you say that I should leave my country because I think there is room for improvement and I say so? If anything, I’d say that makes me more patriotic than the “patriot” telling people to “get out” while covering their ears, blindfolding themselves, and stepping into their “Make America Great Again” shrine.
I care about my country. I want it to be the best it possibly can be for everyone who lives here, and that includes immigrants, people of color, minorities, Muslims, LGBTQ, and many others. I will not roll over or blindly accept things that I feel are not in the best interests of our entire country. I will not “shut up” just so you can feel better as you happily listen to the propaganda being flung at you. I am proud of my country, but I see its flaws, and I acknowledge them rather than ignoring them or trying to cover them up with flag colored band-aids.
This is still my country, and no amount of yelling, insulting, or degrading done on your part is going to make me forget that or make me be silent. And if that upsets you then all I can say is this: Welcome to America, land of the free and home of the brave – MY HOME.
Image by Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons