What’s the difference between a patriot and an insurrectionist? Until a couple of weeks ago, the answer was clear and straightforward for most of us. A patriot loves his or her country and will do anything to defend it. An insurrectionist has grievances against the government and will do anything to destroy it.
I imagine the Minutemen of colonial Boston saw themselves as patriots, while George III saw them as insurrectionists.
Like so many things in life, perspective is the key to your viewpoint. As one ages, your mindset can change based on the ability to see a larger picture and your relationship to it. Seeing things through youthful eyes can lead to rebellious attitudes, a lack of patience, and the demand for immediate change.
Mellowing eyes have seen the pendulum’s movement and the need to take others’ rights into account. Aren’t we, the people, basically a complex life-form with the power to either improve or destroy our planet, which is only a speck of dust in an infinitesimally large universe? Will our inability to compromise lead us to be trapped like the monkey who won’t let go of the fruit in the jar, when simply unclenching his fist allows him to remove his hand and once more enjoy freedom?
The Southern Poverty Law Center finds that:
“Generally, antigovernment groups define themselves as opposed to the ‘New World Order,’ engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines.”
On January 6th, 2021, the perspectives of many who considered themselves patriots, merged with and emerged as, insurrectionists who bought into the great lie that their country was being stolen from them.
The difference? To paraphrase Ben Franklin, in our republic, we have the means to change our government peacefully — if we can keep it.