Patriotism is devotion and loyalty to one's country. We are patriotic in many ways. American men and women fight in wars to protect our nation. We take pride in the accomplishments of our scientists and space travelers. We believe in family and responsibility to care for our fellow citizens. It is also patriotic to question government policies that don’t give equal opportunity to all of our citizens.
Patriotism isn’t about blindly supporting government policies. When it comes to supporting our men and women in uniform, you can be patriotic and still believe a policy is not in the best interest of our country. Questions and dissent are part of how our nation began.
We have the most powerful nation in the world. We must maintain a powerful military to ensure the safety of our citizens, but the use of our military strength must be for the defense of this nation. And we must use our power morally, or see the day when we lose it.
Don’t allow anyone to silence your right to dissent with attacks on your patriotism. Thinking about the lost lives in any conflict is also patriotic. Elected leaders can make mistakes in judgment. Questioning the patriotism of everyone who has an opposing view, is not a legitimate defense of those mistakes.
We have a great country because we have citizens daring to question government policies. Those are patriotic people in my mind. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we saw patriotic Americans caring for their fellow citizens. Yes, patriotism is a lot more than supporting a war effort. All the American people support the American men and women in uniform. We had some citizens who opposed the Vietnam War, and who just believe the decision to go to war in Iraq was a very bad decision, and a huge mistake.
No matter what your opinion is on the war in Iraq, I believe the American people mourn the loss of every brave man and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Many citizens just want our solders to come home. Patriotism can co-exist with dissent.