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On Patriotism

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Reprinted from Robert Reich Blog

Happy 4th of July!
Happy 4th of July!
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A few words about patriotism -- something we talk a lot about, especially around July 4th, but seldom stop to examine its real meaning.

True patriotism isn't simply about waving the American flag. And it's not mostly about securing our borders from outsiders.

It's about coming together for the common good.

Real patriotism is not cheap. It requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going -- being willing to pay taxes in full rather than seeking tax loopholes and squirreling away money abroad.

Patriotism is about preserving and protecting our democracy, not inundating it with big money and buying off politicians.

True patriots don't hate the government of the United States. They're proud of it. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve our government, not destroy it.

Finally, patriots don't pander to divisiveness. They don't fuel racist or religious or ethnic divisions. They aren't homophobic or sexist.

To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen the "we" in "we the people of the United States."

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

 

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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