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Thank you, Mr. President, for unleashing my patriotism

Ruth Marcus on

Those of us on the more liberal side of the political spectrum have too often and too easily ceded the mantle of patriot to conservatives. Indeed, there can be an off-putting, chest-thumping aspect to traditional, bumper-sticker patriotism: "My country, right or wrong." "America, love it or leave it."

George Washington, in his farewell address, advised fellow citizens to "guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." It is hard not to recall that admonition when listening to Trump's faux-patriotic posturing against kneeling NFL players and his demand that they show "total respect for our national anthem, for our flag, for our country."

Real patriotism would be to recognize, as the Supreme Court did three decades ago in overturning a criminal conviction for burning the American flag, that "we do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents."

Real patriotism would be not to denounce the "Russia hoax" but to insist that Congress -- and for that matter, special counsel Robert Mueller -- get to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 election and, even more imperative, that the United States strengthen its defenses to prevent future meddling.

That is the patriotism Trump has awoken, in me and so many others. Because our fundamental fight is not against Trump. It is for America.

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Ruth Marcus' email address is ruthmarcus@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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