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Letter: Be patriotic while respecting others

Our country is currently facing divisions on several fronts that I don’t think have been as strong since just before the Civil War. And yet I find no lacking in patriotism on either side (which I’m sure was true at that time as well). But what does that word patriotism mean?

If we are devoted to and vigorously supportive of our government, we must accept that our government recognizes the validity of and actually encourages diverging opinions on what is best for all of our citizens. If we angrily disrespect views that we do not approve of, if we go further and disrespect the people who believe in these views in the name of patriotism, if we demonize other views and those who espouse them, we have no patriotism!

Patriotism in our country is a belief in diverse views and that having them makes our country stronger. Patriotism is love for the government in which we have the right to speak our opinion without fear of being arrested. Patriotism is the belief that, while things can always get better, our country offers the best government that a group of people could develop, and that it can weather any leaders on the federal, state, and municipal level that may choose to take it in directions we individually do not like or believe in.

Please do not demonize those who do not share your beliefs! 

A recently departed great example of living patriotically was the friendship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. Believing in considerably different interpretations of our government, they still loved opera and would go to dinner and attend the opera together and talk. Please learn to not only live with opposite views but respect as people and citizens of the U.S.A. those who do not share your views. That is what our government is based on. 

If you truly believe in our government, please speak your view strongly, but learn to respect those who don’t agree! Then we are truly being patriotic!

— David Hagy 

Salisbury

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