Americans are a fiercely patriotic people, but do we all fully grasp what it means to be patriotic? Patriotism means love for and devotion to one’s country and its people. This means we look out for all of our citizens. We have the resources and ability to provide everyone with good health care, yet more people die from health problems (including diseases and malnutrition) than from terrorists or wars. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the right to “provide for the general welfare of the public”. Good healthcare is certainly in the welfare of the American public. It is a right, not a privilege. All Americans deserve good health care, not just the wealthy ones.
America should be proud of its fine universities that attract students from all over the world. A truly patriotic country, looking out for its citizens, would make sure that all of its citizens have access to those universities. The drive to privatize education in this country aims to reserve the best education for the rich. A patriotic country should provide the opportunity for education to all of its citizens equally. A well-educated citizenry makes for a stronger country. As patriots, isn’t that what we want?
America as we know it was created by colonists, immigrants all. Each wave of immigration since our founding has brought new cultures and ideas to our country. We can’t claim to be patriotic if we let fellow citizens attack other citizens because they don’t worship the same god, have the same beliefs, speak the same language, or have the same shade of skin. Hate doesn’t make us great. Remember our motto – e pluribus unum – out of many, one. As former Republican Senator John Danforth said, “We are many people from many backgrounds, with many competing interests, and we are one indivisible nation. … Against all this destructive racket, there must be other prominent and persistent voices that insist that America must build alliances and champion unity. From whom would these voices arise? Why, from all of us, from good American citizens who want to live in a world of peace and a nation of tolerance.”
It’s our patriotic duty to ensure the safety and well-being of all of our citizens. It’s time for us to take back our country, to ensure that we all have a voice. Our political parties should answer to the people, not the corporations that pay them to bend laws to their favor. We cannot let a handful of rich men shape America for their purpose and profit. We cannot maintain the status quo. Our politics have to change. It’s time to elect someone who will fight for the working people, not the one percent.