Dissent, as evidenced by Sid Schwab, can be patriotic

Apparently because she does not like what Sid Schwab writes, Linda Jinkins of Arlington asserts in a letter to the editor that he “is no patriot, whatever he says.” I ask, by what definition?

Her letter describes “many thousands of patriotic Americans flying flags” on the National Mall. While those thousands likely are in fact patriotic, how does she know that? Because they flew flags on the Fourth of July? I submit there is more to patriotism.

Many citizens who deeply love this country are concerned about and critical of our nation’s direction and of our currently elected leaders. Are all those citizens unpatriotic? Should they move, as she encourages Sid Schwab to do to Cuba or Venezuela?

Isn’t it our fundamental right and responsibility to speak up when we think we see problems? Even, and maybe even especially, when our speech is critical of the government?

Finally a near universally accepted demonstration of patriotism in this country is service in our armed forces. Dr. Sid Schwab did just that, overseas, in time of war. Disagree with him all you like. Ignore him if you want. But calling him unpatriotic because you don’t agree with him misses the point of what our citizenship is all about.

Michael Downes


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