Protesting is Patriotic
April 25, 2008, 3:47 am
Filed under: Alameda | Tags: , , , ,

The following is my published letter to the editor in my home town newspaper, the Alameda Sun.  It is in response to another writer who wrote that the recent anti-war protest in Alameda served to embolden our enemies, whatever that might mean.

Editor:

James Paul’s letter about the “propaganda march” (April 3) was disturbing, to say the least. Mr. Paul laments the presence of children, who, according to him were clearly “being taken advantage of by their parents’ agenda.” What do we make of individuals who, after five years of a failed war and brutal occupation, continue to believe in the illusion that somehow, the war is Iraq is winning hearts and minds?

Say what you will about children at protests, but no one can argue that they are delusional. Sadly, people of a similar mentality are under the false impression that such protests somehow “embolden our enemies” – as if people in Iraq fight not because their land is being occupied but because people on Park Street are somehow undermining the mission of their occupiers.

What is the real threat we face? Insurgents or ignorance? The problem with unabashed patriotism is that the more someone professes to love his or her country and the more someone claims that his or her country is the greatest nation in history, the more they do a disservice to their nation because they must overlook the plethora of problems that exist.

By ignoring the problems of institutionalized racism, economic inequality and jingoism, unabashed patriots make the country weaker, not stronger. As our current school district cuts illustrate, we need to come together to find solutions. Waving the flag and talking about liberty is not going to solve this, or any other problem.

Those who march against an illegal and inhumane war are true patriots because they, much like most people in Iraq and around the world, want to live in freedom but most importantly, peace.

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