To the editor:
I'm celebrating July 4th differently this year. It's not apathy, lack of patriotism, or the fireworks ban, but deep concern over the actions of our current administration.
I'm proud and grateful that our founding fathers stood up to injustice, fought to end British rule and established a democracy. But now fabricated "intelligence" justifies "preemptive war." The "Patriot Act" undermines civil liberties. Bin Laden, Hussein and weapons of mass destruction have not been found, but countless civilians are dead and American soldiers are still dying almost daily. Objectives are not clear or morally sound, and meanwhile, policy-makers profit from resulting contracts. It all stinks of elitism, colonialism and self-interest. The founding fathers must be spinning in their graves.
"Patriotism" or "love of and devotion to one's country" and "dissent," "to differ in opinion or feeling; disagree" are not mutually exclusive. Those who question a dissenter's patriotism rather than participating in thoughtful debate do not uphold the ideals of a democracy and might feel more comfortable in the ruling class of a more oppressive regime. Independence Day would be just another day in July if the patriots of 230 years ago had exhibited blind faith in King George rather than thinking for themselves.
I'm doing volunteer work on the Fourth and designating July 5 "Reparations Day." Pick a group, the list is long, we're sending donations to nonprofits helping veterans and their families, and to humanitarian groups working in Iraq. We're privileged to be Americans. We're also responsible.