To the Editor:
Like all Americans, I love our country and I am grateful to be born here. I learned to respect the Flag as a Boy Scout, served under it in the Navy and studied its history in law …
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To the Editor:
Like all Americans, I love our country and I am grateful to be born here. I learned to respect the Flag as a Boy Scout, served under it in the Navy and studied its history in law school (e.g., the First Amendment allows flag burning and other means of protest as a form of “symbolic speech” under a 1989 Supreme Court ruling). And I display the flag proudly on all federal holidays and presented it in the triangular fold at the funeral of my father, a WWII vet.
The First Amendment also allows citizens to not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance and to take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. I take the Pledge (originally composed by a Union soldier during the Civil War) along with other citizens in patriotic settings, saying “Under God” even though it was only later added by Cold War fervor and raises questions under the First Amendment’s religion clause.
Our constitutional traditions permit, and perhaps even encourage, the public expression of starkly different points of view, particularly during a political season. But no one condones violence by the far left and far right perpetrators during the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. While conservatives and progressives can and do hold the same hopes for our nation to be the “Land of the Free” and that the military, National Guard and police are important elements in protecting the security and safety of our society, we can easily differ on the paths to achieve the shared goals of racial justice, fair immigration, criminal justice system reforms, educational system upgrades and economic opportunity for all our citizens.
Because I have heard Joe Biden’s assurances of policies that emphasize inclusion and tolerance, respect for science and the environment, reliance on competent and experienced advisers, re-engagement with the global community and rebuilding trust in the government at all levels, I will be voting for the Democratic Party ticket in the faith of achieving a “more perfect Union.”
Regardless of viewpoint, we all have a patriotic responsibility to work hard to restore civility, trust and mutual respect in our institutions and communities, and among ourselves. Especially it is crucial in these testy times of hyperbolic viewpoints that the soul of America be preserved and promoted.
In conclusion, each of us who loves our democracy must take seriously the individual responsibility to honor our common values and to take the time to vote!