Real patriotism on this July 4th

Real patriotism means sacrificing to keep America going.

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SOURCERobert Reich

On this 4th of July, many people believe that celebrating America means waving the flag or standing for the national anthem or shouting “America First.”

But that’s not what real patriotism is.

Real patriotism means sacrificing to keep America going.

It means paying taxes proportional to your wealth. I’m talking to you Jeff Bezos, and you, Elon Musk.

It means paying your workers a living wage so they can thrive. I’m talking to you, Walmart, and you, McDonald’s.

It means fully reckoning with how racial oppression and white supremacy have shaped this nation, not whitewashing our history and ignoring racism’s continuing legacy. I’m talking to you, lawmakers trying to prevent students from learning the role race has played in our history.

Real patriotism means protecting American democracy and our form of government, not trying to overturn an election that’s been upheld by 60 federal courts and the Supreme Court — or seeking to suppress the voting rights of people of color. I’m talking to you, members of Congress who refused to certify the 2020 election, and you, state legislators advancing nearly 400 voter suppression bills, and you — former guy. 

Real patriotism means not flooding our politics with big money, so the voices of the people can be heard. I’m talking to you, Charles Koch, and you, Michael Bloomberg.

And it means putting the interests of our country over partisanship, Mitch McConnell.

Finally, real patriotism means using your position of power in the media to inform and educate the public rather than weaponize lies and promote extremism to get more clicks. I’m talking to you, Mark Zuckerberg, and you, Rupert Murdoch.

On this 4th of July, let’s commit to real patriotism. It’s not easy, but it’s the necessary hard work we must undertake to make this country better for everyone.

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Robert Reich
Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.

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