Republicans don’t own patriotism

True patriots don’t put loyalty to their political party above their love of America.

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Republicans claim they love America.

But they sure don’t seem to like the American people.

They consistently oppose reforms that a majority of Americans believe would make their lives better, like raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, and student debt relief.

And these supposedly America-loving Republicans also seem to hate American cities, which is where 80% of Americans live.

So they must love rural America, right?

Ehhh…not so much.

Republicans have historically tried to block Medicaid expansion and cut its funding, which rural Americans have especially benefited from. They’ve sought to slash funding for rural infrastructure and development. They’ve sided with big ag over independent farmers. And they’re continually trying to cut food stamps, which rural Americans depend on — even more than those in cities.

So maybe it’s the land itself they love.

Except that while in office, Donald Trump rolled back more than a hundred environmental regulations, making it easier to pollute America’s air, water, and land.

And he opened about two million acres of federally protected (and culturally significant) land to oil drilling.

Rather than conserving our land, they seem more interested in conserving Big Oil profits.

And sadly, Republicans are increasingly rejecting America’s core principles. They’re attacking freedom of speech with book bans. They’re attacking freedom of assembly with laws restricting protests. And they’re rejecting the separation of church and state.

Republicans are even shunning democracy itself, denying election results, passing laws that make it harder to vote, and kicking out legitimately elected lawmakers they disagree with.

It’s time to stop letting Republicans claim the mantle of patriotism without actually being patriots.

Patriotism means loving freedom: the freedom to make your own health care choices, the freedom to choose who and how you love, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to unionize.

Patriotism also means wanting Americans to be free from the fear of gun violence and free from crushing student debt.

Above all, patriotism involves strengthening our democracy. True patriots don’t put loyalty to their political party above their love of America. True patriots don’t support an attempted coup.

Now is the time for the rest of us to reclaim patriotism and affirm its true meaning.

Read it on Robert Reich’s blog.

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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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