Letter to the editor: The word “patriotism” should not be used for political purposes

Susie Petra

I just got a letter from the Republican Party, asking if I was a “patriot.”

FYI: That’s a person who loves her/his country and is devoted to its welfare.

The Republicans are throwing this word about recklessly, challenging the loyalty or dedication of people who think differently than they do. That unpatriotic and intolerant behavior raises my hackles.

Patriotism is about promoting “general welfare” — about doing one’s part to maintain our vital infrastructure: safe roads and bridges, dams, clean water, strong public education, beautiful local and national parks, fire and police protection, safe food and medicine, libraries, our men and women in service. Patriotism is supporting civil rights for ALL citizens, even for citizens with whom you don’t agree.

Here are some examples of behavior that is NOT patriotic.

It is NOT patriotic to move manufacturing from our own country overseas, eliminating good jobs here, so greater profits can be made by paying pauper-wages in another country. Right now workers at Sensata Corp. (owned by Bain Capital) in Freeport, Ill., are losing their jobs, which are being relocated to China. Mitt Romney ignores the workers’ request to come talk with them. Does this reveal loyalty to the welfare of our country or our fellow citizens?

It is NOT patriotic to hide profits in Swiss Banks, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas to avoid paying or significantly reduce one’s U.S. taxes. Does this demonstrate devotion to the welfare of this country?

Avoiding taxes and exporting jobs shows uncaring disregard for the welfare of our nation. This irresponsible behavior, this entitlement attitude is NOT patriotic. Romney embodies the entitlement attitude, dismissing and disparaging those less wealthy than he is. Therefore, I would never consider candidate Romney for president of this country.

Patriotism is not just empty rhetoric.