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Letter to the Editor: Responding to ‘Is it patriotic to protest?’

To the Editor:

In response to the editorial in the July 11 issue, “Is it patriotic to protest?”

I think you picked out two pretty poor examples to make your point. You picked out individuals who clearly made poor judgment calls. However, I would not refer to the mother and her son as a protest, just bad parenting. I am offering examples of real protest movements.

Technically, wasn’t the founding of this country rooted in protest? Many of the first settlers who came here were leaving their home country in protest of religious persecution, risking their lives and the unknown for what they believed in. Yet, they still, to some degree, remained loyal to their homeland. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation. In a sense, wasn’t the revolutionary war a protest for independence? Might I say the first example of successful protest in this country. And since the founding fathers seem to be who everyone views as the original patriots, I am going to assume that you see their protests as patriotic.

Moving on through our history, I see the abolitionist movement as a form of protest against slavery.  Was it not patriotic to see all men as created equal and to find it wrong for one man to be able to enslave another? 

I am going to skip over a lot of history here, but [what about] the Suffrage movement, a protest that brought women together to fight for the right to vote. They fought a long, hard, passionate battle but believed in their cause. Women banded together again in the 1960s to protest for equality in pay, reproductive rights, protection from domestic abuse and sexual harassment, etc. Were these women not patriots?

[The list goes on and includes] the March on Washington in 1963, a protest for the civil and economic rights for all people; the Women’s March in 2017, a protest for many issues which we thought had already been addressed yet are still under attack; the March For Our Lives movement, a protest for protection of our children in their schools and homes against gun violence. 

Just because you don’t agree with someone’s ideology doesn’t mean that they are unpatriotic. Each person has their own life experience and reasons for the way they view issues, it doesn’t make them wrong. This is the USA where we have the right to voice our opinion and, throughout our country’s history, where if enough people band together for a cause change is possible and that change has most often made this country a better, stronger, more unified country. How can that be unpatriotic?

Lynda Toeniskoetter

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