Friday September 28, 2018
The best form of patriotism is showing respect for the Constitution.
President Donald Trump swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. It guarantees freedom of speech, a free press and freedom to assemble and petition the government. But when the free press displeases him, Trump attacks them as fakes and liars. When citizens assemble and protest, he calls them names and threatens them.
Saluting the flag or standing for the national anthem doesn't make someone a patriot. It only makes them a nationalist who mindlessly follows the nation's leaders, even when they act unconstitutionally. A true patriot believes and defends what the Constitution says, including the freedom to protest. America is great, but not perfect. Injustices need the attention that protests provide to make it even better.
The Berks County commissioners stepped into that pitfall during the summer after police arrested passive, peaceful protesters who were sitting in the driveway at the Berks County Residential Center.
Then the commissioners proposed an ordinance penalizing "delaying, interfering, annoying or creating inconvenience" on county roads. Activists protested that wording, and it was removed.
Too many public officials are acting authoritarian, not American. If Jesus came to America today as a poor, brown, undocumented immigrant with no birth certificate, he'd probably end up in the Berks County Residential Center.
Don't try to squelch protest movements