Letter: Americans believe same rights afforded to all

For years, conservatives have painted liberals as “un-American” and unpatriotic. Remember when President Barack Obama wanted to destroy the country? When he would take our guns, inflict death panels on us, and declare martial law? Years of lies and fearmongering have allowed conservatives to label themselves patriots taking back “their” country.

But patriotism means standing up for our highest ideals and values, and our most essential value is stated clearly in the beginning of our founding document, the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” This is non-negotiable.

I will gladly debate my fellow Americans over the vision of a nation I believe in. I expect nothing less in return. Democracy demands it.

But if your vision runs counter to that central value; if you do not believe everyone is worthy of the same rights, dignity, and respect, then I do not consider you an American. And I certainly don’t consider you a patriot, a title so many carelessly toss around. And if our president can’t stand behind that fundamental belief, I do not consider him a legitimate president worthy of the mantle of American leadership.

Nearly 400,000 Union soldiers and over that many American soldiers lost their lives in the Civil War and World War II fighting the very idea of white supremacy. When Trump can’t even denounce Nazis and the KKK, those lives would appear to be lost in vain. We cannot let our country move backward.

Glenn Freeman

Mount Vernon

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