Marching and chanting, grieving and kneeling, countless Americans have braved tear gas and rubber bullets over the past six weeks to send an unequivocal message to their elected leaders: that they will not stand idly by as racial injustice continues to tear at our country.
In this moment of national reckoning, and as we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, I can think of nothing more patriotic.
These citizens understand that doing the tireless, often thankless work necessary to effect change is what American patriotism has always been about. Yet sadly, that fundamental understanding seems to be beyond the American president himself, who, day after day it seems, wraps himself in the flag in the morning but reverts back to tribalism by the afternoon. Who claims to have done more for our troops than anyone else yet who didn’t lift a finger amid the reported intelligence that Russia had put bounties on their heads, effectively shrugging his shoulders and claiming he was never briefed about it. Who seems to prize sycophancy over common decency, and who thinks that patriotism is proven by who stands up the tallest or sings the loudest when the national anthem plays rather than who embodies our nation’s values once the music stops.