Patriotism is loyalty to our principles

Our allegiance should lie with this country and everything that it stands for.

Let me make this perfectly clear at the beginning so that my words are not a source of confusion at the end: I have a tremendous amount of respect for Alex Ursel and for what he has done for our country. It is people like him who have made it possible for people like me to live a comfortable, combat-free life. His military service will never go unappreciated by me.

I felt I had to take this opportunity, however, to express my disappointment with the position Ursel took in his Monday opinion, “We must get behind whoever wins.” I have no problem with your unwavering support of President George W. Bush; what I have a problem with   is your assertion that patriotism is measured by whether you dissent against the leaders of this country.

I believe with all my heart that as U.S. citizens, our allegiance should not lie with the president, but with this country and everything that it stands for.

It is incredibly dangerous for us, as citizens, to follow any man blindly. It is dangerous for the people, it is dangerous for democracy and, considering our status, it is dangerous for the world.

For those of us who are too young to remember the Vietnam War era, this is the most divided this country has been in our short lifetimes. I don’t believe people protest against our leaders for the simple reason they are either Democrats or Republicans. They protest because they see injustices being done to this country, and they want to fix it.

This country was not divided by the people, it was divided by its leaders, who are unable to give us a straight answer as to why we are doing, and continue to do, what we are.

It is our duty to this great nation – and one could argue to the world – as citizens to dissent and protest when we see atrocities being done. When we start to follow our leaders without asking questions first, just to quell the division of this country, we get into trouble.

That is when we are at our most unpatriotic.

Matthew Gilroy is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]