Letter to the Editor: Patriotism from the past

To the Editor:

I stopped today, on our county courthouse lawn, gazed up at the statue of a Union soldier, and read Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address engraved on the base. There was patriotism, the men from Iowa, fighting to preserve our young union of states. Iowa didn’t fly a Confederate Flag. Her men sought to preserve the union, not divide it.

As Lincoln saw it, the survivors of the terrible battles of the Civil War have an obligation to honor the deaths of so many and to protect and preserve this new birth of freedom with government of, by, and for the people. Can we not follow the ideals of our great grandfathers, and fight to preserve democracy and  these United States? Our veterans have, in two world wars, two “police actions” (Korea and Vietnam), Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. For their acts of courage, we honor them.

Democracy is an idea which needs constant tending. There are those who will subvert it to further their own agendas and power, and those who hate its existence. Witness Ukraine’s battle against Dictator Putin, fighting for their country’s freedom, democracy and their own existence. Can we do no less?

We need to fight here at home to protect our own democracy. It is under assault by narrow-minded bigots who want to control who we love, who we really are inside, and our own bodies’ health. They also want to control who can vote, who can count the votes, and how. Ultimate power is what they seek. They don’t want our children to know how our true history, including slavery, begat racism which continues today. Hatred of anyone who doesn’t look like you or believe like you is not patriotism, but perpetuates racism and undermines democracy.

Our fallen soldiers and living Veterans deserve the respect of all Americans and our promise to make democracy stronger and better, not destroy it.

Ann Klees