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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | NOVEMBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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Whose patriotism?

On Veterans Day, a column published in the DI lamented the demise of patriotism among today’s youth. I hope to provide a possible explanation for that concern here.

For many of us “disaffected” youth, patriotism means more than flaunting the red, white, and blue whenever possible. It means more than saying thank you to our war veterans — a noble gesture, no doubt. It means more than tearing up when the national anthem is played or making excuses for outrageous behavior under the protection of phrases “I am an American” or “this is America.”

For people like me, patriotism is much more than visceral displays of loyalty. It is not about excusing the status quo with idealizations of a not-so-ideal past (our dear Founding Fathers, after all, thought slavery was justifiable). Rather, patriotism is about working to make our country safer, more responsible, and more equitable. It is also about asking hard questions of our country and making our life’s work to address them meaningfully.

Why, for example, in “the greatest country in the world,” do the wealthiest among us continue to get richer, while the poor get poorer? Why do as many one-third of American children live in poverty? Why do rich children consistently get better educations than poor children? Why does our country’s protection of some people’s right to own lethal weapons directly interfere with other people’s — approximately 30,000 this year, which is about triple our military death toll of the past two wars — right to live?

These are just a few questions that make me pause and consider our “greatness.”

In the past 15 years or so, our country’s soldiers — and countless foreigners — have died in wars that many of us “unconcerned” youth don’t understand or feel were justified. Countries around the world see our country as being the most powerful, yes, but they view us this way not because of the way we improve the world but rather how we aggressively consume and waste its resources disproportionately to our size.

So forgive me for not parading the Stars and Stripes uncritically. I love this country very deeply, and I’m grateful to the millions who have served it, but I simply see patriotism more as action than compliance.  

Jennifer Dooper

Exorbitant rents and the homeless

The growing number of homeless in IC and elsewhere presents more of an issue than simply where the homeless can place their belongings. In an area in which rents are exorbitantly high ($700 a month for a room in some places — go figure) there is a need to find cheaper housing and better advantages for those with very little. Considering the amount of wealth in this town, there should be a very basic affordable solution to this for the taxpayers and property owners alike.

Frederik Norberg


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