printed 03/08/2019

American patriotism is not threatening people who want to know how their government works. Neither is it defending one point of view to the extent that those who think otherwise risk physical harm.

That’s tyranny, the prevention of which is the reason for our constitution’s existence and which it accomplishes by establishing the division of powers, the guarantees of individual liberties, and the structure and conduct of government.

Asserting that “America’s second civil war has already begun,” as a posting says on a Facebook page by the group known locally as the Main Street Patriots, is the antithesis of American patriotism, because that maintains the only way forward is the destruction of the union in favor of a society in which different opinions and the practice of democratic values are not tolerated.

This is the tone employed by posters to this site when they forced the cancellation of a Worcester County Library lecture on the constitution this week because the topic was its rules of impeachment.

Nowhere did the description of the lecture mention the current political climate; this was to be an examination of the mechanics of impeachment and how the constitution purposely makes the removal of a president so difficult.

Yet, posters to the Main Street Patriots page misrepresented this talk as part of a Democratic conspiracy to replace the current president. That’s not patriotism, that’s fear of freedom of thought, with one poster, referring to those who might dare to attend the lecture, writing that “someone should take them out.”

What is lost on posters such as this is that the most important of the founding principles of this country, as embodied in the constitution and which generations of soldiers, sailors and airmen and women have fought to protect, is freedom from repression. Standing up for that is patriotism.

Calling for the disruption of a lecture and suggesting that someone should kill people with different opinions is not. At least not in this country, not yet.

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