President Trump said last Monday that the four democratic “progressive” congresswomen have to love our country or leave it. However, the word “love” is vague and is capable of many meanings. The Oxford Dictionary defines love as “an intense feeling of deep affection for someone.” Loving one’s country can carry various things to different people. Indeed, that can change depending on events and circumstances. People interpret the word “love” in a way that matches their agenda and upbringing. That’s why it is such a manipulative term for politicians like President Trump to ask the four democratic congresswomen to love our country or go back to their country of origin. Interestingly three of them are U.S. born.
We should be skeptical of anyone, especially politicians, who use the term “love your country” to advance their own agenda and generate right wing sentiments. So, let’s figure out what the word means in the social/political context. Does it mean loving the institutions, the land or the people of the country? Does it mean that one has to love his or her president or country unconditionally? Is the citizen allowed to disagree on controversial issues? Does it mean that citizens have to love their country like they love their family?
There is no federal or state law that requires a citizen to love his or her country.
I believe that instead of requiring citizens to love their country, we should expect them to be good and responsible citizens. A proper definition of a “good citizen” is one who is a productive member of society, one who pays his or her fair share of taxes. Furthermore, a good citizen is one who abides by the laws and serves his or her country when their country needs it. There are those who believe that President Trump has not paid taxes and has broken the laws. If these charges are proven, is President Trump a good citizen?
By attacking the four congresswomen, I believe that the president is advocating his brand of extreme form of White nationalism, which is a call for hatred of immigrants and others based on their race, color, faith or national origin. It is a known fact that immigrants commit fewer crimes than the general population. They also contribute significantly to the creation of jobs and the growth of the economy.
- Marshal Garmo, Esq. is a local attorney and author