I was sitting on a bus one summer, chatting with a man behind me who’d worked all over the world in the U.S. foreign service. Like many conversations today, ours turned eventually to the many problems with our country.
That’s when his companion, who’d been silent so far, spoke. If things are so bad, he barked at me, why don’t you leave the country?
This man espoused a view I find antithetical to true patriotism. It can basically be summed up as “America — Love it or Leave it.”
There’s a lot that’s great about America, no doubt. But nobody would say we’re flawless — especially not in a summer wracked by mass shootings and police killings. Nobody would say we can’t become better in virtually every respect.
We’re a rich country, but we’d be better if we reduced poverty until it was no more. We’re a democracy, but we could extend our voting rights, reduce gerrymandering, or take any number of other measures to ensure each of us has a say in our government.