What does it mean to be an American patriot? Growing up in the 1940s through 1970s, I lived an America that rebuilt after a Great Depression, defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, passed the Civil Rights Act, built the great intercontinental highway system, and sent a man to the moon. Its public education and university system were the world’s best.
It was a technology and manufacturing giant. Its beacon of light attracted immigrants from around the globe making the nation even stronger. America’s leaders thought big and accomplished big things. It never asked how much it cost.
Its leaders envisioned greatness and built public infrastructures to improve Americans’ lives and assured we had the resources to do it. It built the needed resources if they were lacking.
President Kennedy called on our inner sense of patriotism when he stated in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” When he called on the nation to commit to sending a man to the moon when no one had any idea if it was even possible, he said, “We choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”
Where is that sense of patriotism and desire to succeed today at a time the nation’s economy is worse than the Great Depression and will not recover until the pandemic is defeated? When will we
face the reality of climate change causing increased frequency and intensity of extreme climate events?
Will our nation again accept the challenge to do the big things that must be done to address these existential threats?
“Good government” creates jobs, not “small government.” We are the government and voting is patriotic. Vote as if your life depends on it.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letter to the Editor 8/9/20