America Was Built on Dissent

July 24, 2019
Khanh Nguyen, PIVOT member

"Go back to your country" is another way of saying "Because I love my country, you cannot disagree with me and since the color of your skin is different from me, then you must not love this country and therefore you must leave this country". It is the most racist statement a person can make to another person. It is a statement directed at me so many times while growing up in America, I lost count how many times but I did not lose the hurt as a result of it.

This racist statement is thinly disguised by nationalists as a profession of their patriotism, who claims to love America. However, a person who claims to love America by suppressing dissent in any form or by anyone has false love for America or false patriotism. America was built on dissent; our founding fathers left England and settle here as a result of being persecuted for dissension to the King of England. Indeed, our Constitution enshrines our right to dissent with the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in the United States including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. It was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.

True patriotism entails listening intently to everyone, regardless of race, color, or sex, and figuring out ways to collectively improve America and form a more perfect union. So, we must push back on this dangerous rhetoric. We must make it clear to everyone, by every means that "love it or leave it" is NOT a patriotic move that makes America great, but rather one that weakens our country by silencing those who wish to make it better. So speak up! If we truly love America, our oath to the Constitution compels you to do so!

It is up to us, individually as well as collectively, to steer our country away from the sirens of false patriotism and to uphold the principles of inclusion that have consistently made America great; this is how to Make America Great Again.

Photo by Raúl Nájera on Unsplash