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Your Views: True patriotism, love of country in short supply
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I am scandalized, appalled, irate and, needless to say, disgusted. Never have I seen in my lifetime, and I am 77, the lack of honor, responsibility and yes, patriotism, being displayed by our elected officials that I am viewing today.

What a collapse of our founding fathers' ideals of freedom and respect for one's country! Self-serving politicians and executives seem to have forgotten the meaning of "what is good for the country is good for me." By their mishandled policies, they have placed their country and countrymen in a perilous position at a time of international turmoil.

Where is a finite embracing of good old-fashioned patriotism? This, to me, is the first and foremost obligation of each citizen in these United States. Without it, we are open to every subtle (and open) assault upon our beliefs and freedoms. Without patriotism, we really have no basic national defense, for a "united we stand" policy must prevail if a country can resist deterioration.

Defining patriotism as a love of country is simplistic. It is so much more than that: a love and duty of country expressed in good citizenship; protection of the ideals that gave birth to this country; serving a cause greater than self-interest and sacrificing for that cause if necessary.

I read recently, "Many may love America because it aspires to those ideals, then what they really love is the ideals, not America. Patriotism must mean loving your country for the same reason you love your family: simply because it is yours."

Like our family, our country, too, has its failures and disappointments. And like our family, we must tackle those faults to make a stronger and better union. If we are upset with the mistakes of government, we must work to correct them in the same way. As has been said, "It is principles, not surroundings -- deeds, not words -- that make good patriotic men and women."

Take a few minutes out of your busy day and ponder what is good and honorable about this country of ours. Lets work to strengthen and defend its principles and be a positive influence against negative forces.

Meta Cronia
Gainesville

McCain finally acts to calm hateful rhetoric
Kudos to Sen. John McCain. That's right, I said it. McCain displayed honor last week when taking the microphone away from a supporter in a town hall meeting who foolishly and falsely called Sen. Barack Obama an "Arab."

"No ma'am," he said, "Senator Obama is a good and decent man, we just happen to disagree on some issues."

It's high time McCain took action to denounce the kind of hate-filled speech that has been embraced by his radical supporters, like entertainer Sean Hannity. Some far-right wackos have even called Obama a terrorist. It doesn't help when Gov. Sarah Palin stirs the pot on one coast while McCain tries to calm the fears on the other.

McCain also told supporters that there would be nothing to fear in an Obama presidency. You see, we can disagree with each other without being disagreeable. The Rovian political approach (lie about your opponent until the people start to believe) is a symbol of the past.

It's time for a change; even McCain sees it now. I wonder if he'll be voting for Obama, too?

Arturo Corso
Gainesville

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