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The right to dissent

New York Teacher

President Trump tells people to go back where they came from for being critical of the U.S — this coming from a man who has been very critical of American policies and Americans both before and after coming into office. (The words “American carnage” come to mind.)

While we teach students that articulating perceived injustices is the very foundation of our democracy, our president sees such expressions as unpatriotic! Injustices from slavery to denying women the right to vote were rectified due to citizens expressing discontent. Progress comes about through dissent. Perhaps Trump needs to be reminded that dissent is not disloyalty.

The love of country that he uses as an argument to fend off criticism is dangerous in itself, but when the recipients of such chastising are women of color he is taking the country into a very dark place.

Criticizing America is both a right and a responsibility of engaged citizens. Our schools and teachers might be the only line of defense against the dangerous thinking that equates criticism of America with disloyalty.

Larry Hoffner, retired


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