Patriotism, according to Donald Trump, means mindlessly standing and gazing at our flag during the national anthem, which reminds me of the Methodist minister at my church who told us being a Christian didn't mean sitting in church every Sunday. It was what you did the other six days of the week that counted.

Keeping that principle in mind, consider why Trump is the most unpatriotic president we have ever had. He never held a public sector job because he was too busy making his fortune, avoided military service and bragged he was too smart to pay taxes. He insulted U.S. Sen. John McCain, a war hero; attacked Muslim gold star parents whose son was killed in Iraq; and politicized soldiers' deaths in Niger and Gen. Kelly's son's death in Afghanistan.

Trump spread lies about Obama's birthplace to stoke racial animus and has shown contempt for our Constitution and First Amendment rights, saying the press should be silenced, citizens fired for peaceful protests and Muslims banned. He showed little disdain for Nazis with swastika flags in Charlottesville, Va. or for white supremacists displaying Confederate flags, wants Confederate monuments honoring those who fought the Civil War to maintain slavery proudly preserved, and refuses to denounce Putin's meddling in our election.

Think about what our flag symbolizes and our military fights for: freedom and justice for all. It is never disrespectful to protest injustices in peaceful ways. That's what patriotic Americans do. Think critically, reject authoritarian leaders like Trump and vote.

Linda L. Doenitz, Bloomington

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