PAUL MURPHY, San Clemente
Patriotism, defined by Merriam-Webster as a love for or devotion to one’s country, is one of the most critical aspects of achieving the “American Dream” or at least being part of something bigger than one’s self in the New World.
Out of the majority of political leaders serving in office who claim to be patriotic within our own local communities, the only politician in my community of San Clemente that has redefined and greatly expressed such immense patriotism in our troubled times is Rep. Mike Levin of California’s 49th Congressional District.
Ever since his election in 2018 and his first term on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. this year, Levin, a former environmental attorney, has greatly shown his love and devotion for the marginalized and disenfranchised peoples, as well as our own Planet Earth we call home.
Fighting for a livable minimum wage, a right to organize a labor union, as well as collectively bargain and strike, and public investment into necessary infrastructure and engineering projects is patriotic because it is devotion toward the ordinary worker struggling to live and survive.
Fighting for divestment from non-renewable energies, a ban on off-shore drilling, a ban on toxic chemical pesticides, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, opposing proposed toll roads, and supporting the Green New Deal are patriotic due to devotion toward a planet suffering from human-made environmental destruction in the form of climate change.
Fighting for a woman’s right to choose when and when not to start a family, the civil rights of the LGBTQIA+, the dignity of foreign nationals living in the country, and criminal justice reform are patriotism due to love for people who have been pushed aside in our own sexist, homophobic, misogynist, transphobic, racist, nativist, classist, and xenophobic society, as well as culture.
Congressman Levin is the only representative in our community standing up against not only a horrible president, but also a political and economic system that has historically and currently favored the rich and big businesses, as well as radical religious special interests.
If he is reelected in November 2020, the fight for progress and justice for all will move onto the next decade and beyond. If you’re looking for someone in office in your own local community that embodies patriotism, it’s Congressman Mike Levin.