Robert Reich wants Americans to be vigilant this July 4 against “exclusive patriotism” that “asserts a unique and superior ‘Americanism.’”
Former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and current University of California Berkeley professor Robert Reich wants Americans to be vigilant this July 4 against “exclusive patriotism” that “asserts a unique and superior ‘Americanism.’”
“We hear a lot about patriotism, especially around the Fourth of July. But in 2016, we’re hearing about two very different types of patriotism. One is an inclusive patriotism that binds us together. The other is an exclusive patriotism that keeps others out,” Reich writes.
Reich claims that “we’re now hearing a strident, exclusive patriotism. It asserts a unique and superior ‘Americanism that’s determined to exclude others beyond our borders.”
Reich, who served as Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor from 1993 to 1997, cites supporting tax cuts, building a border wall and celebrating entrepreneurship as examples of “exclusive patriotism.”
“Donald Trump famously wants to ban all Muslims from coming to America, and to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep out Mexicans,” he says. “Exclusive patriotism tells us to fear foreign terrorists in our midst — even though almost every terrorist attack since 9/11 has been perpetrated by American citizens or holders of green cards living here for a decade or more.”
“Inclusive patriotism instructs us to join together for the common good,” he says. “Such patriotism requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going — including a willingness to pay taxes.”
“Exclusive patriotism,” on the other hand, “celebrates the acquisitive individual and lone entrepreneur. It tells us that taxes on the wealthy slow economic growth and deter innovation.”
“Trump wants to reduce the highest income tax rate to 25 percent from today’s 39.6 percent. No matter that this would result in higher deficits or cuts in Social Security, Medicare and programs for the poor. They’re supposedly good for growth.”
Reich goes on to ask, “So will it be inclusive or exclusive patriotism? A celebration of ‘us’ or contempt for ‘them’?”
“Inclusive patriotism is our national creed. It is born of hope. Mean-spirited, exclusive patriotism is new to our shores. It is born of fear,” Reich writes.
Earlier this year, he wrote an article for Salon calling Trump a “21st century American fascist.” “Trump’s entire foreign policy consists of asserting American power against other nations. Mexico ‘will’ finance a wall. China ‘will’ stop manipulating its currency,” he wrote.