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What did Benito Mussolini in Italy, Adolf Hitler in Germany and Joseph Stalin in Union of Soviet Socialist Republics use to stir up patriotism? Fear.

When President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address, what did he use to stir up patriotism? Fear. Fear of illegal immigrants as criminals and taking away jobs, doing all manner of evil things, in order to justify building a wall.

Patriotism has become an excuse for aggression, hate and bigotry. It once was meant to be love of country and the Constitution. Patriotism was once respect for everyone, born in this country or an immigrant seeking a better life.

Our ancestors swore to uphold the ideas of freedom and sought to be accepted and to accept others, not just certain ones. Patriotism is never to be used to carry out hateful agendas, but in the last two years of the Trump administration it has become popular.

There is hate, retaliation, rivalry and most sadly fear of the “other”— those who do not look or speak like me. What has happened to our country and where did it go wrong? It’s time to renew the true meaning of patriotism.

Allegra Zick, North Freedom