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The Post and Courier provides a forum for our readers to share their opinions, and to hold up a mirror to our community. Publication does not imply endorsement by the newspaper; the editorial staff attempts to select a representative sample of letters because we believe it’s important to let our readers see the range of opinions their neighbors submit for publication.

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Letters: Patriotism is more than symbols. It's about improving our nation for everyone.

pc-071821-ed-letters

The American flag is a symbol of freedom to many, but it is a reflection of injustice for others.

A Wednesday letter writer said that people who show disrespect for our country should leave.

The writer singled out an Olympic athlete for protesting, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar for a tirade against the United States.

What the writer doesn’t realize is that some of us who love our country feel an obligation to try to correct some of our problems and make our country better. Doing that may require bold gestures and actions.

In taking a knee, Kaepernick was protesting against police brutality. He asked, “Isn’t this lethal racism every American’s problem, and aren’t we letting down our flag by not fulfilling its promise?”

Waving the American flag is not necessarily patriotic. Were the flag wavers at the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol patriots?

I’m bothered by those who link patriotism with saying the Pledge of Allegiance, standing and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and deifying the American flag. These are examples of symbolic patriotism.

What we need more of is substantive patriotism to improve our country in tangible ways. This could include serving on local school boards, volunteering at soup kitchens for the homeless, staying informed on issues and voting.

Using our First Amendment right to criticize our government in the hope of improving it is patriotic and important.

Symbolic patriotism is easy, and often mindless; substantive patriotism is what can make a country great.

HERB SILVERMAN

George Street

Charleston

Police need support

I was reading with interest and then horror Wednesday’s editorial regarding the warning signs for bad cops.

As the former commander of the Washington, D.C., police office of professional responsibility, the creator of D.C.’s first Force Investigation Unit that markedly reduced police-involved shootings and the former office of internal affairs’ senior policy adviser for Customs and Border Protection, I am well versed in the area of police misconduct.

There are many steps police departments can take to reduce misconduct, ranging from intensive prescreening, strict hiring guidelines, body cameras, extensive training, counseling, early warning tools and more.

One tool, however, is not removal from the job even if they’re ultimately found not guilty of committing a crime.

That suggestion in this country or any other civilized nation is ridiculous.

Much of the crime increase the country is facing today can be attributed to a sharp decline in proactive police work.

Police officers will tell you that proactive interactions are not worth the increased risk of losing their livelihood or ending up on the evening news. So we are left with defensive policing. What team wins by only playing defense?

Ridiculous suggestions such as firing officers, even if they’re not convicted of a crime, only fuel that flame.

The presumption must be that our officers are doing the right thing for the right reasons unless clear evidence determines otherwise.

Until that mindset again becomes the norm, the everyday dangers that we and our loved ones face will continue to grow.

DWIGHT M. WILLIAMS

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Wax Myrtle Court

Johns Island

Take climate action

The recent reports of heat waves hitting the United States have brought to light a worrying trend in our planet’s climate.

While South Carolina was spared from the record-setting temperatures occurring on the West Coast, we will not always be so lucky. Heat wave frequency and length have been increasing for more than 50 years, and do not show signs of stopping.

In South Carolina, beaches and tourism are a major part of our identity and economy.

Extremely high temperatures, however, make people not want to get outside to experience what our state has to offer.

Climate change is causing these worsened heat waves, and carbon emissions are driving climate change.

It was heartening to see U.S. Reps. Nancy Mace, Tom Rice, and William Timmons join the Conservative Climate Caucus last month.

Addressing climate change is in the best interest of South Carolinians, and numerous House bills have been introduced that seek to put a price on carbon emission to do so.

As part of their commitment to the people of this state, our representatives should introduce or sign onto legislation that will put a price on carbon and protect our state from even more heat waves.

NATHANIEL HIOTT

Briarcliff Road

Central

Kudos to cashier

On July 9, my wife and I returned to the Wentworth Street parking garage after enjoying the Michelangelo exhibit at Festival Hall only to encounter chaos. The garage was lined top to bottom with unmoving vehicles.

It was taking an inordinate amount of time to process each vehicle due largely to an antiquated credit charge system as well as making change for cash payments. This was exacerbated by traffic on Wentworth Street blocking the exit for periods of time.

Just then, a cashier, who had the vision and understanding to remedy the situation, arrived at work.

Melinda York opened the gates and waved a limited number of cars through quickly without payment to restore order and break the logjam.

I thanked her when we reached the exit window. By then, normal prices were paid and traffic flowed.

What a valuable employee. I hope her supervisors realize she is responsible for creating goodwill with many who were probably vowing never to park there again.

Every business should value employees with her initiative. Thank you again, Melinda York.

PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY

Clearview Drive

Charleston

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