Jim de Bree | Revisiting Patriotism

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Over the past couple of weeks, The Signal has published an exchange of letters by Thomas Oatway and Rick Barker discussing whether Rep. Mike Garcia is a patriot. 

Clearly, both Mike Garcia and Rick Barker served their country in the military with distinction and we owe them our gratitude for doing so. America needs people to display heroic devotion to their country even if it means offering their lives in its defense. We would not enjoy the blessings of freedom without their endeavors. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their service. 

However, the concept of patriotism transcends the heroism of battle. It is incumbent upon all of us to display our patriotism by exercising the duties of good citizenship in our daily lives. While the determination of patriotic behavior beyond military service is more subjective than that of battlefield heroism, a patriot is someone who displays many positive attributes, including respecting the law. 

That was Mr. Oatway’s point. As he put it, on Jan. 6, 2021, Mike Garcia “voted to reject the legal and valid Electoral College votes from two states in the 2020 presidential election.” Oatway, and millions of other Americans, see this as disrespecting the rule of law on a day when Congress was subjected to an unprecedented attack. 

In response to criticism about his vote, on Jan. 7, 2021, Garcia issued a press release saying he believed there were “constitutional missteps by multiple states.” His press release was devoid of substantive factual or legal analysis and amounted to nothing but political spin. I have extensively researched the issues surrounding the rejection of the Arizona Electoral College votes and fail to see any reasonable basis for Garcia’s vote. 

That is why people, such as Mr. Oatway, reasonably question whether Garcia’s vote disrespected the U.S. Constitution. This has nothing to do with Garcia’s exemplary military service record, but has everything to do with how our nation is governed. 

Jim de Bree 


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