LETTER: What I learned as a Greenwich Patriot

Submitted by Svetlana Wasserman, Greenwich

In the 1970s, my family and I fled the oppression of the Soviet Union and were welcomed as refugees in the United States. I have a lot of gratitude and love for this country which gave us a second chance. And so, as a freedom-loving American, I was eager to learn more about a group called the “Greenwich Patriots” and signed up for their newsletter.

When I think of patriotism, the first thing that comes to mind is sacrifice. Freedom is not free. The greatest generation did this, leaving their homes and jobs to fight a war on another continent to protect other democracies. Those who remained also sacrificed themselves. Meat and sugar were rationed, Sunday driving was virtually banned, and curfews were imposed.

And so, I was quite surprised by the letters in my inbox from the “Greenwich Patriots”. Amid the COVID pandemic that has killed more than twice as many Americans as World War II, as our country’s health agencies pleaded with people to self-quarantine, wear masks and get vaccinate to protect their fellow Americans, the Greenwich Patriots complained about the inconvenience of “medical tyrants”. asking us to follow these life-saving practices. The “patriots” are attacking Greenwich Hospital, our city government and our schools for offering or encouraging the vaccine.

Patriotism also means protecting our personal freedom to live the life we ​​choose as long as our actions do not harm others. Our constitution requires a separation of church and state. Here, too, I was shocked to hear my Greenwich patriots celebrate that the Supreme Court imposed its religious values ​​on women in the overthrow of Roe. What could be more exaggerated than the government forcing women to give birth? I also don’t understand their constant attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. Doesn’t freedom mean being able to identify with what one wants to be?

And while my Greenwich Patriots celebrated ‘those who value human life’ when Roe was overthrown, they showed a callous disregard for human life by posting discredited medical advice daily claiming that masks and the Covid vaccine will kill you but that ivermectin and natural remedies will save you. On several occasions, they promoted COVID medical forums with State Representative Kimberly Fiorello featuring non-specialist doctors who had been berated by their former peers. Where is the love of life while dispensing life-threatening medical advice?

Unbiased education is something I value as a patriot. In the Soviet Union, we were only taught what the state wanted us to think about our country. It’s not education. It’s propaganda. And so I was shocked that our Greenwich Patriots are asking the same for our education system. They fear that teaching children about the thorniest parts of our history — our treatment of Native Americans, Black Americans, and immigrants, or teaching about the contributions of those Americans — will lead to guilt and mental illness.

Here’s what I learned about my involvement with the Greenwich Patriots. Patriotism is not what you say. Patriotism is what you do to help your fellow Americans.

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