06/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Listen My Childlren...

Tonight is the 235th anniversary of Paul Revere's ride.

If you're too old to remember what you memorized in grade school, you can refresh your memory with Longfellow's poem (much of which has now been discredited, according to Wikipedia).

Revere was a patriot.

Nowadays, teabaggers like to call themselves "patriots." Just a couple of weeks ago, I got a robocall that asked, "Do you consider yourself a tea party patriot?" I don't remember whose voice was on the call, but maybe it was Tom Tancredo's.

I'll confess to a certain bias against anyone who calls himself a patriot; that's like inventing a cool nickname for yourself and expecting everyone else to use it. Nicknames don't work that way--they're given to you by others. Being called a "patriot" is an honor that's also bestowed on you by others, often after your death.

Maybe it's just me, but I perceive a real difference between what Paul Revere did and wearing a funny hat and holding up a misspelled sign while sitting on your fat ass in a lawn chair in some park somewhere.

But maybe that's just me.