Cosmetic patriotism always turned me off—as if by waving the nation’s flag big and proud, so everyone sees it, or by chanting U-S-A so the whole world hears —that somehow those displays make them more patriotic than those who don’t participate. It’s similar to how some religious people who wear their faith on their sleeves and in some cases, shame those who don’t.
But a great majority of patriotic Americans, while respecting the flag, national anthem and other symbols of our great nation—understand that what thousands before us died and fought for are the principles the flag represents.
Truth be told, real patriots aren’t “threatened” by peaceful protests on a football field, they understand the United States is the world’s beautiful democratic experiment “rooted”—at least on paper —in the core principles of freedom, equality and justice for all. And enshrined in those principles, comes the right to protest, to speak out against injustice, inequity or politics with the hope of bringing change.
But that sort of thinking might prove too difficult or complicated for an egomaniacal privileged boy from Queens who now finds himself serving as president of the United States. Back in the day, President Donald Trump used a heel spur to avoid the horror show that was Vietnam. Then on Friday night, he stood at an Alabama political rally and called out Arizona Senator John McCain for voting down a reckless repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act. John McCain is a hero who got tortured and held in solitary confinement for more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison after he got shot down by Viet Cong while he was fighting for his country in what was clearly a misguided war. Nonetheless, McCain was there, fighting for his nation—he is a patriot, not just someone who engages in self-serving theatrics and charged divisive language.
That Donald Trump, a self serving and ruthless real estate developer in NYC has the nerve and perverse ego to try and shame John McCain is grotesque. That Americans would applaud Trump’s words leaves me feeling sick for vast portions of my nation’s people.
It’s pathetic our president is far more self-serving and attention-loving than the well paid sports stars he critiques — as he further destroys any sense of reverence for the nation’s presidency. And it’s tragic so many Americans still back him and can’t seem to how he’s exploiting their passions for his own political gain.
While a flooded and powerless Puerto Rico pleas for help and assistance, as our neighbor Mexico picks up the pieces while recovery workers find and bury the dead and as parts of the great state of Texas continue to mop up infectious toxic sludge covering many poor neighborhoods around Houston, this president stirs up America’s awful ugly by blasting pro-sports athletes who engage in peaceful protests. His bully pulpit has proven to be pathetic, divisive and unhealthy for the nation. The hope is that the majority of the American people will see through his charade and rise to the occasion. The need for true patriotism has never been greater.