As we reflect on this Memorial Day on those servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country and its freedoms, we should understand that they were the true patriots. Others are also patriotic, even if they didn’t fight in our wars or serve our country. They honor our heroes by displaying the American flag and other gestures to show their pride in our nation.
We all have our own definition of patriotism. For me, in essence, patriotism is a desire to keep our country strong, honor the Constitution, and to treat all of our citizens equally and fairly for the greater good.
Unfortunately, there are many Americans who equate patriotism with an alt-right nationalistic mindset. Patriotism shouldn’t espouse exclusivity and discrimination. Patriotism doesn’t promote hatred and violence against our own citizens and neighbors. When one supports ideas and actions that hurt our country, don’t call yourself patriotic.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you are OK with the draft-evading presidential candidate, now commander-in-chief, for treating the Purple Heart like it was some souvenir trinket and lamenting the fact he didn’t have one.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you treasure the 2nd Amendment as the most sacred part of our Constitution but eschew the tenets of the 1st Amendment, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to peaceably assemble in protest, and yes, freedom of the press.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you agree with a president that wants to ban people from entering our country based on their religion.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you vehemently criticize one president for bowing to the leader of a tyrannical regime that chops off the heads and hands of its people and represses women, but are silent when the current president does so.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you support the president when he chastises our strong European allies on the world’s stage but congratulates the leader of the Philippines for doing a “great job” in his condoning the murder of over 2,500 people during the country’s “war on drugs.”
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you shrug off the undeniable fact that our number one adversary, Russia, interfered with our elections and the president has yet to be persuaded by that conclusion reached by all of our Intel agencies.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you are not bothered by the president’s meeting with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in the Oval Office, whereby he divulged classified information and that only the Russian state press was permitted to observe while the American media was locked out.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you are unconcerned that the president impeded, if not obstructed, the investigation of Russian ties to our election by firing the man who was spearheading the investigation and admitting that the “Russian thing” was the motive.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you are not disturbed by the president’s son-in-law, who is woefully inexperienced in government (as is the president), who allegedly attempted to set up a secretive back channel communication line with the Kremlin even though the current administration was not in power in order to purportedly skirt U.S. intelligence surveillance.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you couldn’t care less or even applaud the president praising a U.S. Congressman-elect for assaulting a reporter doing his job but is silent on the heroic deaths of two veterans (and a third victim) at the hands of white racist extremists.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if it doesn’t bother you that the president and the U.S, House of Representatives produced a health care proposal that will leave 23 million Americans including a large chunk of the president’s supporters without health care.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you allow the president to roll back regulations that protect the country’s air and water from polluters.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you think for one minute the president has nothing to hide by refusing to share his tax returns with the American people.
Don’t call yourself patriotic if you believe the president is putting America’s interests first and not his own family and his business interests.