Patriotism Is Not Just a Trend

MY TURN-I was born on a military base and raised in a military family. The concept of patriotism was something that was ingrained and yet also very personal.

We didn’t waive flags around, plaster them on our cars, or wear them as clothing; it was just something that was understood. We also received excellent educational lessons on our duties as stewards of our country. History has shown us that it’s all too easy for a country to slip out of its original purpose, letting those that want to impose their religion on others, and spreading propaganda. To that end, I participated in protests and demonstrations. We were taught that blind following is not patriotism. 

Over the years I have known a number of people that had absolutely no interest in any form of patriotism. That’s the beauty of our country, because they don’t have to. Many didn’t know that we were a military family, because we took pride in our situation, but didn’t shove it in people’s faces. Some of these individuals were the type that you knew would adopt any trend that swept across the field. From idiotic fashion choices to cars and even home décor, they bought into whatever the latest designer was selling. I think everyone knows people like this, and most of us shake our heads and secretly think the word “fools.” 

In days gone by, we attended various military ceremonies to honor those that had served as well as spending more time than one should have to in military cemeteries. Just as members of our family rarely spoke of their time in war zones, we felt that our patriotism was something automatic. 

However, this was not so with some of those that became “trendy patriots.” While they may not have been able to spell the word, things changed when they suddenly had children that entered the service. From the moment that their kids put on a uniform, everything in their sight was not only plastered with flags and their particular branch of the military, but they began dictating their version of “patriotism” to others. As you can imagine, their version was also spackled with that strange rendition of pseudo-Christianity that is Bible cherry-picked to match their belief system. 

Protest Is NOT Anti-American 

One of the key signs of how clueless these “trendy people” are is in their total confusion about protest. In every case they view the NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem as a rejection of our country and being anti-American. They associate a protest with the rejection of the flag, which (gasp)  is all part of their hyper-nationalistic personae. 

(Image Source: USA Today)

Various members of our family were part of police forces, and all know that people of color are not only singled out for harassment, but the stats show that more Black American males are incarcerated and even killed than any others. When I try to explain that America is steeped in “protest” as part of our history, these trendy people just have a deer-in-the-headlights look. 

As a country, we began our journey in protest. From the Boston Tea Party, to suffragettes, to the Civil Rights demonstrations, women’s rights, protesting unjust wars, and protecting our planet, we have changed both political and public opinion. We have brought situations to the forefront that many were unaware of, and most of all, we created change. 

Our national anthem is one that represents all that is good as well as our country as a whole and making a statement about something that is drastically wrong is a demand to bring attention to the unjust. 

One of the odd things that happens when you try to have a conversation with these “trendy people” is that you find out that they have no information on the history of our country, any real details on any of the wars, and frankly, they never paid attention to much of this until their kids entered the military. This is where it becomes dangerous, because they are now ripe for brainwashing propaganda that has no relationship to reality. You will hear them fuse the words “God, Jesus, and America” in the same sentence, and they feel that kneeling during the anthem, or refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance is now an affront to their religion. At this point, I typically remind them that the word “God” was added to the Pledge in the 1950’s to combat the Red Scare. They quickly grab their phones to Google it! (damn those pesky facts) 

Beware of Hyper Nationalism 

Hyper nationalism is a slippery slope, and for those that don’t know history, it plays an integral part as one of the characteristics of fascism. Nothing promotes a one-sided ideology like the demand to bow down to a country’s flag and anthem. You have channels such as Fox (not considered a media source) that is the mouthpiece of the extreme conservative view, reporting what they want and twisting facts to appeal to this very same demographic. They encourage hate against those that protest or  even don’t buy into their Bible-thumping idea of Americana. 

An article in The Hill that was written by a former member of the military is entitled: Presidents’ Day and America’s troubling nationalism, and includes: 

“Patriotism is a good quality, and as a former Air Force officer I commend it; but blind allegiance to flag and country is foolhardy and potentially dangerous. 

If presidents used nationalism to promote American reflection, prosperity and unity, then it would be a wonderful thing. However, this new chauvinistic jingoism deprives us of necessary self-criticism and encourages us to see others as inferior. Instead of greatness, this hyper-nationalism has historically led to militarism, hatred and decay.” 

I, like the author of this article, view those that suddenly lifted their heads out of the last trendy thing to discover their sick and twisted version of patriotism, as a sham. There is nothing patriotic about their actions, and is instead, the complete opposite. 

We have seen this in the past, and it didn’t end well for them. 

My patience with these trendy people has ended. I used to just turn around and walk away, but now I stand up to them and their bullying tactics. My family did not fight in wars so that these morons could impose their ideas on the rest of us. 

Gloves are off — oh trendy ones.

 

(S. Novi is a journalist who worked in the media and continues to seek out truth and integrity. A liberal and one who is suspicious of cults and empty promises. Her posts originate at Medium.com. She is a contributor to CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.