We need to discuss patriotism again.

According to Dictionary.com, patriotism is defined as “devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.”

We have spent a great deal of time and expended massive effort this year arguing about patriotism and what it means, what we think it should mean, to ourselves and to others.

When I read the definition, I feel a sense of personal pride, that the meaning of it should come from within me. Love is an emotional response that cannot be quantified. Support is a way of sustaining or withstanding for another; this varies on a case by case basis, dependent upon what the individual or group needs at the time. Finally, when related to the country, defense automatically conjures thoughts of our military and war. However, defense can also be applied to mean protection of individuals or groups, physically or mentally.

Nowhere in this definition does it mention symbols, much less specify anthems or flags. It does, however, plainly state we should love and support one another, and ultimately rise to their defense.

So why discuss this today? Because I see a huge double standard, a level of hypocrisy that I cannot let slide past.

Many people claim offense that athletes across the country are taking a knee during the National Anthem to draw attention to police brutality. They hold out “patriotism” as their reason; they clutch their pearls and cluck their tongues and gasp in horror as thugs silently drop to one knee for a few moments in time, because they have lived such sheltered lives and this is easier than taking the time to just listen. Just stop and listen with an open heart and an open mind. And that would actually be patriotic.

So where is that double standard? Well, the vast majority of people who decry these silent protests as unpatriotic are hailing Lord CheetoJizz as Captain Super Patriotic. The “Law and Order” candidate who has been endorsed by ICE (no, the union actually), who promises the moon and the stars and the sky but has no actual policies or positions. Remember him, the clown with the bad hair?

Love is not an emotion I sense emanating from him, ever. He is a bully, a narcissist who wants to punch back always, even at the smallest perceived slight.

He does not offer support; in fact, he goes in the opposite direction and tears everyone and everything down right before he holds himself out to be the only one who can fix it, the only savior who can rescue us from it all.

And defense is quite laughable. He is in all things the opposite of defense when it comes to people other than himself. He spends much of his time singling out people, exacting petty revenge for every perceived slight; he bashes everything about our country and the people in it who make it the wonderful place that it is.

At last night’s debate, he pulled the most unpatriotic move of his entire campaign, which is saying quite a lot. He called into question our entire system of democracy, simply by continuing to insist upon the debunked conspiracy theory that our elections are rigged. This is an insult to all the people involved in the process, from the voters to the Secretaries of State to the Governors. And that is just one day, one event, one answer to one question. Anyone who supports him does not have any right to question the patriotism of another.

I truly believe it is that simple. Trump is unpatriotic, and his supporters, by extension, are as well. So next time a player goes to take a knee, Trump supporters need to take a figurative seat.



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