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Weaponized Patriotism is a False Flag Attack

I believe I know patriotism after a career of public service centered on a proud 24 years on active duty, including combat deployment in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I served in and out of the military with many true patriots, dedicated individuals proud of our country and focused on helping our people live in peace, harmony, and prosperity, united in common purpose.  Real patriotism is discerned by action, not by self-proclamation.  Those are the phonies – beware of such false prophets…

While many of President Trump’s policies and behaviors are atrocious, I find his using patriotism as a weapon and means to further divide our already tragically fractured nation perhaps the most despicable.  Policies change as administrations and Congressional majorities trade and the nation always moves forward.  Trump’s dangerous rhetoric attacking our democracy and honorable institutions will have a lasting destructive impact and hurt the nation for years to come.

Patriotism is not the mandatory standing for the national anthem.  People should want to stand in respect for our traditions of freedom, proud history (especially as we commemorate D-Day today and the epic heroism of America’s best), and as imperfect as it is, for our amazing lasting democracy that still shines as an example to the world.  Patriotism is also understanding the right of those who wish not to stand as an example of the exact freedom for which we fight.

I have previously written about my disagreement with the NFL players choosing to express their protest by kneeling during the anthem.  I continue to believe there are more effective ways for them to make their point, especially without the distraction of the unintended perception of disrespect for veterans, first responders, et al.  Let me state again, the First Amendment only applies to government action…  No matter my disagreement with the players choice of forum, I took an oath to the Constitution.  I absolutely support individuals’ rights to peacefully protest and express themselves.  I also support the rights business owners, such as the NFL, to protect their brand and regulate employee conduct while “on the job.”  It was my sincere hope that the players and owners would resolve the issue through discussion.  I certainly do not support legislation.

President Trump shamefully resorts to this issue to play to his base and to distract attention away from his ongoing, serious failures of leadership and policy.  The recent NFL action was not good enough for him.  Trump wants to destroy anyone who does not support his naively warped view of patriotism.  I applaud the Philadelphia Eagles for choosing not to attend the White House event.  They canceled, not the White House.  The President could not have his grandiose spectacle and he lost interest.  It was always about him, not about sportsmanship, an amazing championship run, or even national interest.  So, he lashed out with his “go-to distraction” and again resorted to baseless attacks and dishonesty.  Eagles players did not kneel during the anthem at all throughout the season.  However, they did just stand on principle.  Kudos…

Weaponizing patriotism as a political tool is a sinister and desperate tactic done by someone without substance or purpose.  Trump relies on ignorance, hate, and divisiveness to conceal his lack of leadership, knowledge, and policy.  Trump is not the first president not to have served in the military, nor is there any such requirement.  He may be the first president never to have served the nation in any capacity – even while president!  His presidency has been all about enriching himself and his family business.  He does not know the meaning of service or patriotism.  For him to continually talk about love of country and attack those with whom he disagrees, labeling them as hating the country and unpatriotic is pure hypocrisy.  If anyone is not a patriot – it is President Trump himself.  He rejects the values, ideals, and principles that form the basis of our free society.  He continually attacks our proud, capable institutions and the dedicated professionals who selflessly make them work.  He certainly does not appear to believe in our country, our people, or our great democratic traditions.  Even Fox News appears to have had enough.  All Americans, regardless of political affiliation, must reject this tactic and ensure our politicians know we will not tolerate it.

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