America is greatest when she overcomes her wrongs.  As she did with emancipation. And with the recognition of worker rights, women’s rights, consumer rights, civil rights, gay rights. But the path to greatness has had switchbacks, and progress has been slow. Today unarmed black Americans are still shot dead by cops. American minorities are still disproportionately thrown in jail. American Hispanics are profiled as ‘illegal’. And Americans with ‘ethnic’ names are turned down for jobs.

Some American NFL players protested by taking a knee during the national anthem.

To this, the President of the United States — a man who is supposed to be the President of all Americans — announced to a crowd of adoring zealots that these players, these “sons of bitches”, should be fired. For what? Exercising their first amendment rights? What if Trump had demanded that the NFL fire all players who owned guns?

Let’s note; the NFL kneelers have not been violent. They haven’t demanded the anthem be silenced. They haven’t asked anyone else do the same. They have picked no pocket, bloodied no nose, nor chanted hate or racism. They haven’t even carried a tiki torch. And yet they are sneered at for exercising their constitutional rights.

Patriotism does not demand indifference when injustice occurs. It doesn’t mandate slavish obeisance to a symbol. Patriotism is an action. It is in service to fellow Americans — as a soldier, a first responder, a teacher. It is contributing to the public weal by working and paying taxes. It is giving charity to the less fortunate.

Patriotism is loving your country so much you want it to be the best it can be. It is caring enough that you want the nation’s faults to be fixed.

Patriotism is quiet. It is not a lapel pin or a bumper sticker. It isn’t expressed in the size — or number – of flags you fly. It isn’t proclaimed with a tweet. And it isn’t thrust into the next guy’s face.

It gets worse. Trump’s slam of Colin Kaepernick and others at a rally in Alabama was racist. The crowd was white. The targets of his ranting scorn all black. He offered no understanding of their position. He made no allowance for some very fine people on both sides”.

Every American can make their patriotism count – by voting. In 13 months, patriots can go to the ballot box and make America great again. And if they don’t you can bet the racists will make it harder the next time. But that’s another post.


Really? 9.9.17 Pruitt Promotes Polio; Limbaugh’s Folly; Trump & Churches; Sikhs & Sharia.

September 9, 2017

Too soon? Scott Pruitt, the EPA Administrator, says that we shouldn’t talk about climate change while Irma is bearing down on the US. That’s absurd. If we waited until there was no polio to start work on preventing polio, there would still be polio. The cancer of climate denial. Big tobacco denied the connection between smoking and […]

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In Pardoning Arpaio Trump Bets It All on Racism.

August 26, 2017

  Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio – on a Friday night, in August, during a hurricane. In the (political) old days, this would have been a ‘news dump’. A story designed to sink into the weekend, buried beneath a bigger event. But with the desperate need to fill time, cable-news networks have hours to devote to every […]

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Trump Says Heather Heyer Is no Better than a Neo-Nazi.

August 19, 2017

Another week in the Trump presidency winds down – and like most of the previous ones, it is well called the ‘his worst week’ yet. Trump is a man celebrated for his faults – so steeped in wickedness and disregard for humanity that it takes great endurance to wade through his failings and pick his worst. But let’s […]

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The Far Right Embraces a Sinking President – And Vice Versa.

August 17, 2017

The white right has claimed that Confederate statues are nothing more than cultural symbols. That to tear them down is to deny history or at least revise it. They maintain the fiction that the civil war was a fight for states rights  – and not to preserve slavery. A claim the southern states themselves repudiated […]

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Trump Speaks from the Heart – and the World Hears the Evil.

August 15, 2017

Trump loves Nazis. In his initial comments, he blamed the violence in Charlottesville on ‘many sides’. It took two days – and a whole lot of criticism – for him to condemn neo-nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK by name. And even then, while he said the required words, his heart wasn’t in it. Then […]

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Nationalism Isn’t Patriotism – But It Is Politically Useful.

January 3, 2017

Conservatives spanked President Obama for not wearing a flag pin. Which raises the question, what does a flag pin signify? The wearer believes it’s patriotism. It isn’t. The pin is no more than a biker patch – his ‘colors’ if you will. The pin wearer declares himself to be no more than a nationalist wearing […]

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Republicans Embrace Racism.

September 3, 2016

Racism has been mainstreamed. White nationalists – David Duke and the like – celebrate their hijack of the GOP. The Republican candidate has made his bones by disparaging Hispanics and Blacks – while gleefully retweeting the opinions of the ‘alt-right’ – itself a euphemism for the self-pitying, ‘European-American’, proto-fascist, neo-Nazi riff-raff that is the reactionary extreme. […]

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Gov. Paul LePage Displays His Racism – Maine Style

January 12, 2016

“One must admit LePage has elevated assholery to a level far past the extraordinary and into a rarified sphere that might be termed divine.” — Stephen King  Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage, is the current Republican poster boy for incivility. Who is he, you might ask? Let me tell you. He’s an ‘up by your bootstraps’, self-made […]

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