In the 90's, I became the Broker in Charge for a small Real Estate firm in South Carolina. The owner was a small, petty but very rich man. The company had the word American in it and I attempted a ton of marketing strategies revolving around the American flag, the colors of the American flag and all manner of lapel pins, car signs, etc. I even found it necessary to wage a war with the local newspaper over the use of the American flag in advertising. We eventually prevailed because we had the word American in our name. To say the least, I have a degree from the school of red, white and blue. I eventually left the company and forged a path to my own company.
I find it extremely ironic that while I used American affects during my time at the above mentioned Real Estate Company, there were no shortage of good ole boys, hunters and basic redneck folks who would poke fun at me for wearing the colors of the USA and yet these same folks became the biggest "Patriots" in the world after 9-11 and even more so after the election of Barack Obama. True Patriotism is easy to prove. Were you eligible to serve your Country and did you do so? No reasonable person could argue with the Patriotic intents of folks who willingly defend the Country. The problem is, there seems to be an unlimited supply of militia inspired, chicken hawk cowards who choose to wrap themselves in an American flag in an attempt to display their pride for the Country. This was prevalent during the Bill Clinton years and it's become an epidemic during the Obama Presidency. During the Bush years, these same folks would consider any criticism of the President as an attack on our troops even though Bush took the troops into a war based on lies and even shut down the Government office dedicated to bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice.
At some point, the gun crazy, anti government, fear mongering has to come to a head and stop. Never has this been more true than the after effects of the attacks on 9-11. We seem to have forgotten that instead of keeping us safe, Bush actually resided over the attacks of that day. Instead of being smart, Bush bought into the mindset that Bin Laden desired by spending ourselves into oblivion and declaring war on a tactic of war and by invading a Country that had nothing to do with the attacks of 9-11.
We were all in unison after 9-11 but some of the patterns that have remained are actually disturbing. Firefighters in New York as well as all First Responders were rightfully supported and honored but in my opinion, some have abused the power and influence that they found after that day. Who could blame a Fireman, Policeman or Soldier for basking in the glow of Patriotism and especially attention by the opposite sex simply for being in a certain job position?
The problem is, that many have now merged the love of Country, hatred of Government and false Patriotism into a hybrid energy that is doing us a lot more harm than good. My best example would be the case of a local police officer who was killed on the job. Don't get me wrong, this is an awful situation and any time an officer dies, it's a sad thing but being a police officer isn't nearly as dangerous as we make it out to be. In fact, a policeman is far more likely to commit suicide than to be killed by a criminal. That being said, there are police officers who die on the job and in the case mentioned above, we aren't even sure of the exact details yet (although the claim is that he was killed while chasing a drug dealer who also is dead). For some reason, this particular death was an epic reflection of police lives matter. My entire hometown was shutdown while hundreds of policeman...some from other states that made a procession to his burial spot. There were also hundreds of people who lined the freeway and roads waving American flags and saluting as the procession came through. Fire stations were also present and flying giant American flags from their trucks over the roads in a display of support. My question isn't to wonder why an officer would receive support but why has this sentiment peaked at this moment? Could it have to do with a white backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement? Could it be false patriotism by people who want to prove how patriotic they are? I think it's a sad combination of all of the above and why has this officer received so much attention while others before were an afterthought? Please realize that I'm not being critical of the police or the good cops that are in it for the right reasons. I had this very conversation with a cousin. She was actually being pretty ugly and racist in relation to unarmed people being shot and killed by police. When I spoke up, she reminded me that her son was a police officer. I told her that I loved her and her son but that that doesn't change the fact that there are bad cops and that there is a need to call them out in order to preserve the honor of the good cops like her son. There's nothing as honorable as an honest peace officer but there's nothing as rotten as a crooked one. If you're a true Patriot, you'll support the good, the honest, the decent (regardless of skin color) and those who truly protect and serve but you'll also stop using the American flag or your since of pride to cover your racism, sexism and discriminating ways. When it comes to the USA, we are not Northerners, Southerners, Liberals or Conservatives when it comes to our freedoms or threats from terrorism but we are all Americans. Can we start to behave as such?