Let me say right off the bat that I am loyal to the Homeland and against everyone we agree to hate (regardless of race, religion, national origin or professional sports affiliation).

I confess that reciting a pledge or standing during a national anthem does not seem to to be the best way of demonstrating patriotism.

OPINION

Growing up people always told me you could trust a man if he had a firm handshake and looked you in the eye. One day I figured out that every unscrupulous salesman and crooked politician in the country looked people in the eye and firmly clasped their hands. It didn’t bother them at all because they were immoral.

When I was a child adults taught me a lot of things they felt it was important to know if I was going to grow up to be a good American.

For example, I was taught to hate the Japanese and the Germans. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor without warning and mistreated American prisoners of war. The Germans tried to eliminate all the Jews in the world and kill anyone who disagreed with them. These were truly evil people I was told by members of The Greatest Generation, who had fought against them in World War II.

Today the Japanese and Germans are our good friends and great allies. Heck, the Japanese love baseball more than we do. We stopped making stuff in this country a long time ago in order to buy it from the Japanese.

Things change. Today our president threatens to totally destroy North Korea, but if we avoid a nuclear war, we might someday be buying all our industrial robots from factories there (putting millions of patriotic Americans out of work). Patriotic corporate leaders will tell you it’s all about the free market and union workers make way too much money.

A lot of the stuff we buy today is made in China. I can remember a time when it was our patriotic duty to hate the Chinese, along with the Russians.

Of course, the liberals wanted to get cozy with those commies even as Reagan was calling the Soviet Union the Emil Empire. Now the Democrats claim the Ruskies were trying to undermine our democracy, but the Republican president publicly admires Vladimir Putin.

The way the definition of patriotism changes from generation to generation, or even year to year, can be confusing.

I do think I am clear on professional football players, at least those who refuse to stand during the national anthem. The legitimacy of their birth is questionable, they must be fired from their jobs and ought to be banished from the United States.

Actually, that’s a much more tolerant philosophy than my father would have implemented had he been elected president. If Dad had his way any professional athlete who talked during the national anthem, or simply remained silent while others sang, would have been shot dead. He felt such behavior was disrespectful.

This is the same man who told me never to trust anyone who wore an American flag in his lapel pin.

“They’re just trying to sell you something,” he said. “They would use the flag to wipe their butts if it helped them make a sale.”

And if a man wraps himself in the American flag, looks you in the eye and claims to know a patriot when he sees one, you can make up your own mind if he’s being honest.

As for me, it seems every time Americans get the sharp end of the stick in the backside, there’s some politician urging everyone to smile, sing and proclaim their loyalty to flag and country.

I don’t need to look them in the eye to know I’m being hustled.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

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