Are MAGAs true patriots?
Real patriots preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Not the president.
I’ve heard too many hard-core supporters of our current president proudly proclaim their unrivaled patriotism.
Certainly MAGAs are more patriotic than the Democrats, the socialists, the democratic socialists, the independents, moderates and RINOs, or any other Americans who are horrified by the president.
But consider 20 reasons to be skeptical of MAGA mega patriots:
1. Waving or wrapping in the flag is not really patriotism. It’s cheap and easy patriotism.
2. Misreading the Second Amendment to claim unfettered gun rights and dismissing fear of gun violence and mass shootings (1,200 kids shot since Parkland, per Miami Herald) is not patriotism.
Nor is play-acting the people’s militia by dressing up in Army-Navy surplus and showing up in Charlottesville bristling with semiautomatic weapons, untrained but ready to take over from legit law enforcement, keep the peace and shoot Antifa but not Proud Boys if they get rowdy.
3. Ignoring Article II of the Constitution that the Founders intended to limit presidential powers is not patriotism.
4. Ignoring the 25th amendment, a fail-safe against a true national emergency when a regal president abuses power, is not patriotism.
5. Applauding as this president ignores Congress, which the Founders intended as the first among the coequal branches as it best represents the people, to spend public money on something Congress did not want it spent on, is not patriotism. (What about Obama going over Congress? See #18.)
6. Allowing the president to ignore the rule of law, separation of powers and system of checks and balances that make American democracy so enduring and a model for the world is not patriotism.
7. Insisting that normal rules don’t apply to this president because he’s a successful billionaire and “not a politician,” and cheering as he undermines our institutions, sneers at decency, decorum and honesty, jeers and smears anyone who dares to challenge him, and divides the nation against itself for his ego pleasure and political gain, is not patriotism.
8. Attacking Americans who disagree with the president is not patriotism.
9. Attacking the free press that holds the president accountable is not patriotism. Our Founders knew the true enemy of the people is the powerful who fear the free press.
10. Attacking “DemocRATs” and liberals for challenging the president is not patriotism.
11. Attacking law enforcement — the Justice Department, the FBI, the special counsel, the state attorneys general — for pursuing evidence of crimes and misdemeanors by the president and his people is not patriotism. Blue lives matter even more when pursuing the rich and powerful.
12. Allowing for rigged elections to protect favored politicians by falsely claiming voter fraud to make it harder for some Americans to vote (e.g., the poor and minorities) is not patriotism.
13. Hating government and government workers while depending on government and government workers is not patriotism.
14. Hating Congress and politicians but not bothering to vote because they’re all just a bunch of corrupt liars is not patriotism. It’s willful ignorance. Voting is the most patriotic thing we can do, yet only half of Americans — including MAGAs — do.
15. Defending the president’s power grab through a declaration of a fake national emergency over a fake crisis based on fake facts to fulfill a fake campaign pledge to pander to resentment and sucker voters is not patriotism.
16. Demonizing certain immigrants and tired, poor, huddled asylum seekers and exaggerating their threat to the nation is not patriotism.
17. Defending everything the president does and demanding respect for him no matter what he does — even when he insults and denigrates decent Americans and takes pleasure even glee in disrespecting the office he holds — is not patriotism.
18. Rejecting legitimate concern by patriotic Americans about the president’s actions and behavior, parroting White House/Fox/alt-right talking points, posting snarky memes on social media, or trotting out tired old whatabouts (Hillary, Obama) is not patriotism.
Whatabouts are the last refuge of those without a case or a clue.
19. Mob rule by a minority of resentful people who are slavishly loyal to the president as he sends the country in a dangerous direction on their behalf is not patriotism.
20. The 57 percent of Americans — and 62 percent of independents — who said they definitely won’t vote to reelect the president in 2020 would consider themselves no less patriotic than the 30 percent who say they will.
I suspect many MAGAs would trash me for questioning their incredible patriotism.
If facts matter, they might like to know that I served in the military — where I had firearms training — and in government, including at the Pentagon working directly with the Secretary of Defense. So I believe in strong national security.
Also, I follow and vote in every election, love the country, believe our Constitutional system is the best in history, stand tall for the National Anthem with hat over heart, and even — gasp — have worked for Republicans.
I’m also proud this country welcomed my immigrant mother and her family from World War II-ravaged Europe even though her father was a soldier in the German army, which was our enemy.
None of this means I’m more patriotic than any other American. Suggesting I’m more patriotic would be the height of unpatriotic. To wave or wrap myself in the flag, using it as a sword and a shield against other Americans, would be to desecrate the flag.
So would failing to question the political powers that be — especially the president of the United States.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer