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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023

Where Is Patriotism?

Pride in America is faltering

The origin of the phrase, “If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black,” dates back to at least the 1600s and is most often used when accusing someone of hypocrisy. The phrase appears in the book “Don Quixote,” and even Shakespeare used this technique in one of his plays when he wrote, “Pot, meet kettle.”

Despite some who say it’s a racist phrase, it actually dates back to the medieval kitchens, where pots and kettles were made from iron, and both would be streaked with black smoke despite the best efforts to clean them. So, it would be an act of hypocrisy, of course, for the pot to call the kettle black.

Well, when President Biden tweeted out last week, “You can’t love your country only when you win. You can’t obey the law only when it’s convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace or enable lies,” you know what I was thinking? That’s right. If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black.

The same man who said, “There’s nothing special about being American – none of you can define for me what an American is.” The same man who said, “America was an idea,” but that “we’ve never lived up to it …”

This is the same man leading a White House rooted in lies and deceit, from bribery and corruption to censorship and spying, from the abandonment of laws and order at our southern border to jurisdictions where crimes aren’t even prosecuted, where there are two tiers of justice and political persecution of your enemies. He wants you to now believe he loves this country?

He wants you to believe that there is equal application of the laws by his Justice Department? That he has not been lying to the American people for decades, especially on the day of his inauguration when he said, “My whole soul is in uniting this country”?

America is more divided than ever before, and Biden’s tweet is intended to cast all conservatives as not being patriotic. But a recent Gallup Poll says it’s liberal Democrats, like Biden, who are not patriotic. Only 29 percent (less than 1 out of 3) of liberals say they are “extremely proud” to be American. At the same time, it’s almost 2 out of 3 Republicans that say they are “extremely proud” to be American.

Of course, it’s a pretty low bar for Biden to be patriotic. Biden calls paying higher taxes a patriotic act, so what do we expect from him? Remember when Michelle Obama stirred controversy in 2008 when she said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” when talking about her husband’s growing campaign to be president? (Talk about loving your country only when it’s convenient, right?)

Well, let’s set the record straight. The dictionary defines patriotism this way: love for or devotion to one’s country.

Some may ask, “Devoted to what?” Well, America was founded upon the idea that “all men are created equal.” As patriotic Americans, we are devoted to this idea, regardless of where we were born, which political party controls the White House or Congress, and which laws are signed into law or vetoed. And even despite the injustices of the past.

So when Biden said, “There’s nothing special about being American,” he was wrong. We were the first country established – not by ethnicity or conquest – but by this philosophy that “all men are created equal.” Unfortunately, too many younger Americans simply don’t know what America is or what she represents. And it shows.

Perhaps that is because American history is no longer required in many high schools throughout the country. Large numbers of Americans graduate without even the most basic sense of what it means to be an American. Is it any wonder that more and more young Americans don’t feel a sense of pride in our country?

But that’s not the worst of it. The absence of American history in our schools is bad enough, but when schools teach that America is an imperialist, corporate-driven oppressor – well, that’s a different story altogether.

Remember this about patriotism, whether you are winning or not: Our soldiers and sailors don’t take an oath to a person. They don’t swear allegiance to a political party or individual state. They promise to risk their lives to protect a document, a contract, and, again, that idea that “all men are created equal.”

And if we want our next generation of Americans to do the same and love this country as much as we do, we need to teach our children early where we’ve been so they’ll understand better where we can go.

President Biden, despite what you believe, there is something special about being American – even when the pot calls the kettle black.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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