Perspectives

The BOB Blog’s NEW WORD OF THE DAY:  PATRICITE

By Bob Daniels

PATRICITE: Hypocritical Fake Patriot Who Doesn’t Actually Like Democracy When Democracy is the Wrong Flavor and Who Willingly Subverts Democracy to Get His/Her Own Way

Recently, a cousin posted something on Facebook I disagreed with concerning the NFL players who take a knee in protest of police brutality and similar issues. Her posting was clearly on the side of those who believe a (peaceful) protest during the national anthem . . . also known as an expression of our 1st Amendment rights . . . was somehow disrespectful of our veterans. I’m still trying to figure out how taking a knee is disrespectful of veterans when not a single NFL player ever protested even one veteran.

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I’m an ex-fighter pilot in the USAF which means I’m qualified to call myself a veteran. I was also a linguist at the National Security Agency during my 4 years as an enlisted troop while I put myself through college which means I’m a double veteran . . . right? I’ve also spent most of my adult life working on military-related jobs. So I think I might notice when somebody disrespects my many years of service. So do I feel even a whiff of disrespect from NFL players who take a knee in protest of police brutality?

Hell, no.

Apparently, however, it’s a thing.

Whoops. Just remembered. This is another of THE DONALD’s acts of dumbassery.

Like that other great patriot, Rush Limbaugh, THE DONALD never spent a day in the military . . . or in the Peace Corps . . . . . . or even church for that matter. (Christian my butt.) But according to him, he is a great patriot and great Christian and knows exactly how everyone should feel about NFL players taking knees and made sure to let the NFL owners know that there might actually be consequences for supporting these ungrateful (mostly black) protesters (on TWITTER, of course, to ensure his many followers would learn what a great patriot THE DONALD is).

And if you didn’t know, our beloved president could indeed cost NFL owners tens . . . if not hundreds . . . of millions of dollars the way the financial world of professional sports in America are structured, especially with regard to various tax breaks NFL owners benefit from. Like many issues far right politicians support, this knee-protest thing costs absolutely nothing for a politician to support and is a good way to get the votes of certain target groups.

Idiot liberals? They stupidly talk about implementing things like Medicare-For-All and Free-College-For-All and similar socialist things knowing it will cost billions and billions and billions . . . but still can’t help themselves. Verbally assaulting knee-taking NFL players or supporting the 2nd Amendment? Doesn’t cost a thing . . . directly. Hey! Supporting the 2nd Amendment might even result in large donations from the NRA that’ll help get a politician elected.

On my cousin’s side, I am sure she believes she is somehow defending her brothers and step-son and father and uncles and cousins (like me) who have represented the Army and Marines and Navy and the Air Force. Like most American families, our family has pulled our weight for generations when it comes to serving in the military. But like many people, I think she took it personally when I disagreed (on Her FaceBook page) with those who think those NFL players who take a knee are undemocratic and especially disrespectful of the military. I . . . as I am wont to do here . . . expressed my belief that the right to peacefully protest is much more important to maintaining democracy than showing false respect to symbols like the flag and national anthem. And the fact that an NFL player might peacefully protest during the playing of the national anthem is about as patriotic as it gets in my opinion. What is democracy if not expressing our hard-earned right to protest?

Anywho . . .

Next thing you know, my cousin disappears from my FaceBook friends list and I can’t access her FaceBook page. Huh. That’s okay, I guess. No big deal. We were never hang-out cousins in the first place because of our age difference. But it was still a bit of a surprise.

What’s the significance of this story? My cousin represents the mildest flavor of a ‘patricite’, a new word I just made up combining ‘patriot’ with ‘hypocrite’. Fortunately, she’s a really good person, taking really good care of her family as a wife, a daughter, a sister, and mother. She’s also a good neighbor, pays her fair share of taxes, and worked for decades to save for retirement so she won’t be a burden on anyone in her old age. And she’s never been convicted of a serious crime (or even accused). She’s even kind to animals and old people. To me, silly little acts like hers are merely annoyances and . . . dare I say . . . even mildly entertaining.

However, comma . . .

We have a serious problem in our country in which a significant minority of Americans pretend to be patriotic but actually dislike democracy when democracy disagrees with them (i.e. when the other party or candidate wins an election and does things counter to what the patricite wants or doesn’t want). Extreme examples of this behavior are gerrymandering and the manipulation of voting rights, the institutional spreading of lies (e.g. Fox News), and the collective behavior of the current president. Many people . . . also called ‘politicians’ . . . know exactly what they are doing and behave this way for selfish reasons. Most people who behave this way are simply delusional and refuse to accept that their side can be wrong about anything and often think they are morally superior and are justified in these behaviors as methods of fighting ‘evil’.

When patricites find themselves in the minority after the majority disagree with their political opinions, they often make a conscious effort to NOT respect the will of the majority (i.e. they purposely undermine whatever the opposing side does and refuse to accept the consequences even though the other side has the right to act in accordance with the law, that right earned by their side winning an election).

A recent perfect example was when the Republican Congressional leadership refused to complete the process required by the Constitution when President Obama submitted his nominee for the Supreme Court after a seat came open. They simply ignored his nomination and waited many, many months for a Republican president to take over. That was, perhaps, the most undemocratic, childish thing Congress did in the last two decades. The president’s Constitutional duty was to nominate a candidate when a Supreme Court seat came open. And our Congress’ Constitutional duty was to execute the proscribed process by which the candidate would be vetted followed by an up or done vote by our elected officials as to whether he/she was fit for the position.

Apparently, votes of the people who voted for Obama no longer counted and the Republican leadership simply chose to NOT follow the Constitution. How UNDEMOCRATIC was that?! This, my friends, is the behavior of PATRICITES. It’s the behavior of those who don’t actually like democracy. It’s the behavior of those who do all they can to keep people from voting who might vote different from them.

A recent article in this online magazine tried to convince its readers that at the core of the liberal movement is that rotten philosophy of Marxism. That assertion is a reflection of the right wing tactic of calling the other side names. Not as much recently, but for a couple of decades, calling somebody a liberal in public was like telling everyone they had cooties or an STD. “Ewww . . . he’s a liberal.”

After being elected to Congress in Georgia in 1978, Newt Gingrich’s primary target became what he called, ‘the liberal welfare state’. He called the Democratic leadership ‘destructive’ and ‘thugs’, dubbed his opponents’ positions radical and said some Democrats were willing to kill jobs to help win an election. The Republican party put out a training memo video in 1990 that taught Republican candidates how to speak like Newt . . . Newtspeak. Many credit Gingrich . . . or blame him . . . for transforming American politics with inflaming rhetoric designed to get people to vote with their emotions instead of their intellect. “The things that came out of Gingrich’s mouth . . . we had never heard that before from either side,” said Steve Anthony, a Georgia State University lecturer who once headed the state Democratic Party. “Gingrich went so far over the top that the shock factor rendered the opposition frozen for a few years.”

The reality . . . at least about the Democratic party and the foundation of their beliefs . . . is that it’s like what the humorist Will Rogers said many decades ago:

“I am not a member of any organized political party . . . I’m a Democrat.”

Trust me, as a hard core liberal I can affirm that there is no highly intellectualized theory like Marxism that serves as the foundation of liberalism in general, or even a little. (And because I have a B.A. in Government & Politics, I actually know what Marxism is so am qualified to make the previous statement.) The author of the aforementioned article, by ‘doing a Newt’ and throwing the stink bomb of Marxism at Democrats and liberals in general, is basically using the classic name-calling tactic of associating your opponent with something nasty as a way of avoiding honest debates about real issues. Most people don’t even know what Marxism actually is except that it served as a Bible of sorts for the original Russian communists.

In the history of the world, Russia and China are the big examples of what a failed philosophy communism (with Marxism at its root) is. It might be interesting to see what might have happened if the Russians and Chinese had actually implemented real communism because the world has never seen real communism, just something that was called ‘communism’ that was riddled with corruption from the very beginning and with a leadership who were nothing short of first rate criminals in how they behaved. In both countries, both ‘communist’ governments were so thoroughly corrupt at the beginning of communism and throughout its history that communism never had a chance of actually working.

Even now, China still calls itself communist which is just stupid given all the billionaires they have and given its dishonest, corrupt leadership. What the eff, over! The central premise of Communism was supposed to be: “From each according to their abilities. To each according to their needs.” Yeah . . . . . . right. Regardless, the only underlying philosophy that I’ve seen that is common among liberals is the desire to make things more fair for everybody which necessarily includes things like universal health care and guaranteed retirement accounts and free public education and fairer wages and protection from those who would unfairly take advantage of those with less by exploiting extreme wealth or intelligence or some other kind of advantage.

Like most liberals, I was pretty much born a liberal because of three things. I was born with a great deal of empathy for others and was raised in a family where my natural empathy wasn’t beaten out of me. Second, I can’t stand a bully or a hypocrite. Nobody gets bullied in my presence and hypocrites don’t get a free pass. As a fighter pilot, I am a warrior by profession. But even as a little squirt I occasionally got beat up because I couldn’t keep myself from saying something to bullies as they were bullying somebody in my presence. Third, I believe that all people who make a fair effort to take care of themselves and their families should get a fair shake when it comes to basic physical sustenance and security, especially when rich people can still be rich while society provides better care of the poor and makes sure the middle class gets their hard-earned due.

The idea that a 7/11 clerk . . . most of whom work quite hard in an thankless, low-paying, unsatisfying job in my opinion . . . doesn’t deserve some kind of retirement and medical care because she didn’t go to college or trade school (probably because she grew up poor or lower middle class to begin with) and because she didn’t invest in her retirement (even though she barely had the money to do more than pay the rent or put food on the table or keep an old car running) is just evil in my mind, unadulterated evil driven by base selfishness. That’s especially true when you consider we have so many billionaires who could fund those well-deserved retirements and still remain billionaires. The only true difference between somebody who has $5 or $10 billion dollars is ego. That extra $5 billion does NOTHING to improve the life of a billionaire.

The worst thing about many patricides is that they actively work to undermine democracy. Imagine a state with 10 million people. Just for simplicity’s sake, let’s say that 1 million people grants a state 1 representative in Congress. Let’s say that 5,500,000 people in a mythical state are PURPLE party voters and 4,500,000 people are ORANGE party voters.

With gerrymandering, if one party has control of the process by which congressional voting districts are determined, they can manipulate the process so that their party has an unfair influence on the outcome of elections for congressional representatives. They do it by drawing lines for voting districts that maximize their numbers, like this case where they already have a majority. (The numbers are simplified, obviously.)

District 1 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 2 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 3 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 4 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 5 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 6 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 7 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 8 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 9 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

District 10 450,000 ORANGE Voters 550,000 PURPLE Voters

10 Districts 4,500,000 ORANGE Voters 5,500,000 PURPLE Voters

In this case, the majority party will get all 10 seats while the minority party will get none even though they are 45% of the population. Obviously, this is a best case scenario for the PURPLE party but represents what is possible. Now let’s flip it so the PURPLE party is in the minority:

District 1 500,000 ORANGE Voters 510,000 PURPLE Voters

District 2 500,000 ORANGE Voters 510,000 PURPLE Voters

District 3 500,000 ORANGE Voters 510,000 PURPLE Voters

District 4 500,000 ORANGE Voters 510,000 PURPLE Voters

District 5 500,000 ORANGE Voters 510,000 PURPLE Voters

District 6 500,000 ORANGE Voters 510,000 PURPLE Voters

District 7 500,000 ORANGE Voters 510,000 PURPLE Voters

District 8 520,000 ORANGE Voters 310,000 PURPLE Voters

District 9 515,000 ORANGE Voters 310,000 PURPLE Voters

District 10 515,000 ORANGE Voters 310,000 PURPLE Voters

10 Districts 5,500,000 ORANGE Voters 4,500,000 PURPLE Voters

Once again, this is an extreme case where everything is optimized for the minority PURPLE party. But it demonstrates how manipulating the voting districts gains the minority party 7 seats when they should probably earn 4 seats based on actual population with a maximum reasonable fluctuation of + 1 seat.

In addition to gerrymandering, patricites do all they can to keep people who are likely to support the other party from actually voting. One simple way to do that for Republican lawmakers in many states is to require a state or federal ID to vote. While I personally don’t have a big problem with this if done correctly, I do have a problem with the barriers patricites put in the way of actually getting that ID in the same way I have a problem with states that fail to automatically register people to vote when they get their state drivers license or ID card . . . which is usually the case in states that mandate ID’s for voting. They neither permit automatic voter registration nor make it reasonably easy to get those state ID’s for people who are poor or have few good transportation options or find it difficult to get off work to get that ID either because their (much wealthier) bosses won’t let them off or because they can’t afford the loss of income.

Also, the level of proof required in some states to get a state-sanctioned ID is often much more difficult for poor people who may not have the extra funds required to get new birth certificates or who don’t have utility bills in their name at their current address or who simply don’t possess some of the other paperwork almost all rich and upper middle class people have locked in their safes.

Another way Republican patricites keep people they don’t like from voting is by automatically dis-enrolling voters when they haven’t voted in a while. (Yes, there are Democrat patricites as well but are generally many fewer and less extreme in their expression.) Because poor people find it much more difficult to get off work to vote, and find it harder to find somebody to watch the kids while they vote, or find it more difficult to get transportation to the polls, they are also less likely to vote on a regular basis so are more likely to be involuntarily dis-enrolled from the voting rolls. (Which racial groups tend to be poor compared to white groups? Uh-huh.)

And why don’t most states allow voting on the weekends to make it easier for poor and working people to vote? Perhaps because right wing patricites do all they can to prevent it because they believe it will hurt their party in the final outcomes of elections?

A third way patricites try to keep some voters off the roles is to deny people the right to vote who were busted for something like marijuana or other non-violent offenses . . . forever. That criminal record is more likely to be earned by someone of color or who is poor because white middle class or wealthy people are less likely to be caught for similar offenses in the first place (even though they may be smoking just as much Mary Jane as poor and/or black people) and are better able to beat the rap when they are caught because of access to money and competent lawyers.

The bottom line . . . fighter pilots always have a bottom line . . . is that ever since slaves were freed, some white people have actively invented ways of keeping black people from voting, especially in the former slave states but in the North and West as well. And throughout history, rich people (as a group) have leveraged their wealth and influence to manipulate the political system in general and voting systems in particular in a way that favors them to the great disadvantage of the much poorer masses.

The interesting thing in the United States is that some of the people who are the most adversely affected by the results of these unpatriotic actions are those who are most likely to support it . . . poor and lower middle class white people in the deep south. That’s kinda funny because when slavery existed, it also resulted in the large majority of whites in slave states being much poorer than they would have been without the institution of slavery. If you were white and didn’t own slaves in the South, you were much more likely to be poor compared to peers in the north. And because education was so lacking for Southern whites who did not own slaves, they were too ignorant to perceive how badly slavery actually hurt their personal economic situations.

Real patriots are often the first to step up when another person finds him/herself in the position of needing help. The same quality that drives patriots to be patriots in the first place is the empathy that makes them want the rules and institutions of their nation to be fair. We Americans, I believe, are more likely to step up to the plate and do our part then almost anybody else on earth . . . especially in an emergency or dangerous situation. I also believe we possess more courage as a people than most peoples in most nations with courage being the final quality necessary to do the right thing.

Other than Tibetan Buddhists, we also possess more empathy as a group than most other groups of people on the planet IMHO (in my honest opinion). That means we generally possess more empathy for people who aren’t just like us . . . which makes sense. What’s the difference between us and the Tibetans? They have the Dalai Lama as a leader while we have THE DONALD. Empathy is a part of the core nature of the Dalai Dude. THE DONALD? I laugh in your general direction.

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Bob Daniels is an instructor pilot working overseas teaching new military pilots how to fly the F-15C in the Boeing linked visual simulator system. He hopes to retire to Port Huron by the end of 2020 having grown up in Port Huron where he was lead trumpet for the Big Red Marching Machine during their trip to the Munich Olympics in 1972. Bob graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Government & Politics while he was working at the National Security Agency as a Czech linguist for the U.S. Air Force before he was selected for pilot training. He’s traveled to 25 countries and 5 continents and flown over much of the U.S. having lived and flown in Alaska for 6 years. During that time, he’s interacted with countless foreigners and experienced a variety of social extremes, from Denmark to Saudi Arabia. Bob’s greatest writing interests are those subjects which everyone says you shouldn’t talk about in polite society . . . religion (spirituality) and politics (government). As a USAF fighter pilot, Bob’s greatest asset was thinking outside the box. As a writer, Bob lives OUTSIDE that same box.

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