MyTown of Flemington has the best of traditional Memorial Day parades, filled with boy scout troops, the Hunterdon Central Marching Band --- and veterans, old and young.
One of the heads of the local veterans groups is a 60ish Viet Nam vet, who speaks each year at the various services, and is passionate about America.
After the very moving event, we had a chance to chat about ‘patriotism’ and ‘Americanism’ away from the crowds.
“I am always for America”, he says, “No matter what happens. And I have a solution to this whole immigration problem. When the first spic guy comes across the border, I’d shoot him. Then, when the next guy comes across, I shoot him, too. By that time, I figure the third guy will think twice, and go back and tell the other Mexicans to stay home.”
“I teach in a Catholic school. I would get fired from public school. After 9/11, I tell my kids that the rag-heads and the dot-heads just have to go. America should be for Americans.”
Are these the values you want to teach to your kids I inquire. He says again that America "should be for Americans". Just a few generations ago, they were the saying the same the same thing about my people [Jews] and his people [Italians], I say. "It should still be America for Americans" he insists. I end my efforts, and wish him a good holiday for himself and his family.
Maybe someone should educate him: Tell him that Hindus are not our enemy [think that is who he means by ‘dot-heads’.] And that many of those who he is spouting this racism against are actually in the military themselves---fighting in the very same American army today he served in 30 plus years ago.
Unfortunately, this is what sometimes passes for ‘patriotism’ sometimes these days.