My wife and I recently were the victims of what could be called a form of profiling.
The brief tale I’m about to tell is true and it provides an example of the deep divisions within our country.
We recently welcomed a relatively new friend into our home. She was visiting Amarillo from the Permian Basin, where she lives with her husband. She came here for a quick overnight stay before returning home.
Our friend, who we haven’t known all that long, entered our home and noticed the stars-and-stripes banner in the front window, the flag hanging on a back window and a small banner hanging next to the front porch. She took note of the displays. “Oh yes, we’re flag-wavers around here,” I said. “That’s a good thing. I’m glad to know that,” she answered before telling us how concerned she is that the president of the United States “doesn’t have a heart for this country.”
“Oh really?” I asked. Our friend wondered about my response and began immediately to sense she might have stepped into some tricky territory. “Are you Obama supporters?” she asked. We said yes.
We engaged in a brief political joust over whether the president really loves America. I noted that he has proclaimed his love of country repeatedly during his time in office. Our friend, a lifelong Republican active in party politics in her hometown, harbors some doubt about his sincerity.
We moved on quickly to other topics, all of us sensing that we didn’t want this discussion to get out of hand.
My point? The divisions that exist in this country have succeeded in labeling people on the other side incorrectly far too many times. Our friend seemed to assume that because we are admitted flag-wavers that we necessarily oppose the re-election of President Obama. That, of course, is a dangerous assumption to make. It reminds me a bit of another friend, a true-blue Democrat, who once chided me for wearing a flag pin in the lapel of my jacket. He seemed to suggest that only Republicans wear those cheesy lapel pins. I reminded him that wearing the flag pin has no bearing on my own political proclivity.
We take a back seat to no one in expressing our love of country. We fly our flag proudly. My eyes still well up at the sound of patriotic music. I love military parades.
Outward expressions of patriotism aren’t the exclusive domain of any single political party. It would do us good to appreciate that patriots come in all forms and political persuasions.
And have no concern about our relationship with our friend. We remain very fond of her.