Tag Archives: patriots

They aren’t ‘patriots’

Long ago, I grew weary of the right-wing fanatics, white supremacists, MAGA adherents and others of their ilk declaring themselves to be “patriots.”

They are nothing of the sort.

A patriot would understand that this nation came into being as a result of those seeking to build a nation on the basis of civil liberties. That the United States would comprise individuals of varied backgrounds, orientations, races, ethnicities and that everyone is entitled the same liberties.

Now, it is understood that the founders’ work needed some improvements along the way. They allowed slavery to stand; they didn’t grant Black Americans the same civil liberties as the rest of the country; women had to wait until the 1920s to get the right to vote.

But the Constitution was amended to fix those — and other — shortcomings.

Here we are, well into the 21st century, and we are being treated daily to news reports of white supremacists proclaiming themselves to be patriots.

They sicken me.


Right wingers pervert all they touch

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This is far from a recent revelation, but I just want get it off my chest and express it with crystal clarity.

It is that the right wing of the political spectrum has become a den of perversion of all principles they claim to adore and honor.

They have perverted the term “patriot” by insisting on The Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from the 45th POTUS and handed to President Biden. The Pervert in Chief, of course, is the 45th POTUS his own self. He has developed a cult following that is unmatched in U.S. political history … and that goes back a spell.

The righties have perverted Christian beliefs, suggesting that Jesus Christ himself would endorse the notion of separating children from their parents. They ignore practically every New Testament tenet I can think of that condemns such harsh treatment of human beings.

They have perverted, for crying out loud, the very concept of Republicanism and the party that formed around it. The GOP came to be after the Civil War. It was the party of inclusion, of equality, of freedom and liberty for all Americans. It fought to enfranchise African-Americans who before the Civil War were deemed as three-fifths human.

The right wing has perverted the notion that bipartisanship stops at the water’s edge. It was the great GOP Sen. Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan who coined the truism. Now it’s OK to blast a president of the opposing party even while he travels abroad.

Patriots do not seek to overturn free and fair elections. They do not storm the Capitol Building, bust through windows, defecate on the floor of the legislative branch of government, threaten to hang the vice president of the United States. Patriots believe in elections. They accept the results even if they disagree with certain outcomes.

The nation’s right wing is running amok with perverts who claim to love the country. They in fact hate our great nation and I in fact hate the principles for which they stand.

This humble immigrant became a great American


Take a look at this gentleman.

He was an immigrant to the United States of America. He grew up in southern Greece. He found his way to Pittsburgh, Pa. He got married and started family.

He worked hard. He played by the rules. He was a simple man. He had little formal education. He wasn’t destined to achieve financial wealth or become famous the way we understand the meaning of the term “famous.”

His name was Ioannis Panayotis Kanellopoulos. He shortened his last name to Kanelis; his first and middle names, translated to English, were John Peter.

He was my grandfather.

As I heard Donald J. Trump’s screed last night about immigration, one passage jumped out at me, grabbed me by the throat and damn near throttled me as I heard it.

Trump laid down some markers that legal immigrants needed to meet before they would be “selected” for entry into the United States of America.

My grandfather wouldn’t have met the standard set.

My Papou wouldn’t be welcome in a country where Donald J. Trump would serve as president.

He toiled in a steel mill in Pittsburgh. He lost his job when the Great Depression decimated the Rust Belt in the early 1930s. He and my grandmother and five of their children gravitated to Vermont, where they ran a hotel; that venture failed, too.

Papou and his family — which grew to seven children in Vermont — then moved west, to Portland, Ore.

My grandfather then shined shoes in the basement of a high-end downtown Portland department store for the rest of his working life.

Would he have been “selected”? It appeared to me, based on what I heard Trump say, he very well would have been turned away.

I wrote about it yesterday in the blog post attached below.

‘Select immigrants based on skill … ‘

Were that to happen, the United States of America would have lost a great patriot.

Donald Trump’s arrogance as it related to immigrants — illegal and legal — has disgraced the American political process.

Who are the true-blue patriots?


Have you ever pondered whether the most patriotic Americans are those who are born here or those who chose to live here?

I have wondered it on occasion. I’m doing so right here and now.

You must understand where I’m coming from.

I am the grandson of immigrants. All four of my grandparents chose to move right after the turn of the 20th century from southeastern Europe to the United States of America to search for a better life.

All of them found that better life.

My dad’s parents were John and Katina Kanelis. My mom’s parents were George and Diamandoula Filipu. You know about my Yiayia and my Papou John. I’ve written about them both.

Indeed, my Yiayia was among the greatest Americans I’ve ever encountered. She died 38 years ago on the Fourth of July, 1978. Given her unabashed love for the United States of America, it seemed only fitting that she would depart this world on our nation’s birthday.

Remembering a great American

I remember all of them during this Independence Day weekend mostly because of who they were and the families they brought into this world. I also remember them because of the current political climate in the United States, which to my mind and heart has turned toxic as it relates to immigrants.

I know what you’re thinking: Hey, man, we’re talking about illegal immigrants, the folks who break U.S. law by coming here without the proper paperwork. And we’re talking about the scoundrels who come here to commit crimes.

True enough. This debate, though, usually has this curious way of morphing into a broader area to include all immigrants. There are those who call themselves “American patriots” who keep insisting that we’ve got enough immigrants in this country. They bristle at the idea that “foreigners” are pouring into the country and are upsetting what they believe is the “unique American culture.”

Actually, what historically has made our culture unique has been our open door. It’s been the principle of welcoming others to our shores.

These days we hear talk about building walls along our southern border. Or about banning people from overseas simply because they worship a certain faith.

What would my grandparents think about that? They would be appalled.

My memories of most of my grandparents are quite vivid; my maternal grandfather died when I was about a month old. All of them became great Americans. They loved their country with as much zeal and passion as anyone who ever was born here … of that I am quite certain.

I know my story isn’t unique. Other immigrants have come here to make their dreams come true. Their descendants are as proud of them as I am of my immigrant grandparents.

He was a great man

My grandparents didn’t achieve greatness in the way we too often measure it. They came here and followed the rules and the laws of their adopted home country.

They were true-blue American patriots.

I will honor them this weekend — and always.