Biff America: Patriotism and a pile of flesh
The July Fourth weekend around the county was as quiet as Steven Miller at a mariachi concert. There were no events to speak of — no parades, no fireworks — and the shrieks from a drunk, naked Twister party at a VRBO next door were muffled by masks.
This pandemic has taken a toll on our local economy, and for that I am saddened. But as one who feels our community is often events heavy, it was an interesting reset. I certainly hope for a resolution of the health crisis and a return of our visitors, but in the meantime, perhaps we can enjoy quiet patriotism.
Patriotism is defined as “devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.”
There have been recent polls suggesting patriotism in America is on the wane. My first inclination is that nationalism isn’t waning but there are stronger opinions of what America should be. These passionate opinions can actually promote both patriotism and bad behavior, the latter of which bums me out.
The internet and news is filled with examples of so-called Karens.
Karen is not her real name. Karen is just the name that the web has dubbed women being jerks. There’s the Karen who called the cops and falsely claimed that a black birdwatcher in Central Park was threatening her simply because he asked her to put her dog on a leash. There was the Karen ratting out a little kid’s lemonade stand for not having a business license. There’s the Karen who hurled racial epithets at Costco for being asked to wear a face covering, and the Karen who spit on produce at the grocery store for the same reason.
Worse than the Karens are the Richards. I’m talking about the Dicks who riot, loot and burn stores. I applaud the protesters who march peacefully to give attention to the nation’s injustices. But I condemn the folks who infiltrate those groups to steal and destroy.
Same thing could be said for all the Richards in various neo-Nazi white supremacist groups. By the looks of some of them, they would be well-served for a little variety in their gene pool.
And the icing on the cake is some elected officials and staff, who I often want to smack (figuratively). There was one who said, in terms of the pandemic response, we need to stop listening to doctors and pay attention to goofballs like them.
I will admit that, like a train wreck, I can’t look away from the stories and videos of the Karens, Richards and goofballs. All that can cause me to think, “America, what the heck happened?”
On our nation’s birthday, I was plagued by such thoughts. Though appreciative of the gift of being American, it seemed that this is a different nation than the one where I was born.
But is that really the case?
True, on any stroll through the internet you can see many Karens, Dicks and goofballs, but honestly I have encountered very few in my real life.
I know lots of folks who don’t like covering their faces but none who freak out and insult the front-line worker whose job it is to ask them to do so. (I know it has happened locally but not in my presence.) I know many who marched to protest the systemic racial injustices but not one who destroyed property or was violent. I also know a fair amount of politicians and staff —local, regional, national — and though I don’t always agree with them, I believe them well-intentioned.
Truth is there aren’t more Karens, Dicks and goofballs now; they just get all the attention. With the 24-hour news cycle and the fact that every frog and their dog carries a cellphone camera, bad behavior is more visible. Sensationalism sells, so the various outlets feature those lunkheads. In real life, for every Karen, Richard and goofball, there are thousands of like-minded Americans living, loving and giving back. Let’s give attention to them. Let’s seek out our commonalities. Let us unite in the love of life, nation, family — and the occasional game of drunk, naked Twister.
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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