Because I’m actually patriotic.

Like, in a real way.

Unlike fake “patriots,” I don’t pretend America is perfect and that one should never be allowed to criticize it. I understand that there is a dark side to American history. But I love and appreciate all that is most exciting and creative and dynamic about America–the diversity of cultures and religious traditions and political ideas and cuisines which make their home here. I love jazz and hip-hop and salsa, and how those sounds weave their way in and out of the fabric of the nation. Pizza, burritos, falafels, pierogi–yes, please! I’m a big fan of our new Vice-President, the child of Jamaican and South Asian immigrants–and a big fan of my new Muslim county commissioner, Nafisa Fai, who’s got Somali refugee roots. Pre-pandemic, one of my favorite things in the world was a noisy Portland street full of guitar-playing buskers, anarchist protesters and crazy end-times cult members trying to convert me. America wouldn’t be America without them.

But the people who call themselves “patriots”–people like Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity–truth is, they don’t really like America. Not most of it, anyway. They hate cities. They don’t like immigrants, with a few (white-skinned) exceptions. They disdain large parts of American culture–all the music and movies and TV shows created by those coastal “libtards.” Lately, even sports has been in their crosshairs, seeing as so much of it is played by African-American athletes who will not remain conveniently silent about the racism they experience on a regular basis.

They love America only in the most narrow and most unimaginative way–as defined by one race, one religion, one culture, and controlled by one gender. And this from the people who love to talk about freedom….

The white man who drives a big truck, goes to church and listens to country is part of America, too. But the “patriot” movement wants him to become the definition of America. One shade of color instead of the entire rainbow.

But here is the true punchline of this joke…

The wealthy who lead and inspire this movement don’t even respect this middle American white male they mythologize. As far as they are concerned, he can remain poor, employed for a low wage, unable to obtain health care or a secure retirement. They don’t care if he’s able to keep the heat on when extreme weather comes through. They only care about him as long as he can be manipulated into voting for laws that allow them to retain as much of their wealth as possible.

So are they really patriotic? Do they like their fellow Americans?

I’ve got my doubts. And I will not be joining the Patriot Party anytime soon.

I’m beginning to think that Tucker Carlson’s main function in the world has become to tell white conservatives scary bedtime stories about black and brown people.

His storytelling first got my attention a couple years ago, when he was railing about immigration and demographic shifts in America, claiming this was “more change than human beings are designed to digest.”

More recently, this is the guy who envisioned a frightening dystopia ruled by BLM mobs:

Imagine if the Diversity Inclusion Department at Brown University had the power to arrest you. Imagine if the Black Lives Matter rioters had weapons and immunity from prosecution. That’s what they’re talking about. Partisan law enforcement and partisan law enforcement, incidentally, is hardly without precedent. In fact, it’s the rule in the third world. This is an attempt to bring it here.

…This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you. And at this rate, they will. Anyone who has ever been subjected to the rage of the mob knows the feeling.

I have to admit, I’m really not that scared of the Diversity Inclusion Department at Brown University.  But if you don’t buy that threat, how about those “violent young men”?

Well, violent young men with guns will be in charge. They will make the rules, including the rules in your neighborhood. They will do what they want. You will do what they say. No one will stop them. You will not want to live here when that happens.

Tucker doesn’t specify what color these young men are, but he doesn’t have to.  If these were young white men with guns, Fox News would be calling them “patriots.”

Tucker got into some massive trouble, and lost some sponsors, over those comments.  But you’ve got to give it to him, he knows what his schtick is and what his audience expects from him, and he’s not giving that up.

So here is his latest, now about Joe Biden’s VP pick, Kamala Harris:

Consider this tape in which she explains how the federal government should respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Again, whatever you think of Affirmative Action, it’s likely you never imagined Affirmative Action would be applied to life-saving medical treatment. But Kamala Harris thinks it should be.

So we make decisions about where the resources should go to keep people from dying on the basis of skin color. So only people of a certain color get the vaccine, for example. That’s what she’s arguing. Now, this is a lot of things. It’s immoral. It’s unconstitutional, obviously. But above all it is definitely not moderate.

Now, mind you, in the interview Tucker mentions, Kamala was talking about the fact that communities of color were disproportionately affected by COVID, and that some of our resources should focus on helping those communities. She did not suggest that only people of color should get the COVID vaccine.  Well…of course she didn’t, because that would be insane and not something a serious person says.

But it is Tucker Carlson’s job to sell his Fox audience scary stories about what will happen when that brown-skinned woman with the weird name gets to be the Vice President…so that’s what he does.  Expect to see a lot more of this as we get closer to November, unfortunately.

Coincidentally, one of my neighbors has a dog named Tucker.  He is a round-bellied little creature which yips pointlessly all day at cats and squirrels and other animals that are not afraid of him and completely ignore him.

I would like to think the other Tucker has just about as much effect and influence.