Veteran dismayed after witnessing the ‘pageantry patriotism’ of Trump supporters firsthand
Trump supporters (Shutterstock)

In an article first published at TomDispatch.com, US Army strategist and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Danny Sjursen, wrote about President Trump's recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- a rally he attended along with a contingent of anti-Trump veterans.


Among his observations at the rally was its version of patriotism.

"I’ve never seen so many representations of the Stars and Stripes in my life, classic flags everywhere and flag designs plastered on all manner of attire," he writes. "Remember, I went to West Point. No one showed the slightest concern that many of the red-white-and-blue adaptations worn or waved strictly violated the statutes colloquially known as the US Flag Code."

Sjursen writes that the banners on display were more concerning than the faux patriotism, an example being one that contained an image of Trump's face onto Sylvester Stallone’s muscle-bound physique while carrying a machine gun.

"For our small group of multi-war/multi-tour combat veterans, it was hard not to wonder whether many of these flag-and-weaponry enthusiasts had ever seen a shot fired in anger or sported Old Glory on a right-shoulder uniform sleeve," he writes.

"Nothing better exemplified the contrast between what I’ve come to think of as the 'pageantry patriotism' of the crowd and the more complex 'participatory patriotism' of the dissenting vets than that moment," he continues. "At its first notes—we were still waiting in the arena’s encircling lobby—our whole team reflexively stood at attention, removed our hats, faced the nearest draped flags, and placed our hands upon our hearts. We were the only ones who did so—until, at mid-anthem, a few embarrassed passersby followed our example. Most of the folks, however, just continued to scamper along, often chomping on soft pretzels, and sometimes casting quizzical glances at us. Trumpian patriotism only goes so far."

Read the full article over at TomDispatch.com.