Floyd County Supervisor Fred Gerald, who represents the Indian Valley District, took WSLS Channel 10 news to task recently because its news anchors aren’t wearing flag lapel pins.

In a note to WSLS, Gerald wrote:

Why do your news people no longer wear the American flag on their lapel? I think it is very unpatriotic! It is a disgrace that they can’t wear the flag on their lapel to show their support for our troops fighting and dying under that flag in Iran and Afghanistan. Is it the policy of WSLS to ban the wearing of the American flag? If so shame on WSLS!

Channel 10 News Anchor Jay Warren responded:

There is no WSLS policy on flag lapel pins. Certainly, if someone wanted to wear one they could and some have in the past. I personally don’t think wearing a pin makes someone patriotic or not. Patriotism shows itself in many different forms from serving in the military to voting to saying the Pledge of Allegiance to yes wearing a flag lapel pin. I would argue that by doing my job as a journalist, the only profession protected in the Constitution, I’m being patriotic.

Amen Jay and shame on you Fred for trivializing patriotism by equating it with a flag lapel pin that was probably made in China.

Sticking a lapel pin in a jacket or slapping a flag decal on the rear window of a pickup truck does not make one a patriot. Neither does blindly following our leaders when they take this nation down a dangerous path, as a vast majority of Americans believe the just-departed Presidential administration did in Iraq.

Patriotism is supporting our nation when it is right and questioning it when it is wrong. As Americans we should, and must, support our troops who are too often placed in harm’s way by agendas that place politics above what’s best for our nation.  But we should also support our troops by electing leaders who will get them out of harm’s way as quickly as possible when we learn they may be fighting a battle based on lies and manufactured justifications.

Politicians have, for too long,used patriotism as a tool of divisiveness, not unity. They question the patriotism of those who disagree with their narrow views of the world and use the word "unpatriotic" as intimidation against opponents, conveniently forgetting that this country was founded by patriots who stood up against the tyranny of an oppressive government.

The 4,000 plus American men and women who have died so far in Iraq and Afghanistan gave their lives as patriots serving their county. So did the 58,000 plus who died in Vietnam. And so did the four students who died protesting the Vietnam war at Kent State when they were gunned down by trigger-happy National Guardsmen on May 4, 1970.