Patriotism has been in the news lately or, more specifically, the NFL and the national anthem. The point of this article is not to fan the flames of this debate or pick a side.

Rather, I want to share an observation from another topic in the media that gives us valuable insight into what would be the most patriotic thing we can do. This other topic: Russian agents impersonating American citizens to buy online ads and troll social media.

I find it very interesting that our cold war enemy is actively “pushing our buttons” to make us angry at each other. Their ads and online trolling support both sides of all the divisive topics in the media. They don’t actually care about one side or the other—they want us to argue and fight. The more their citizens see discord in democratic governments and between democratic governments abroad, the more they feel justified in their autocratic government.

So, if our “enemies” want us to bicker and argue, maybe the most patriotic thing we can do is figure out how to get along. Figure out how to maintain respect and dialogue to resolve differences and, yes, compromise, rather than crush the other tribe.

As for Donald J. Trump being on the Kremlin’s payroll? I think both tribes would agree that President Trump is divisive. Which means either he is on the Kremlin’s payroll or he’s doing their work for free.
That creates an interesting dilemma for a narcissist. Do you claim you’re taking money from the Kremlin to avoid the shame of being a patsy?

—Joe Criscione, President