"If beans is what we got, beans is what we eat."
That's something my mother used to say. The saying and the attitude come from the Great Depression, a 1930s patriotic event during which her family almost starved to death.
My wife made chili this week — with beans.
The chili we eat isn't really Mexican. It's Mexican like you're Mexican if your father snuck over the river from Mexico, but became a citizen during an amnesty, and married a born-in-America Mexican girl, and you can't speak Spanish very well, and you married a very pale girl from Wisconsin named Sigerson, and you son's name is Gareth. Gareth can't speak Spanish at all, and he wants to join the Navy, like his Uncle Sven.
I've eaten the chili for the last three nights because my wife made a tub of it, and because "If beans is what we got..."
But I'm not complaining. Americans aren't allowed to complain anymore.
"I've had chili the last three nights," I said to my friend Bunting.
"But what about our troops?" Bunting said. "They're stuck out in the desert eating MREs and getting killed by ISIS with improvised explosive devices. What about them? They may never see the chili of America again!"
"But it's been three nights and I think there's enough of it left for another night," I said.
"What about our first responders?" Bunting said. "When they leave their families, they don't know if they'll ever see them again. And you're complaining about chili?!"
"I've been to your suburb, Bunting," I said. "They haven't had a cop killed in 30 years. Working construction is more dangerous than being a cop where you live."
"But they never KNOW if they'll see their families again," Bunting said.
"Most of the cops I know have been married at least twice," I said. "Which family are we talking about? The first one or the second one?"
"Oh, sure, and Bill Clinton didn't have sex with that woman," Bunting sneered.
"Maybe I could just skip it tonight," I said. "I could throw the chili away before my wife gets home. Then I could sneak out later for a burger."
"Yeah," Bunting said. "And you'll wipe that Tupperware container clean, just like Hillary wiped her servers clean."
"Look, Bunting," I said. "I know this kid, Gareth. He's a young guy, and he wants to join the Navy, like his Uncle Sven."
"I bet he's not complaining about chili," Bunting said. "He wants to serve his country. That's the kind of American we need!"
"You're right," I said. "That's exactly the kind of American we need."
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "The Land of Trumpin," is a very patriotic collection of his columns from before during and after the last presidential election. It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.