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Need a word for two-faced or self-serving patriotism. Patriotic displays by groups or individuals that are clearly motivated by what can be gained rather than love or honor of country or countrymen.

For example, the NFL has large Patriotic military displays at nearly every game.

However, the NFL is paid tens of millions of dollars by the United States Military to put on these patriotic displays. Not to mention the revenue from increased viewership and increased sales due to the warm fuzzy feeling of being duped into thinking that supporting the NFL is somehow patriotic.

Most recently, the President of the United States ordered a patriotic flyover of military jets. The stated intent was to honor medical professionals combating COVID19.

However, the Presidents approval ratings are in the toilet, the elections are only months away, and this is clearly about the President trying to win favor in his bid for re-election.

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Trumpery Etymonline:

mid-15c., "deceit, trickery," from Middle French tromperie (14c.), from tromper "to deceive," of uncertain origin (see trump (v.2), which has influenced the spelling in English). Meaning "showy but worthless finery" is first recorded c. 1600.

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I suggest opportunistic, that is someone who:

exploits opportunities with little regard to principle.

(M-W)

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  • Does not even connote 'patriotic'. – Edwin Ashworth May 1 at 10:35
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showy patriotism/ showy displays of patriotism - is popular on Google

false-faced patriotism

hypocritical

phony

or (my new favorite find):

pecksniffian/pecksniffery. Noun. (uncountable) unctuous, hypocritical or sanctimonious behaviour.

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  • Does not even connote 'patriotic'. – Edwin Ashworth May 1 at 10:35
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    @EdwinAshworth Do you think there is a word dedicated solely to 'two-faced' patriotism? Hope it shows up. – tblue May 1 at 13:40
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There is definitely a vein of sanctimoniousness here. Sanctimonious behavior is usually about the show or performance which conveys noble intent, rather than the true underlying motivation. From Merriam Webster's unabridged: hypocritically devout : displaying high-mindedness with intent to impress . I would use it as an adjective to qualify the patriotic displays you're talking about.

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There's so much here already, but I'll try this: "Flag-waving".

This term can connotate just very conspicuous, overbearing patriotism, but it also does carry a certain negativity. Several dictionaries suggest that people often use the term in a disapproving way: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/flag-wavinghttps://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/flag-wavinghttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flag-waving

It's probably stronger and even closer to what you're looking for if you add a few words, as in "a cringe-worthy display of flag-waving".

The term doesn't necessarily suggest something "two-faced", but it does imply that there's insincerity going on, and that it's to be disapproved.

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You are specifically talking about the term "political grandstanding" as it applies to politics, but grandstanding as a single word encompases any such behavior

From Oxford Dictionary

Grandstanding

gerund or present participle: grandstanding

seek to attract applause or favorable attention from spectators or the media.

"they accused him of political grandstanding"

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"Duplicitous" might work, although some might find it too highbrow. Another term used synonymously is "faux", which just means fake, but because it is borrowed from French somehow seems to appeal more to some writers.

I've just run a search to check for frequency of use, and "faux patriotism" gets over 20,000 hits, whereas a similar search for "duplicitous patriotism" gets only 4 hits, like this: https://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/19491f6a-8cc6-11e7-b08c-db5b86cf7ad3.html

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  • Does not even connote 'patriotic'. – Edwin Ashworth May 1 at 10:35
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I would suggest "cheap patriotism," which is attested in some newspaper articles, like this one from the New York Times in 1861, or this one, also in the Times, in 2002. If you want a more vulgar expression, "flag humping" is also attested, for instance, in this Splinter blog post, but this alternative suggests a disapproving attitude to "patriotism" in general, which you may not intend.

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Okay, this isn't one word, but it may be of interest to you: self-serving flag-waver. Those who wave the flag engage in acts that are perceived to be patriotic, but whether these acts are or not patriotic is immaterial -- the underlying motive is self interest.

Self-serving flag-waver differs from your self-serving patriot in that it makes no assumption regarding the patriotism, or not, of the person or other entity waving the flag.

UPDATE: I just noticed @IsabelArcher's answer of flag-waving, which she posted while I was drafting the answer above and which I support. In fact, I just upvoted it, because I believe it's about as good as one can do in one word. My addition of self-serving addresses the two-faced aspect of the flag waver, but at the cost of introducing a second hyphenated word. Despite these two issues, I'll let my answer stand.

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How about unscrupulous?

Unscrupulous: behaving in a way that is dishonest or unfair in order to get what you want — CED

Alternatively,

Duplicitous, devious, false-hearted

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  • Does not even connote 'patriotic'. – Edwin Ashworth May 1 at 10:35
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I would suggest populist.

The word tends to imply a leader willing to be responsive to the demands of the majority, whatever they may be, and often in a way that indulges basic drives.

The question places heavy emphasis on "two-faced" and "self-serving", but typically populist leaders are not excessively duplicitous (by the standards of politics, I mean), and they do serve the demands of the electorate to some degree.

It may be true that populists lack any guiding principle about what they will or will not provide to the electorate, and it may be true that they themselves are motivated by the basic indulgences which elected office provides, but this differs from what people typically understand by "self-serving".

The obsequious butler who indulges his master's whims in fear of his own employment, is not typically thought of as "self-serving". Nor is the leader who enriches or indulges himself and his supporters, typically thought of as self-serving.

From another angle, perhaps a populist leader is seen as lacking commitment to any particular policy, unlike (it is assumed) their supporters. It may be assumed that the electorate are considerably more committed to patriotism than the populist leader, and that the leader is being more instrumental than the electorate. However this may assume the electorate themselves are not being instrumental about their patriotism - if they are, then the populist leader is actually very much in tune. The leader instrumentally chooses to express patriotism simply because he thinks it will help him, and the populace cheer, simply because they think it will help them.

It may also assume that the electorate don't realise the leader is being instrumental, when the leader's freedom from ideological rigidities may be seen as part of their attraction (particularly if the electorate have recent bad experience with unpopular ideologues who don't respond to popular demands). Seemingly outrageous policies may be cheered by the populace simply because they demonstrate the leader's freedom of thought and action, and unwillingness to comply with a prevalent bogey ideology.

At any rate, populism is capable of describing all necessary features.

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    Getting closer; ballpark at least. – Edwin Ashworth May 1 at 10:36
  • I really dislike the co-opting of this word to mean something negative. – Casey May 2 at 1:49
  • @Casey, I think it's purely a matter of politics. Obviously, the unpopulists and the elites dislike populism, but widespread support for it suggests it is not generally thought of as negative. – Steve May 2 at 10:38
  • @Steve Well in any case the Populist movement is something entirely different and "populist" now seems to be a way of conflating wildly different political movements for the grievous failing of not listening to whomever the speaker considers to be a true expert who has all the answers. Beyond being distasteful it's muddled. – Casey May 2 at 20:51
  • @Casey, I don't see that it's regarded as inherently distasteful. Those deemed populist tend to be fairly popular. Moreover, I've explained why it's exactly the word the OP was looking for. It is considered derogatory when the speaker is not themselves a populist. – Steve May 2 at 21:09

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