Once upon a time — back in 2011 — the mainstream media just about fell over themselves with joy when 80,000 Mexicans living in Los Angeles came out strong to cheer on Mexico against the USA in a Gold Cup final.

Their pride included not just waving flags or wearing shirts, hats, and other accessories that proudly showed off the Mexican national colors. It also included more than a few obscenities aimed at the American team — as well as other acts of aggression. It got to the point where the American coach told the press he felt like he was playing an away game on American soil. (The U.S. team lost 4-2.)

Which leaves one wondering why a Des Moines, Iowa, high school was forced to apologize for its “insensitivity” when a few students chose to wear red, white, and blue to a recent basketball game against a cross-town rival.

Forget that the contest between Valley High and Des Moines North was a nail-biter, with Valley squeaking out a 57-55 quarterfinal playoff victory in the final moments of the game. Forget that going to a high school basketball game wearing a shirt with the American flag used to be called “good, clean fun.”

Nope. The big story of the day was that Valley High students were guilty of “offending” the other side, because the rival school includes a large contingent of refugees, reported Fox News.

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The students who wore the red, white, and blue first tried to defend themselves with the truth: They meant no harm and had worn the same colors to previous games without any pushback.

But in today’s atmosphere of politically correct thought control, these kids were quickly taught the error of their ways — by their own coach. “Any normal person, any educated person, can look at that and think what the hell are these kids thinking,” said Valley High School Coach Morgan Wheat.

As a parent, I think we are in serious trouble when we must force our children to apologize for loving their country.

And with their own faculty breathing down their necks, the student council at Valley High apologized to North High.

“We are deeply sorry if we have offended anyone in any way,” the letter to their rivals read. “Everyone here … has immense respect not only for your team and plays but for your community as a whole. Please know that our intent was in no way to offend or demean — just to support our own team in a way we have done before.”

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As the kids say in social media, SMH — “shake my head.” Has it really come to this? The United States is arguably the most welcoming country to refugees in the history of mankind. Not so long ago, people from other countries would have tears in their eyes when they spoke about coming here and being able to participate in the American Dream. Now, apparently, coming to the U.S. means being able to trash the very country that opened its doors to you in the first place.

Back in the day, teaching patriotism and citizenship was seen as a good thing to do for the younger generation. We rightly taught our children that our country was built on welcoming people from other countries, people who came here and became a part of our society while adding their own talents, traditions and flavors to the culture as a whole.

Apparently, this is no longer the case. Rather than an isolated incident, the story in Iowa is part of a fast-growing trend.

Last year students at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, high school were told to leave their flags outside the stadium before entering to watch a football game. A similar incident took place in South Carolina, where students were banned from waving the American flag in the stands, because it was seen as “taunting” Hispanic players on rival teams.

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As a parent, I think we are in serious trouble when we now force our children to apologize for loving their own country.

We must continue to teach and model patriotism, and stand behind our kids when they defend their own freedom of expression rights. This is all part of the Left’s unending cultural war, where even something as American as a cross-town high school rivalry is no longer safe from the politically correct thought police.

As the kids say, SMH.

David Ordan is a master’s degree candidate in clinical counseling at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lives with his wife and six children.