For a nation that loves to wave its religiosity like a flag, we sure can be a mean-spirited bunch.

More than 40 people were shot in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend — and officials there called it an improvement.

Two men in Portland, Oregon, recently were murdered and another was seriously injured after coming to the aid of two girls who were being harassed by someone who mistakes terrorism for patriotism.

Last week, for the second time, someone left a noose at the National Museum of African American History and Culture — a place you don’t have to visit if you don’t like it.

In this atmosphere, comedian Kathy Griffin thought it would be funny to take a picture with a mannequin’s head representing the bloodied, severed head of President Donald Trump.

It wasn’t. No more than effigies of a lynched and burned President Barack Obama were.

Mr. Met did what?

Now comes word that someone vandalized LeBron James’ home in Los Angeles, California, last week with a racial slur. James, who never puts a foot wrong, has done nothing to engender such contempt.

He has donated millions to charitable causes in Northeast Ohio, including starting a new school for underserved kids in Akron and covering tuition for dozens of students attending the University of Akron.

He has defied every stereotype of the black athlete as a profligate spender, deadbeat dad and irresponsible buffoon. He has been wildly successful and, apparently, that is fodder enough.

James’ unfortunate experience is merely history repeating the hard lesson that wealth, fame, and talent are not get-out-of-prejudice-free cards; not even in a country which elected a black president twice.

Kids who revere James, who have not yet been exposed to such bare-fanged hatred, now know that you can do everything right, and still get done wrong.

We Americans have always been up for a good brouhaha, but this current state of affairs is one for the books. We paused for Memorial Day for about two seconds before turning the corner on two wheels to get back to the brawl already in progress.

It feels as though we’re just one chair-throwing incident away from complete chaos, and it isn’t even summer.

Even the New York Mets mascot, “Mr. Met,” was just fired for giving fans the middle finger.

How did we get here?

Slash-and-burn

Some people blame the current president, who pulled off the impossible by tapping the raw nerve of voter discontentment, anger, and resentment; whose Russian boy-crush and slash-and-burn style of governance are causing apoplexy like it was contagious. Others blame his predecessor, who was castigated by his critics as a Manchurian Kenyan, a do-nothing despot, though it’s hard to fathom how you could be both.

For all the good things America embodies and does — and there are many — the truth be told, we’ve been “here” since Plymouth Rock.

It’s just that now, we can see our inglorious behavior in real time. The only thing that surpasses our audacity is our ingenuity. We invented the cell phone, by which we capture our most outrageous moments and send them around the world, which then inflames — or encourages — others.

So, videos of sweet little old ladies cursing out immigrants at Walmart no longer come as a surprise.

Let’s face it: We are the land of the free, home of the head-butt.

— Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com