Boy oh boy, look at all the emotional bug splatter on the windshield of America over the national anthem! Some people are not standing for the Star Spangled Banner! How dare they protest in a nation where that right is allegedly guaranteed and is supposedly celebrated in that song! “Land of the free…” Hmm…well, I suppose so as long as you practice being free according to the method you are told to use.
I’m old enough to remember back when we had to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in grade school. And there were these kids who didn’t. Why? Because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, as I recall. And none of us scolded them and the teacher certainly didn’t shame them. Because it was their First Amendment right to refuse to rise up and pay homage to a piece of cloth. But that was the 1970s before “patriotism” would rear its ugly head again and we would be told we could have actually won the Vietnam War had we just killed three million more people.
So some athlete refused to do the looking skyward inspirationally and weeping shtick while a song glorifying a war was sung off-key, so what? What has that got to do with me, you, or anyone else, for that matter? Now some school ball team in Texas has been getting death threats because they refused to play Star Spangled Banner Musical Chairs. How do you make a death threat to school kids anyway? Especially when trying to tell them how free American is? Does it go something like this: “You kids better start doing what you’re told and standing up for the national anthem so you can show people how much you love freedom! Or we’ll kill you!” Is that how it went? Gosh, that sounds like something the Soviets would have done. Or, perhaps, those people that Bush told us “hate freedom”, you know, the terrorists. Whoever they are.
Why is anyone expected to stand up and celebrate some shredded piece of cloth that survived some long-ago battle? But more to the point, why is war what we sing about? Does war define who we are? I would say so. Other countries have national anthems that celebrate who they are as a people. That celebrate the land and so on. Us? Right, let’s celebrate a war, complete with bombs bursting in air. And people underneath disembowelled by shrapnel, which part is conveniently left out of our national anthem and U.S. Army recruiting brochures. Am I expected to get chills up my spine when I hear this song? My spine is not in need of chilling since lower back pain is enough, thank you very much.
Since when do we need to force people to stand up and salute an idol that is no different than the eagle standards the Roman Army carried into battle? Gee, and we use the eagle as our national symbol, too. What a coincidence. There are a few religious sects that pointedly refuse to salute the flag or serve in a military. I thought this country was supposed to protect that religious right. I guess I was wrong. I thought people had the right to protest what they believe to be government tyranny by refusing to salute what they believe to be a symbol of that government. I guess I was wrong. See, I thought one of the most REAL of patriotic acts one could do would be to call your government out on their lies and falsehoods and deceptions and demand they live up to the words they were supposed to do so by according to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I guess I was wrong about that, too.
People say, “Men died for that flag!” Oh, please, spare me the maudlin theatrics, will you?! Men died because the United States government ordered them into the civil war of another country, like the Vietnam War and the Korean War before it. Or because the government started another civil war in Iraq. If men died for a piece of cloth, then we’re butt-deep in dictatorship, people. If you’re going to say people better get up and salute the flag of a country they know to be wrong in many things, then we’re no different than the Soviets who plastered their flag all over everything that moved and images of Marx and Lenin on everything that didn’t. And demanded everyone better salute those images. Or else.
I have a better idea. One that will live up to these new definitions of “patriotism”. Let’s make it a law that everyone has to stand up for the national anthem or go to jail. But before we do that, we need to get the original documents of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and we need to set fire to and BURN them both on national television in front of the White House. Why the White House? Since we’ve basically made the office of the president a four to eight-year revolving door dictatorship, that is the appropriate place for the immolation of the vestigial tail of American freedom. Once those two troublesome documents are gone from the American psyche, we can proceed faster to where we are already headed.
People call September 11 “Patriot Day”. As if those people volunteered to die that day. I would bet that those people would much rather be alive and so would their families. And this sham of a government refused to give those families the real answers to the deaths of their loved ones and covered up the truth. Instead, they used—used—the very real deaths and suffering of those people to get us into two no-win wars, torture human beings, and refuse to behave like human beings with any conscience whatsoever. Right, let’s celebrate and sing about that. Come on, everyone sing along. “The bombs bursting in air…” And they’ve been bursting in the air ever since, killing innocent men, women, and children.
These people make me want to puke with all their false paperback patriotism where American is always right. Demanding people stand up and salute the flag that flies over places like Guantanamo and police stations where people were beaten to death in holding cells while handcuffed. You know what? Live up to the ideals this nation was supposedly founded on, you hypocrites, then maybe we’ll sing your silly song! Don’t give me any more of this crap about being “proud to be an American” because you know what? I’m not. I’m not proud because this government can confiscate my money and use it to murder innocent people who have done nothing to me. I would run into a busy intersection to retrieve a penny if I thought the government was getting ready to pick it up and put it towards more bombs. But I haven’t got that choice since taxes are not voluntary. So sing your silly song? No.
People say, “You’re lucky you live in a country that lets you say those things!” Wrong. That right is guaranteed to me by the very papers this nation was allegedly founded upon. And so is the right to SIT through the national anthem. Don’t lay this BS guilt trip on me about that or the deaths of people whose lives were thrown away by the government. Lucky, right. It isn’t about “luck”, people. It was supposed to be about living in a free country where we didn’t sit there silent while the government behaved like Stalin on a bad hair day.
So, you know what? I’m not buying any of this false-face patriotism because I know that a lot of people died for nothing. No, not died for my right to say that. Died for nothing. Died in senseless wars, died in police custody, died in “secret prisons”, died in airstrikes, and for what? Excuse me, but where is their song? Answer me that.