Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: patriotism

No Flag, No Country

Eddie Izzard is hilarious, and he has several bits about being an empire and colonization. It’s funny because it’s apt, and he has the typical British self-deprecatory sense of humor. One of my favorites is one in which he tells how the UK became a great empire with the cunning use of…flags.

“I claim India for Britain.”

“You can’t claim us. We live here. Five hundred million of us!”

“Do you have a flag?” (Funny grimace.)

“We don’t need a bloody flag. It’s our country, you bastard.”

“No flag, no country; you can’t have one. That’s the rules that I’ve just made up! And I’m backing it up with this gun that was lent from the National Rifle (riffle, as he pronounces it) Association.”

(Back to being Eddie)

“And that was it. You know.”

 

I bring it up because of the brouhaha being stirred up over the American flag, which isn’t really the issue, even though it’s become the center of the drama.

Quick background: Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback, took a knee last year during the national anthem as a peaceful way of protesting the systemic injustices that black people, men in particular, suffer in this country. The backlash was swift, and he became a pariah to many white Americans. They wanted him to just play football and keep his politics out of their Sunday entertainment.

Fast-forward to this year and this past week. This president opened his gob and more stupid shit fell out. For whatever reason, he thought it would be a good idea to comment on the situation and said:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners — when somebody disrespects our flag — to say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!'”

Now, I’m not surprised that’s what he said because it’s who he is, but he didn’t have to open his mouth at all. He could have said nothing, and it would have been better than what he did say. Then again, that’s true of approximately 99% of what he says. Before I get into the meat of what he said and why it’s idiotic, the best response to this shitty statement is from Colin Kaepernick’s mother, Teresa. She tweeted:

OT: I really hate the habit of using an asterisk for one letter of a ‘controversial’ word (or more asterisks for more letters), especially in a written piece. Who the f*ck do you think you’re fooling? Like, people aren’t just putting in the g*dd*mn letters as they’re reading? It’s even worse than saying ‘n-word’. There’s a great Louis CK bit about this that says, “You’re just making me say the word in my head so you don’t have to be uncomfortable saying it out loud.” Anyhooooo….

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Fear and Loathing in the USA

tattered freedom
Freedom for all?

I saw an American flag flying on a car while I was on my way to the grocery store and a thrill of fear ran down my spine. Same when I saw the American flag flying in front of a neighbor’s house the day after the election. Later on, I saw three American flags in the user name of a troll on Twitter, and that jolt of fear came again.

I had felt the same fear once before for a sustained period of time. It was after 9/11, when American flags started flying everywhere. To me, the flag had become a symbol of empty jingoism, rabid nationalism, and the opposite of patriotism. It was used to shut up dissenters, those who protested the invasion of Iraq. We were right, by the way, though many people prefer to retcon their memories of how they acted during that time. The flag was shorthand for, “Get out of this country, you traitor,” and since then, I have had an aversion to it.

This time, the flag is a replacement for the ‘don’t tread on me’ logo and the Confederate flag. It says, “Get out, Chink. You’re not welcome.” It’s not a coincident that they’ve sprung up in my very Democratic neighborhood as it’s a way to signal other like-minded people that a friend resides within. It’s meant to intimidate those who don’t feel the same or who are not of the majority, and in places where there are more who think like that than not, it will probably do the trick.

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