Saturday I was sitting on the upper deck of Camp Randall Stadium next to my grandmother waiting for a football game to start when that familiar message came over the loudspeaker: "Please rise and direct your attention to the center of the field for our national anthem." There it was. That moment before every sporting event in America where spectators rise, take their hats off and commit to the greatest act of nationalism this and other countries commit. Saturday was a surprise. Instead of the usual color guard, a football field-sized flag was unfurled, and in a completely unsurprising act, when it was shook by the people holding it off the ground, everyone cheered, but not as loud as after the "Star Spangled Banner" finished, when three fighter jets roared over the stadium. That, my friends, is this country in a nutshell: Unabashed Nationalism, displays of wartime supremacy, and American football.
Now, I don't hate America. I live here, it's my home, and therefore I have an almost begrudging attachment to it as both a homeland and a political entity. But it has let me down, hard. Year after year passes, and my bright-eyed idealism, that belief that eventually, every American will do what's right instead of what's easy, that as we progress towards the future politics would and could change, faded away and I was left bitter and resentful towards America, Americans, and fucking politicians. I may not vote in 2012 because of it. Obama let me down, and i cannot vote for a socially conservative Republican candidate. I'm not that spiteful, yet. The only candidate I've ever respected and believed in fully, former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, has declared he is not running for the soon to be empty Wisconsin senate seat in 2012. For you American readers, you may recognize Russ Feingold as the Senator who pushed partisanship away to work on campaign finance reform with John McCain, and the ONLY senator to vote against the US Patriot act. And yes, a lot of disenfranchised liberals has gravitated towards Ron Paul, but I will not be one of them. A couple of his ideas are sound, but more than enough are also fucking insane and will harm more than they help, especially his state-based concepts. Because what will happen is similar to what happened after the revolutionary war: each state functioning independently of another, and hampering business and industry between each other because of the drastically different laws and regulations put together.
So anyways, I witnessed this display of Nationalism. And other countries are the same. I know Canada is, because I've been to a Canadian hockey game (Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver or something) here in the states and they played Canada's national anthem and all 20 or so of the Canadians in the stadium stood up (a conservative estimate. There were a surprising number there. Then again, that was over a decade ago, my memory is sketchy at best). Shit, Canadian punk band Propagandhi have a song about from their newest album (it'll be at the end of the post. great song). It's not just America. But do Brits have fighter jets fly over an Arsenal game before the game starts? Do Real Madrid fans cheer their asses off when they witness an football pitch-sized Spanish flag unfurled across the field? Maybe. Then again, I did look this up. Yeah, other countries do it (Britain pretty much invented it), but they have a tendency to only do so during big events and celebrations. The beginning of the NCAA football season isn't, especially when it's Wisconsin (then ranked 11 in the nation) and the unranked Nevada-Las Vegas. And NASCAR? EVERY MAJOR FUCKING RACE! It's unnecessary, but that is what America is. Unnecessary nationalism because we have to be the best. Even when we're not. Even when we can't deal with our fucking problems.
So I'm now going to drop some more controversial views up in this bitch. And I have to throw this disclaimer up because it will come as I'm an asshole, and I am, but not with this. This is a rejection of a long-held belief by the american people. So if you're a serviceman or woman, or a veteran, and you get offended, unfollow me. And know I'm not saying this about you specifically, but as a general observation and understanding. You still here? Good.
American soldiers are not innately heroes. There. That's it. We have this mentality here in America to automatically equate military service with heroism. I disagree wholeheartedly. But, bear in mind, I think the same thing about Police Officers, Firefighters, and every single person in the fucking world. Because here's the kicker: A hero isn't a person who is born, a hero is made by extraordinary circumstances. That moment when normal people shrink back in fear, and a hero charges forward. Jumping on a grenade to save a comrade? Hero. Shelling a section of land because your commanding officer said so? Not hero. I'm sorry, I just call it as I understand it. The military is a job, just a job where the possibility of being shot at and shooting back. I respect people in the military, I really do. They do something I can't, because I have "Authority issues" and am a "free thinker." I'm not a react-act person. I question everything around me. I used to pester my parents with "why?" whenever they told me to do something. So there's that. I can respect you, but I don't think you're a hero. Because I've seen too many dumbass kids with no other options join the military and then come home lording it over me. "I just got back from a tour in Iraq because I'm fighting for your freedoms." Yeah? I just finished a ten page paper comparing the Lady of Bath from the Canterbury Tales to a symbol of male oppression against women (my professor said it was a fresh take on it that he hadn't seen before. Got an A). Sorry you didn't do well in school or were not an outstanding athlete like you falsely believe. So you're gonna be a lifer? Well, enjoy my tax dollars paying you retirement at 38. You're welcome. I've heard stories from base-life that do nothing but support my views. And I'm sorry. I respect your job, but that doesn't make you a hero.
So, now that I'm done offending everyone, I will state that Sunday is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. So, prepare for a possibly even more offensive post about America. I have views about 9/11 that will piss people off (and not that conspiracy shit). Anyway, I mentioned Propagandhi, so here's a live version of "Dear Coach's Corner." Relevant as hell. Because it's talking about propaganda in professional sports (hockey. Because they're canadian)