Tuesday, September 6, 2011

America the Beautiful, the Idiotic, and the Self-Righeous

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)


  1. You guys play your national anthem at every sporting event? We only do it when the national team plays. I will be a bit of a dick, and urge you to vote. The reason nothing changes is because people get apathetic, the reason they get away with everything is because the people are too apathetic to care. Instead of thinking "A politician let me down/lied to me, I'm gonna fuck that up" they think "A politician let me down/lied to me? So what, that's what they do, I don't give a shit". Well, you do. If you don't then you should. My brother voted for the underdog at our elections, because he was sick of the other two parties, and sure, he was let down, but he recognises he was, rather than just saying they always let you down. Don't let the fuckers win.

    Anyway, I also agree with you on soldiers. The people who dive on shells, who save their buddies in explosions, the kind of people that carry a wounded guy back to base so he'll live, they're heroes, the guy who pressed a button and killed a load of innocent civillians? No, you're a paid murderer. One thing that annoys me about 'Merica is that you seem to think you own the world, or you have to be the best. I'm not saying that about every American, so don't hate me (please?), England used to be the same, in some ways we still are, but we also learnt there are things we shouldn't get involved in. Things that aren't our problem.

    Hmmm...wonder if I can turn this into a blog post. I think the trick will be to do it and not lose all of my readers lol. No matter what ya post I'll still read it.

  2. not looking forward to your sunday post then. :|

  3. I hate nationalism so much I can't explain it; my country was under the communism for decades, and I have to say that even though it's stated otherwise, I feel like nothing changed. We also have to do that thing with the anthem before sport events, and there's corruption everywhere and a bunch of problems and people still ask why you don't love your country - what for?
    I agree with your point of view when it comes to soldiers (and firefighters, police officers and so on); i respect them, but it's just another job and they chose it - no one forced them to. As for the hero part.. there aren't too many of them but even those few, are they truly heroes? People are selfish. Each and every one of them, so does there really exist someone who would risk their life for a cause? Or is it for the fame? And what's the point in dying for something if in a few years you won't even be remembered?..

  4. I think your post was pretty mild and respectful.

    Personally I think nationalism is fucking retarded. The idea that some people are worth more than others because they happened to be born on the right side of some made-up border is laughable.

  5. Nationalism may be dumb, but God Bless America is still one of my favorite phrases, and I love my neighbors to the south because of it :)

  6. My country is not patriotic at all. I wouldn't be surprised if we were the least patriotic country in the whole(or at least western) world. That's not a good thing though, because nobody cares aboud anything and everybody just works for their own profits without giving a damn.
    Well at least we're the one of the least religios countries also.. that kinda balances it out.

    I don't think US soldiers invading other countries are protecting anybody's freedom but the upper 1% at best.
    Firefighters on the other hand actually help people every day (I hope), so they are heroes for me. Their job is really risky and the fact that it's just their job does not mean much, since they can just quit or not even take the job in the first place.

    Also try to question this "men oppressing women" feminist propaganda bullshit once in a while.

  7. Well at least seeing some jets fly over must have been awesome "] and the football game, who did you watch play?

  8. University of Wisconsin vs. University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Wisconsin won 51-17. Great game. Debut of Wisconsin's new QB Russell Wilson, a Senior who transferred from UNC. Gonna be a good season for Wisconsin.

  9. I honestly do not get the nationalism displayed here in the states, especially when the nation isn't the US but the Confederacy (I live in Florida now. The next village is a KKK meeting spot. they were not too welcoming when I tried to ask them a few innocent questions.)
    Seriously though, I lived in Germany for 15 years. We learned our lesson about excessive nationalism there, and I'm just waiting for someone in the States to try and use it for their political agenda. Oh wait, Fox News is already doing it.