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Wednesday, May 18

Nationalist super-patriotism

I met my new neighbor yesterday. He's a middle aged school teacher who absolutely loves his job and from what he was telling me, a very creative teacher with a sense of humor and genuine love for his profession. He also started telling me how much he loves our country. Well I wouldn't argue with that. I suppose I do too or I wouldn't be so mad at it.

He was telling me that he always displayed his American flag on last home and suddenly after 9/11 everyone was displaying their flags. He was excited that everyone joined in his nationalism. Not me. I told him that I noticed that all the businesses which are owned by foreigners were hanging multiple flags on their storefronts after 9/11- probably so that they wouldn't be attacked or boycotted by angry and frustrated Americans.

Then I told my new neighbor that I used to hang a flag on my house and stopped after 9/11. He grimaced. I didn't need a piece of fabric to show that I was a citizen of this country and was affected by the terror of 9/11. If anyone dared to question my patriotism, they would get a big "Fuck you, asshole" from me in my NY accent.

Right before the election last November, I purchased a bunch of red, white and blue bunting to hang on my house when the fascists were ousted. It's still in the box. I told my new neighbor that too. He was disappointed. He is my new project.

He was the second person I spoke to yesterday that was very 'pro-America right or wrong' and quite comfortable with the idea that the government needs to rein in the press in order to keep us safe. Once again, that fear factor comes into play.

I almost had a similar discussion with the husband, who seems to be reading the political parts of the WSJ even though I warned him not to, but my best friend came over and we listened to Air America, drank beer and pondered just how much money these fascists actually need and why. When is enough enough? Never. I surmised that they won't be happy until they control all the money in the world. Why our home grown fascists make the evil villains in Batman look positively meek.

Howard Zinn in The Scourge of Nationalism, sums up our sordid history quite nicely.
Is not nationalism--that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder--one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking--cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on--have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

I urge you to read the whole article. It really gets you thinking about America's role in the world. There are a lot of good points that you might want to arm yourself with the next time you meet someone who cannot even think for one minute that American government just might be very bad for the people.

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