Saturday, October 03, 2015

Your flag decal won't...oh, you know the rest.

You can decide how related this is to that last, I saw a decal on the back of a pickup truck with a picture of an American flag and the legend “If this offends you, I'll help you pack.” Now, I suppose this goes without saying, but nobody is actually “offended” by the American flag. I mean, okay, maybe you have the odd diehard Stalinist or Neo-Confederate who takes umbrage at it, but that's such a tiny sliver of the populace to be meaningless. Basically, the only thing that's offensive about this sticker—because, fucking duh, it's meant to be offensive—is the “love it or leave it” message. The question becomes, then, why? You could express your patriotism perfectly adequately just with a plain ol' American flag, with the added benefit of not being pointlessly dickish.

The answer is obvious: it's because this kind of “patriotism” requires opposition; enemies who counter your love of America by hating America. It lets you imagine that you are beleagured and self-righteous. “Loving America” in itself has no meaning for you. It's related to what Fred Clark's
always banging on about, the way a certain breed of evangelical Christians is always disappointed to find that their Satanic baby-killers fantasies are just that—shouldn't they be happy to find that this stuff isn't really going on? No, because they need someone to feel more holy than. Their beliefs don't mean anything with no one to hate/be superior to. Likewise these “patriots”—and hell, I probably shouldn't put the word in scare quotes, because I'm not convinced that that's not basically what patriotism tout court amounts to.

Anyway, when half of the country specifically defines its love for the country as hatred of the other half—well, good luck running THAT country.


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