Twisted national pride: true patriots love their fellow citizens and work to make the country a better place
The Republicans and Australian billionaires who own and run Fox “News” have a weird idea of what it means to love and respect your country. The network has spent years welcoming white Republicans claiming “patriotism” to scoff at black athletes protesting racism in America, and they are doing it again.
For example, Rep. Dan Crenshaw told Fox viewers about black Olympian Gwen Berry, who is now heading to the Tokyo Olympics and turning away during the national anthem: “We don’t need more. ‘militant athletes. She should be removed from the team. … This should be the bare minimum, is that you believe in the country that represents.
And it has spread beyond Fox, as it so often does. Meghan McCain weighed in on The View: “[I]It is not appropriate or patriotic to go to a foreign country where you are supposed to represent America and act like it’s right for you.
But Berry made it clear that it wasn’t her; it was about how this country has treated – and continues to treat – black people.
“I never said I hated the country,” Berry told Black News Channel (a CNN affiliate), “I never said that. All I said was I respect my people enough not to endure or recognize something that disrespects them.
So what was disrespecting black people as Berry protested? And what is true patriotism?
First of all, about the national anthem that Berry turned away from. It was written by Maryland slave owner Francis Scott Key to celebrate the American victory in the War of 1812 against the British “Corps of Colonial Marines”, which was massacred by American forces in the Battle of Strong. McHenry in September 1814.
And who were the British Corps of Colonial Marines? Five months earlier, in April 1814, British Captain James Ross had promised freedom and resettlement in Barbados or England to all enslaved Africans who could escape the American plantations and volunteer to fight in the War of 1812 for the British.
Three hundred slaves “escaped the plantations of their masters on the Chesapeake [Maryland] Tidewater ”and they became the All-Black Colonial Marine Corps.
Thus, slave owner Francis Scott Key wrote the third stanza of the national anthem to celebrate the massacre of the fleeing slaves of his compatriots in Marylander at the hands of all-white American troops:
And where is this group that swore with such pride,
May the ravages of war and the confusion of battle
A house and a country must never leave us?
Their blood washed the pollution from their filthy footsteps.
No refuge could save the mercenary and the slave
From the terror of theft or the darkness of the grave,
And the star spangled banner in triumph doth vague
O’er the land of the free and the house of the brave.
It’s part of our history that Gwen Berry clearly knows, as do many black Americans; the same racial history in this country that Republicans in several states are now passing laws prohibiting our children from learning.
As she said, “If you know your story, you know the full song of the national anthem. The third paragraph talks about slaves in America – our blood being slaughtered all over the ground. It’s disrespectful and it doesn’t speak for black Americans.
Which brings us to the second question raised by Berry’s gesture: What sort of behavior is patriotic?
- Does this turn its back on a racist anthem, or does it beat the Capitol Police with American flag poles and other weapons so severely that over 100 have been hospitalized, one has died, one lost one eye, another finger, and many are permanently disabled… forcibly overthrow a free and fair election?
- Does this bring the taxes of morbidly rich Americans back to normal to rebuild our country after 40 years or neglect, or does it maintain a tax system so corrupt since Reagan’s presidency that most parasitic billionaires are actually paying? less than 3% federal income taxes while large corporations pay nothing?
- Does it provide high-quality public education and free or low-cost colleges and business schools (and eliminate existing student debt), or pass laws supporting 400% payday loans interest and bailing out corrupt bankers?
- Does it maintain a system of unemployment that grabs workers as capitalism goes through its periodic and predictable cycles of failure, or does it subsidize airlines and other monopoly industries with billions during those same cycles?
- Is he feeding hungry Americans with food stamps and programs for low-income pregnant women, or is he spending millions and decades to take away women’s right to choose to use control over? births or having an abortion?
- Is he making sure Americans who have worked their entire lives have a well-funded social security system, or is he working tirelessly to gut the Social Security Administration so Wall Street can take over?
- Is he helping workers have a “workplace democracy” – union representation – or is he killing the unionized post office so that it can be sold to FedEx (which recently took over service? USPS International Postal Code)?
- Is he making it easier for all eligible US citizens to vote, or is he passing laws to make it more difficult to vote and trying to recruit tens of thousands of “poll overseers” from among the ranks of the pollsters? white supremacist militias?
- Does this solve our homeless problem by making affordable residences available to all Americans (like Finland just did), or does it demonize and harass people pushed to sleep in the city? street by brutal and unregulated capitalism or mental illness?
- Is it providing health care to all Americans as a right, or privatizing Medicare through the so-called “Medicare Advantage” scam, doing your best to destroy Obamacare and even blocking half measures like a public option?
- Does this ensure that our water and air are clean and pure, or does it pass laws to commit a crime to take photos of reports on conditions in highly polluting industries like food operations? animal concentrate (CAFO).
- Is it working to green America’s infrastructure and transportation, or is it giving a $ 600 billion a year subsidy to the same fossil fuel industry that has spent 50 years or more lying to us about the relationship between his company and global warming?
- Does it support the equality of LGBTQ women and Americans, or does it propagate hatred, fear and division as a political strategy to increase media profits and win elections?
- Is it about banning weapons of war on our streets and passing basic gun safety laws like most developed countries have done, or does it promote the ” open port “so any smiling idiot who wants to can strut around with an AR15 strapped to his chest like a giant prosthetic penis?
- Is he enforcing anti-monopoly laws to save small family businesses and local newspapers and other media, or does he continue to force American families to pay an average of $ 5,000 a year more than locals? from any other developed country for everything from mobile phone service to broadband, travel and medicine?
- Is he working for racial reconciliation and redress after 400 years of genocide, slavery and legal apartheid against Native Americans, Blacks and Hispanics, or is he fighting to preserve statues and festivals? that commemorate a group of slave-owning traitors whose attempt to end the American experiment left 600,000 dead during the Civil War?
- Speaking of 600,000 deaths, does that do worse than nothing against a pandemic sweeping our country – in fact, using the intimidating chair of the presidency and media like Fox to promote bizarre mask theories and chloroquine that made it worse – or does it work to get all Americans vaccinated and develop a national vaccination certification system so we can travel overseas or safely enjoy restaurants, sporting events and cruises?
True Patriots love their country and their fellow citizens of all races and genders, and work to make their nation better (even if that may mean revising a national song). Demagogues, right-wing billionaires and their on-camera accomplices are simply trying to pit us against each other and tear apart our republic while getting richer.