“Leibesh: Rabbi! May I ask you a question?
Rabbi: Certainly, Lebisch!
Leibesh: Is there a proper blessing… for the Tsar?
Rabbi: A blessing for the Tsar? Of course! May God bless and keep the Tsar… far away from us!”—Fiddler on the Roof
I have always viewed Patriotism as an aberration. It seemed contrived, unreal, and foolish. Even as a child I felt there was something strange about this whole pledge of allegiance business.
As a young boy I had an unyielding thirst to read, and somewhere along the line I become very aware of the racist history of the ole’ USA. I can’t place the how and I’ve long forgotten the why, but every morning when we’d line up to pledge our lives to the multicolored cloth hanging above us and it just felt odd to me. I kept running that line over and over again in my head “and justice for all” and it never sounded right. My half-formed mind floated to images of Emit Till, lynchings, and hooded fascists stalking the countryside in white robes. When I learned about the civil war I would often fantasize about being a military governor during Reconstruction, gleefully stringing up Klansman and racists from lamp poles and burning entire cities to the fucking ground.
Needless to say, I was an odd child.
But even past the very vivd reality of race other things didn’t add up. I didn’t understand exactly what we were all so happy about, so proud of. Weren’t my classmates reading the same history books at home I was? Were they aware of the savage brutality that flag was founded on? The oceans of blood that thing had consumed?
I didn’t fare much better in high school, somehow winding up in the JROTC program. Here I discovered I just didn’t care for rules, and gladly whipped my classmates up into a Soviet frenzy just for fun. One day on grass manicured with military precision, all the JROTC classes assembled to perform feats of strength in front of representatives of every branch of the military. This was to be a moment of honor, though for who was never quite clear, so I decided to do the mature thing and ruin it.
Under that humid sun the last class marched out, distant at first but slowly holding high a homemade USSR flag and chanting the name “STALIN!” I didn’t know who Marx or Lenin was, didn’t know about gulags or purges, didn’t really understand Communism. I just knew they hated this symbol and I really liked to play Red Alert 2. The operation was a success: they were mortified and I quickly no longer had to deal with the rules of the quasi-air-force as I was soon kicked out of the program.
The incident was a turning point in my life. What fascinated me was the profane nature of it all: this red sweater hastily drawn upon with a black permanent marker getting the same reaction as if I’d dropped a baby on the ground. How could such a thing wield that much power over the minds of grown adults, twist and bend their logic enough to view one rag as sacred and another as the penultimate evil? What strange force made these men and woman get up everyday and willingly shed every aspect of their personality in the name of some immaterial “allegiance?”
It was only through later study that I determined these poor folks had been infected by a terrible virus, one that’s contaminated not only this country but every country on the planet. This virus infects the mind and controls the body, often causing the diseased to become violent and ignorant.
I speak of course of the virus of Patriotism.
You Are Being Lied To
Who could have anything bad to say about a love for one’s country? Wasn’t it Patriotism that kept us united as a people, creating a sense of national solidarity?
First lets make one thing clear: if patriotism is so natural and so good, why in the world does the government need to keep shoving it down your throat?
“The war criminals at the US Pentagon have long drawn on seemingly limitless quantities of taxpayers’ money. Part of their Public Relations strategy is to maintain their claim on the lion’s share of the USA’s public treasury by sponsoring patriotic events at college and NFL football games. Their modus vivendi is to drape themselves in the American flag to inflate their budgets while boosting recruitment into the Armed Forces.
The ritualistic militarization of American football is reaching its most fascistic extremes in this, the fiftieth Superbowl Sunday. On the ground the Armed Forces Chorus will sing America the Beautiful. These soldier songsters are sharing the spotlight with Lady Gaga. She is entrusted to render the US National Anthem for the 100 million plus viewers in worldwide television audience.
As CNN advertised in its CIA-sponsored news, the National Guard and Civil Air Patrol divisions of the US Air Force will guard the Superbowl skies from terrorist attack. In CNN’s spin doctoring, much attention is devoted to the F-15. We learn from the ad/news report that the F-15 has a capacity of 2000 mph, that it can ascend to up to twelve miles above land, and that it has 34 combat victories. Are these specs being included in Superbowl news to make the players and fans at Levi’s Stadium feel more secure?”
Ritualistic you say? Almost like…an enchantment? A public ritual involving death machines fresh from the killing fields of Syria and Libya “protecting” the Super Bowl from our always invisible enemies. And this isn’t the first time the NFL scored touchdowns in the name of the State.
“All this patriotic propaganda- the troop-salutes, the banner ads, even the community service events where troops and NFL teams “build or re-build” a playground together, come with a price tag.
Fourteen NFL teams were paid a total of $5.4 million by the Department of Defense to cover the nationalistic propaganda filling downtime during the games….
According to the Post, this is what the National Guard (who coughed up all but $100,000 of the millions) receives in return for its spending:
A Hometown Heroes Salute segment, online advertising and meeting space for a meeting or events, digital advertising on stadium screens, and advertising and marketing services including a kickoff video message from the Guard.”
“In the past decade, government subsidies to Hollywood production studios have increased substantially. In 2002 only five states provided subsidies to the film industry. In 2012, forty-five states including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico all offer Motion Picture Incentives (MPIs) through a variety of grants, cash rebates, and other special privileges to film crews in order to encourage movie producers to shoot films in their municipality. Favors to film companies also include tax credits which are not subsidies per se, but nonetheless provide the recipients with advantages over less-politically-favored industries…
“In return for our obliged battle contributions the Defense Department uses its propaganda wing, which is strictly dedicated to editing, approving, and overlooking film scripts, and making sure that Hollywood abides by the American patriotic ideal; it’s known as the Film Liaison Office….Furthermore, John Rizzo, the ex-general counsel of the CIA, affirmed that America’s main intelligence-gathering agency has a very “special relationship” with the entertainment industry. “There are officers assigned to this account full-time,” Rizzo claims. “Movie industry vets are receptive to helping the CIA in any way they can, probably in equal parts because they are sincerely patriotic and because it gives them a taste of real-life intrigue and excitement.”
All this effort in getting you to believe something sure looks suspicious, doesn’t it? It’s like a car salesmen sweating profusely and assuring you that “nothing is wrong with this car. It definitely wasn’t in an accident. Definitely. Totally fine, totally not damaged.” Ask any military recruiter just how often you’ll be able to study for those “free college courses,” or how quickly you can expect treatment if you’re injured and you’ll see much the same stammering.
So we have to ask ourselves: just why is Uncle Sam so interested in controlling how you think about him?
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