Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flag Waving

*Sober warning: What you're about to read is, indeed, drunk rambling (I went through a phase a little while ago... sue me) and makes little sense, even to me. That stated, I left what was originally written (while editing typos and misspellings, of course) because it's kinda funny. Politics and religion should be avoided at all costs, right? And especially so when drinking.

By now most of you have heard about the ridiculous thing that happened at a California high school this past Cinco de Mayo. But, if you haven't, here's the gist: some teenagers got sent home for sporting clothing with the American flag on a day in which the student body was encouraged to sport clothing with the Mexican flag.

Yes, it was a ridiculous action for the Vice Principal of the school to take, but like all things controversial, there are two sides to every story. Please keep in mind that I'm drunk as I write this, don't really care what happened, and am merely musing on the topic. There will be jumps in logic here (as is standard for alcohol-influenced writing), but hopefully you can follow where I'm going with this.

1) Sending the kids home was stupid. Ridiculously so (yes, I realize I've already stated this). This does happen to be the United States of America and nobody, EVER, should be "punished" for displaying the flag (punished is in quotes because I don't particularly view being sent home from school as a punishment).
2) Encouraging American students (regardless of ethnicity) to wear foreign flags in celebration of a holiday that isn't actually a real holiday is pretty stupid in and of itself.

Okay, that's out of the way, and you can probably infer the problem I have with what happened. HOWEVER, it is important to discern why those students who wore the American flag did so. Again, nobody should ever be punished for doing so, but that doesn't mean we can't mock them. So... if these kids who were sent home happened to wear the American flag often, then there really was no reason to send them home. But... if these kids who were sent home happened to only wear the flag on Cinco de Mayo, then, well, there are questions that need to be asked. If the latter is the case (which I believe it to be), then they were clearly being defiant amid a celebration that they felt like being racist about. But, again, nobody should ever be punished for waving the American flag in the United States... ever.

I'm rambling. And I'm afraid my point will get lost amid the fog of Merlot. But I'll try anyway... Hell, this might be good for a laugh when I sober up.

And now I'm soliloquizing. I'm gonna have to do this point by point.

Despite everything I've already stated, there is no reason to deny a people the celebration of their heritage. None. Pride comes in strange forms, and while George Carlin had a point when he said that (and I'm paraphrasing) "there's no reason to be proud of what you were born into," people have a right to honor what they're proud of however they want to.

*Sober interjection: Okay, so the above sort of has some logic to it... loose, but understandable. What follows makes NO sense.

So where am I going with this? Flags, that's where. The problem with the Mexican flag is that it's the flag of Mexico. The nation. Not the people. And the problem with that is that we identify our ethnicities with the flags of our governments. And that IS the problem. I happen to be half-Japanese, but you'll be damned to ever see me waving a Japanese flag in the United States (and, by contrast, I wouldn't sport an American flag in Japan, either... unless I'm in uniform, of course).

So I propose that everyone create a flag for their ethnicity. Create a Mexican flag that is devoid of symbolism for Mexico. Do the same for America. Kazakhstan. Armenia. Germany. Where-the-fuck-ever. Fly that flag with pride. But if you're going to live in a sovereign nation, have some respect for that nation and realize that you are a citizen there.

I'm sure I haven't made any sense. But I'm gonna laugh about this when I read it again.

*Sober conclusion: Even I can't really determine what the last part is supposed to accomplish. Something about flags replacing flags in order to have flags that aren't real flags to prevent flag-tricide. Yeah... that's about as much sense as I can make of it. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time of inebriation. Perhaps I'll read this at an AA meeting in a dozen years or so.

12 comments:

  1. More merlot than coffee in this post, Jeff. ;) Even so, some good points.

    Flags and the waving thereof make for a prickly issue. Believe me, I sincerely mean no offence to any one, but flags are more trouble than what they are worth. I was unaware of the Cinco de Mayo incident, but can just imagine how much heat and how little light the whole ensuing controversy will generate.

    I don't think there is any flag anywhere that says anything to me worth saying and you will never see me waving or wearing any flag. Nor will you ever see me, I hope, defiling or dishonoring a flag either; just as I would never desecrate a temple of anyone's faith or litter in a forest. Nor would I question the depth of feeling others do genuinely have for their flag (my father fought in the South Pacific in WWII under the US flag).

    Being proud of and parading pride in a nationality one is born into must be nice, but it is an emotion I have never felt and an idea that does not make much sense to me. I might as well be proud of being a human being or of having green eyes.

    Well, I think my comment has too much coffee and not enough merlot. But I just wanted to send some random thoughts to show you that if you want to ramble and not make any sense, you do not necessarily have to get drunk to do so (but I find it does help).

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  2. I have heard you quote that George Carlin quote before, but never while drunk ;). Sweet man that Lorenzo is, he has managed to find your meaning, or meaning in you. Whatever. This was entertaining and that's why I read here. Gracious!

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  3. i got from this that we should all design our own flags and then anyone who invades our space can be detained questioned and summarily bombed into kingdom come. i don't have any bombs, so i'm getting out my tennis racket--beware!

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  4. i wave a white flag...the guys that did it got the attention they hoped for though it seems they did not steal if from what they were actually trying to do...

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  5. Flags are meant to fly on flagpoles not people.
    And if that's the worst you can do whilst pissed I'm disappointed. You've just lost your honorary Australian tag you bloody cork sniffer!

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  6. Is there anything you write that you don't post?

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  7. I like how you write about flags. You use colorful prose.

    Ok, all kidding aside, I get what you are saying. And I HOPE the kids were just being kids and it wasn't anything racist. I know when my kids' school recently had a "wear green for the Celtics" (or something similar, can't remember now), my son and his friend were determined to do the exact opposite. What the opposite of green is you would have to ask them.

    GAH! Your rambling is contagious!!!

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  8. Hey, I like you to 'soliloquizing', and I just like that word, too.
    I can't remember, not because I am drunk, but isn't it illegal to make clothes out of an American flag? Not that I collect those '60/70 pieces of junk, or anything... -j

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  9. We have rather a good system over here in the UK where nobody is quite sure what our national flag is. Indeed, most can't agree what our country is : England, Britain, the UK, the British Isles ... or what? Mind you the Yorkshire Flag - if there was one - would be the one I would fly.

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  10. Is it bad I found this slightly hilararious. If so I appologize... just something about it is really funny

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  11. Haha oh how I love drunken wisdom! My friend once wrote on a napkin, "Time is over. Wear your blank cassette tape."

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  12. Your "sober injection" had me laughing out loud. This was a great mid-day laugh. :)

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