Wednesday, February 14, 2018

National Crisis as Shaun White Drags US Flag

Richard Mellor Afscme Local 444, retired

Additional note: Well, it shows how little I know about the Olympics or Shaun White. He's a millionaire I read now and became one before he was 20. This is thanks to all the corporate money he gets from the profits the apparel makers and others make from the workers their products. Probably Cambodians, Vietnamese, Bangladeshis etc. It shows how nothing is sacred in capitalist society, we can't even enjoy a healthy human cultural activity like competitive sport without capital making pimps out of the participants. Even so, White may be a spoiled and even arrogant asshole, and a harasser of women but the point of this post remains the same. This hullabaloo about the flag is nonsense.

Gasp! He's dragging the flag. He's dragging the flag
Jesus, people who never bat an eyelid when cops shoot unarmed teenagers ignore homelessness, poverty, lack of health care for others opportunity for youth (not for themselves of course) are upset over a cloth emblem. They're mad at Shaun White, the young Olympic snowboarder.  As excited as he was, he let the US flag drag on the ground after winning one of his gold medals at the Winter Games.It's my guess he was just overcome with emotion and had no intention of disrespecting anything, flags or people. *

The problem with flags is that one person's flag that they feel represents certain democratic freedoms, is another person's symbol of oppression, because they represent nations and there are imperialist nations and imperialized nations----the colonized and the colonizer. I have seen Native Americans with US flags I never quite understood that. The Irish Republicans referred to the Union Jack, that my father considered a symbol of freedom and democracy, as the "Butchers Apron" The Union Jack was a symbol of oppression for most people, victims of British colonial power. I'm sure the Cambodian, Laotian and Middle Eastern children who mistakenly think unexploded US cluster bombs are toys and get their arms blown off by them, don't consider the little US flag emblem on them a symbol of liberation other than liberating their arms from their elbows.

Within nations there are classes.  The object of the ruling class is to convince the working class that we are all “one” and have the same interests, that workers in other countries are our competitors not our allies-----a national flag is for this purpose. The auto-worker, the bus driver and Warren Buffet, two peas in a pod. I don’t think so.  Workers do have a flag though and that is the red flag, we even have an anthem, the International.  These symbols of class power and unity have been perverted somewhat by the rise and since demise of the Stalinist totalitarian state that was the Soviet Union but we need to not allow that monstrosity to tarnish our symbols as workers.

I have no idea what Shaun White’s politics are but I am aware that these young people work their asses off to compete in an Olympic event; they give up a lot. I personally don’t watch them, don’t enjoy the nationalist bent of them or the money and corporate control of these sports/business events. But my bet is the kid was overwhelmed that his efforts that consumed his life paid off like many others. Just getting there was a dream for most.

It’s incredible, and the product of a narrow world view and complete lack of class consciousness that some people can ignore the violence, oppression and misery this system wages on people, some more than others, and the violence their government commits on weaker ones, yet get upset over a piece of cloth.

Since posting this I have read a little more about Shaun White. I was not aware of the sexual harassment allegations against him. This issue doesn't change the nature of these comments but it does change my view about Shaun White not that I'd ever heard of him before now.

1 comment:

Johnson Johnson said...

I agree 100%. The ignorance is bliss factor in this country is amazing. We tend to portray ourselves as the almighty protectors of freedom and democracy, backed by God and Christianity (if you rolled your eyes, so did I typing this), and, although we have done the world a whole lot of good, we like to conveniently ignore the mistakes we've made. We have made countless, horrible decisions right up there with the good ones. I believe an honest country should recognize itself at face-value. To point out those mistakes somehow makes you unpatriotic. Thought process, research, and philosophy have little to no place in Nationalism. It tends to go against the sentiment it (Nationalistic ideals) carries along with it.

Shaun White proudly representing his country, and trying to trudge through snow is immediately the target of a thousand goons who themselves have nothing better to do than berate an athlete who made an honest mistake.

I feel like we Americans like to look outwardly a lot. We always paint other countries as Nationalistic, other leaders as Fascist, other leaders as dictators or having authoritarian characteristics, but we always seem to justify our own faults.

Try bringing up one conversation with the United States when it comes to foreign policy, and just about every fellow American I've spoken to immediately makes America the victim card somehow, and then lays largely un-supported and sometimes flat-out ignorant opinions about every country out there. We've become a society of judging the cover without having done further evaluation, and having investigated the entire book.