Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

I didn't see any of the Republican primary debate last night (no T.V., no masochistic tendencies), so I figured I'd put up a pretty generic post on flag day.

It's no secret that I am a proponent of soft power, I believe that American exceptionalism is true, but in a fashion which American right-wingers do not understand, and in a fashion that they constantly denigrate and undermine. American exceptionalism is rooted in democratic and egalitarian traditions that Republicans are trying to destroy. The classic American "rags to riches" story is becoming increasingly less likely. The American flag, once a symbol of freedom and enlightenment, has ceased to be a venerated symbol throughout much of the world.

One problem is that American foreign policy, both governmental and corporate have been pernicious both at home and abroad. Rather than raising the standards of living for people in developing countries, "free trade" policies have negatively impacted both foreign nationals and American citizens. While many of the deleterious effects of American (actually transnational corporate) trade policies are unseen by the average American citizen, certain effects are readily apparent, although the wrong people are the targets of the "man on the street's" hatred and fear. By not imposing our formerly high labor and environmental standards on our trading partners, we allow the poor working stiffs in those countries to be exploited, and we allow our own working stiffs to be pauperized. America has exported indentured servitude, and "Old Glory" has been substituted for a flag more appropriate for this wage-slavery.

Although it's a song about a different flag, sung by angry young provincials in an occupied territory, the song Fly the Flag by Stiff Little Fingers could very well have been sung about the American flag:




Substitute "U.S." for "British" and "Stars and Stripes" for "Union Jack", and you have a song which perfectly encapsulates the Randian/Reaganite policies which have undermined American prosperity at home and American prestige abroad:


Gimme a country that's red white and blue
Gimme the British way honest and true
Gimme the chance to be one of the few
Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme

Gimme a kingdom where people are free
Free to do and free to be
Free to screw you before you screw me
Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme

Cos I'm alright
I'm alright, Union Jack
Fly the flag

Gimme a Britain that's got back the Great
A race of winners not cramped by the State
And only the helpless get left at the gate
Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme



Of course, these policies could be reversed, if the political class in this country chose to put the needs of human beings over the desires of corporations. Unfortunately, I really don't see too many politicians who truly give a rat's ass about Joe Schmo and Jane Doe. Pity that, because I would rather have "Old Glory" be a symbol of human rights and fair play. As much as I love S.L.F., I'd rather people thought of George M. Cohan when they saw the American flag waving:


9 comments:

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

Wow..this was a great writeup. I don't know where to start.

By not imposing our formerly high labor and environmental standards on our trading partners, we allow the poor working stiffs in those countries to be exploited, and we allow our own working stiffs to be pauperized. Free trade isn't fucking free, it costs us our jobs and demeans the other countries workers as you so aptly point out in your piece. No where is this more apparent than right over our southern border.

My brother in law runs a maquiladora down there, for his boss,a cabinet making company in san diego. They used to be one of THE premier cabinet makers in the entire US. During the course of the last two years, the US company has downsized so much, they no longer have operations here in the US. My brother in law was given the option of running the Mexican unit or being laid off when the shit hit the fan and the US branch was forced to close last year.

He is a good republican..not in my book, but his. But I will give him credit for telling me how fucked up the Free Trade bullshit is and how it turns the mexican workers into slaves that still work for pennies a day. He hates it..he has a heart and he hates what he sees being done to the workers there.

Finding a republican-lover like him that will easily admit how jacked up Free Trade agreements are, well, it was really refreshing..and then sad..sad because he now realizes what I have been preaching to him all along is true..and he and his company are part of the problem.

I saw him cry when we talked of this subject about six months ago. He does care about people..he is what we would call a moderate republican..and especially on social issues. He loves the people that work for him..and I think it makes this all the more sad and pathetic. He goes to their weddings, funerals and parties.

But he is still part of the problem. That is what made him cry I think.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

But I will give him credit for telling me how fucked up the Free Trade bullshit is and how it turns the mexican workers into slaves that still work for pennies a day.

Combined with the post-NAFTA flooding of the Mexican market with cheap, subsidized corn from U.S. agriconglomerates, Free Trade has really, really hit Mexico hard, driving many campesinos off the land. I appreciate Mexican culture, the vast majority of Mexican people I have met are hard-working, proud people, good people. They and other Mesoamerican folk have also traditionally been tied to the land- a Guatemalan guy who worked as a delivery guy for a deli near a workplace of mine used to say with pride that he was an "hombre de la milpa". I used to call him "hombre de maiz".

How soon before your brother becomes a card-carrying liberal?

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Wow..this was a great writeup

BTW, thanks, but I really just wanted an excuse to post some Stiff Little Fingers.

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

LOL..my brother in law will never be a card carrying liberal. He makes too much money m'dear. ;) He will discuss issues w/me, but he will always vote R I think. His favorite thing lately is how his premiums keep going up yet Obama told him they wouldn't w/the new HCR act. It's hard to argue that point w/him as The Big O sold us down the river on that issue.

I am hispanic so this issue really chaps my ass and gets me going. I am half hispanic..and look like a brown bitch. My sister on the other hand looks like my dad meaning she has blond hair and blue eyes.

Back to the institutionalized slavery..you are correct that most mexicans no longer farm..they can't afford to..and the farms that do exist are like ours..meaning corporate farms. I live in the San Joaquin valley..so lemme tell ya about Corporate AG sometime..its a real hoot and one of the reasons Ahnold showed up here every month during his tenure as the Govenator.

Substance McGravitas said...

I feel an urge to make a pilgrimage to Detroit.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I feel hard to believe in American exceptionalism when there are so many cases of us behaving just like any other old empire when it was the big bully in town.

In other words, the ugly American is a lot easier to document.
~

Jennifer said...

possibly related

Jennifer said...

better clip.

The other one cut off the nice ending line.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Check out www.AmericanJobsAlliance.com and please sign the pledge.
We have to fight the bastards (not the bald one, tho).