Something that has irked me recently are these America Justice Warriors.
These thin-skinned individuals cry and complain about every little thing that offends them, saying (for example) how it's disrespectful to their
country for professional football players to kneel instead of stand for the national anthem.
This particular example is funny, as professional football players have only been doing this since 2009
- before then, they stayed in their
locker rooms and were not out on the field at all. Why did it change? Paid patriotism:
The players were moved to the field during the national anthem because it was seen as a marketing strategy to make the athletes look more
patriotic. The United States Department of Defense paid the National Football League $5.4 million between 2011 and 2014, and the National Guard [paid]
$6.7 million between 2013 and 2015 to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies as part of military recruitment budget-line items.
Moving on, though - nationalism is a powerful tool. The DoD has used
for recruitment in sporting events
, just as other countries have. Nationalism has become a slogan of our President: "Make America Great
Again" - not helping Americans, but promoting America.
Yet, that is antithetical to what the United States of America actually is:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.
The Constitution is about promoting us
- her citizens - not America as some entity itself. We left English rule to get away from the whole
'for King and Country' thing. That's why it establishes protections for its citizens against the government - we hold the rule of law to be
superior to the rule of the state.
Yet, we have these America Justice Warriors bemoaning how people are insulting our great country by not standing for an anthem - one which wasn't
made the national anthem until 1931 (before we didn't have one). We did not have a national pledge of allegiance until 1942, and it didn't include
the words "under God" until 1954. These were nationalist promotions - abhorred by our great founders:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It is not America that is behind this: it is self-evident; from our Creator. Indeed, America is merely a construct:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That
whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new
Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety
Governments are responsible for many great and terrible things. These America Justice Warriors fly the nation's flag without understanding that it
is not America we should celebrate, but its people. Recall again the pledge; the one we know today is mostly inspired by Francis Bellamy, who
"At the beginning of the nineties patriotism and national feeling was (sic) at a low ebb. The patriotic ardor of the Civil War was an old
story ... The time was ripe for a reawakening of simple Americanism and the leaders in the new movement rightly felt that patriotic education should
begin in the public schools."
He teamed up with James Upham to promote the pledge, a flag maker who (unsurprisingly):
"felt that a flag should be on every schoolhouse"
Nationalistic indoctrination of schoolchildren for the good of a capitalist, circa 1900.
It's unsurprising at this point that America Justice Warriors have become so wide-spread. Yet, their logic surprises: soldiers do not fight for a
flag; they fight for their friends and their families, their comrades in arms, and their own moral compass.
Every perceived transgression must be defended against vehemently by these America Justice Warriors, regardless of whether it was even an attack in
the first place or how unrelated it might be.
We here on ATS know the government has done shady and evil things; they've orchestrated coups and overthrown elected leaders. That is the sort of
thing nationalists do - interfering with other countries for our country's benefit - and that is what the government has become over the years.
We are, however, responsible for not holding them accountable. The government is subject to the people
: us. We keep electing these
flag-pin-wearing fools because we've forgotten the founding documents of our country. They preach how great America is or shall be once they're in
charge, and we happily lap it up. Recall the years and years of Obamacare repeals. If you just give them power, they'll deliver...
For these politicians, nationalism is frequently a ruse - an excuse like the flag maker above to line their own pockets. Go have a look at the net
worth of anyone in Congress if you don't believe me - bonus points for those who got wealthy after achieving office. It's ironic that the loudest
America Justice Warriors seem to only be out for themselves.
These nationalists in government have been wrong over and over again, yet somehow we just seem to forget about it. Remember "Mission Accomplished"
by President Bush? WMDs? Other times, they use nationalism to mask their own goals. Remember the War on Drugs that began under President Nixon?
"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what
I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with
marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their
homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
- John Ehrlichman, counsel and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs
America Justice Warriors support it all. Where before their actions were more subtle, now they are all over social media.
Patriotism is quite similar to nationalism, but they are not exactly the same - one can be full of pride for the great things our nation has
accomplished, but one must also accept and acknowledge the evils that it has done. Nationalists do not do the latter; they assign American
exceptionalism to the United States and either justify the wrongs or ignore them.
This is where America Justice Warriors have it all wrong: America was already great, but it is also terrible.
It is for that terribleness that people kneel.