Saturday, July 04, 2015

My bike's colors don't run (after the paint dries).

Happy Nationalism themed holiday.
My Tall Bike Behemoth is red white and blue because I love my country.
I like when folks notice.
Yesterday I was thrilled when I passed an elderly
gentleman who looked South East Asian. He was really old but his eyes lit up and he attempted to jump  only managing to feign a little jump dance.
His hat was bristling with gold embroidery, pins and insignia I recognize to be
that of a military vet. The people around him seemed to hold him in high regard too.
He was smiling big and yelling "Coo bike"!as I was thinking the same about him. "Cool human". Was he a Philippine army Ranger, maybe a Korean war era, navy man? His whole identity cried out "fought for this country".  I was stoked to make him smile.
That just happened.
I always have to for the old guys. I hang out with a lot of them.
It's a great country, one with lots of contrasts and splendors, tons of irony and humor.
One of the funniest things I can think of is a truck leaving a Walmart parking lot after buying a couple of flags. A United States flag and a Confederate battle flag. They just paid China to strut two flags on a truck (made in Venezuela running on Saudi petrol), that either Civil War army would have puked to behold flown together.
A federalist flag and the flag of an armed insurrection against it don't actually go together, not then anyway. Maybe they do now but that just points to the fact that the flag means different things in different times and to different people. The Walmart flag is more universal than the Stars and Stripes unfortunately. That is a hideous fact.
I'm leery and weary of flag zealotry. Loving your country is great but defining yourself by an unrealistic ideal is folly. Defining your actions by an AM radio commentator is a disaster. You deserve better than that. We deserve better than that. Don't let them train you to vote against your best interests.
Like racism, Nationalism is largely an illusion because all Americans don't have the same experience. Not everyone of the same race has the same shake, the country works like that as well. We are united more by class, neighborhoods, products and sport than skin complexion and flag waving. It's a sucker bet.
It makes us so vulnerable as a country (or I wouldn't care). Ever notice that folks who accomplish a lot of stuff and find happiness usually just own themselves. Folks who may not have a lot of luck, breaks, identity tend to latch on to something bigger and greater to identify with. Like race, nationalism and religion.
That is cheating themselves out of a natural life and annoying the hell out of the rest of us.
Government uses nationalism as a cheap, easy trick to manipulate people. I know all about that stuff because I'm a Carnie. I can read people and situations like a book...a book of "tells".  It's easy to appeal to someone's supposed superiority and eagerness to dehumanize and judge others (U_S_A,!).
I would love to tell the creators of the flag how and why it got to Iraq.
 To natives the flag was all about ethnic cleansing, stripping of culture, slavery, human warehousing. A lots of reg-a-ler Merakins, don't actually know much history so it's hard to relate from the perspective of the megachurch that not everyone that loves the country is totally hip to the flag.
That flag is very scary to a lot of Americans. Much of the flag history is tied to slavery then, corporate dominance now. It also meant a lot when it was planted on the moon and when it came into the ww2 in the third quarter to seal the deal vs. Germany. I'm not a hater.
So this is what I'm doing on Country day: Same as always. I'm questioning everything. What good is it to recycle when the metal returns as a polluting vehicle or tool. I want to know where everything comes from and where it goes. I will continue to be a citizen- first responder , a citizen reporter, a vigilante and a clown pirate gypsy, I will help my countryfolk whenever I can and do my best to promote balance in every way. Rock on U.S.A.

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