Sorry, Mr. Key, Our Flag Is Not Still There

By | November 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

Federal judge upholds school officials who banned American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, because they might cause “a substantial disruption.”
News item

Federal judges are well known for upholding free-speech rights. For example, a judge blocked school officials from preventing boys from wearing T-shirts labeled “Big Pecker.” Clearly, judges tend to uphold the First Amendment, even when the “speech” has nothing to do with politics and is arguably obscene.
But the judges’ devotion to free expression has limits. Even the dedication of the ACLU to the First Amendment has exceptions. When it comes to expressing religious or patriotic sentiments, we’re on our own.
Five students at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California were threatened with suspension and sent home. Did they curse their teacher? Did they carry weapons? Did they wear their pants down around their knees? Did they wear T-shirts glorifying mass-murderer Ché Guevara?
No, they wore T-shirts showing the American flag. But they did this on Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla, in which Mexicans defeated the invading French in 1862. Of course, the ACLU, which defended students’ “right” to wear T-shirts proclaiming “big pecker,” said nothing.
A Latino − excuse me, Latina − student declared, “I think they should apologize ’cause it is a Mexican heritage day. We don’t deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn’t do that on Fourth of July.” Her knowledge of her Mexican heritage does not include the fact that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16, not May 5.
“Multiculturalism” does not mean actual knowledge of other cultures or languages − or even of one’s own. It means trashing American values.
Later, about 200 Hispanic students walked out of class, waving Mexican flags and demanding “respect and unity.” Respect for what − narcissism and ingratitude? Unity with whom − people whose primary loyalty is to a foreign nation?
The students acted as if they were not Mexican Americans, but Mexicans living in what is temporarily America. They were taught that immigrants need not adapt to their new nation, but the nation must adapt to them. This reverses the philosophy of the public schools, which for over a century successfully Americanized the children of immigrants. But no more. Now we are not Americanizing our own children, much less the children of immigrants.
Demonstrators carried signs saying “si se puede,” which they believed means “Yes we can.” But that would be “sí se puede,” with the accent over the “í.” Without the accent, it means “If we can.” Perhaps they could if they were literate in at least one language. But with bilingual education, that may be too much to ask.
Administrators claimed the American-flag shirts were “incendiary.” Really? Who wanted to burn them? If wearing a representation of the American flag in America causes trouble, who should be disciplined − the wearers, or the troublemakers? Note that this was not the action of an isolated teacher or principal. It was the action of a whole school system, endorsed by a federal court. It betrays a systemic problem.
If the school insisted on observing Cinco de Mayo, it could have allowed students to display both American and Mexican flags. Isn’t the object to show that one can appreciate a foreign heritage and still be a loyal American? Oh wait, maybe that isn’t the object.
In an effort not to produce super-patriots, “educators” try to produce no patriots at all. We saw the danger of chauvinism in Nazism, and we see it now in radical Islam. But if one extreme is bad, this does not mean that the opposite extreme is good. Too much water can cause drowning, but lack of water can also be fatal.
What if our enemies remain fanatically certain that their religion and their nation are the best, while we belittle our religion and scorn our homeland? Our enemies will grow stronger, while we become weaker.
Raging chauvinists attack us and murder thousands, while we are upset by a flag on a T-shirt. Is that the way to ensure the survival of freedom? Homicidal fanatics crash airliners into office towers, while we are distressed by the mere mention of God at a graduation. Is that the way to guarantee the continuation of tolerance?
Over-emphasis of danger on one side leads to ignoring danger on the other. Even the most timid person isn’t afraid of everything. Even the most paranoid person can’t be on “red alert” all the time. We are selective in what we fear.
● What about those who run to court when “God bless the senior class” is said at graduations, but who were coldly indifferent when 84 people – including 26 children who were by definition innocent hostages – were gassed and burned to death at Waco? Somehow that wasn’t troubling.
Those who ignored the rights of an unpopular Christian cult are in a poor position to yell about the rights of extremist Muslims.
● What about those who forbid Christmas programs in schools, though attendance is voluntary, but who see nothing wrong with forcing seventh-grade students to pretend to be Muslims and take Muslim names?
Those who exclude the great majority of Americans who identify themselves as Christians are in a poor position to claim to be “inclusive.”
● What about those who removed “So help me God” from the oath for police officers, but who complain bitterly about alleged police misconduct?
Those who erase the idea of the Almighty are in a poor position to complain when those in power owe their only allegiance to the state.
● What about those who claim to have “zero tolerance” for bullies in schools, but who force everyone to conform to their desires in regard to flags, graduation speeches, Christmas programs, and political opinions?
Those who bully are in a poor position to condemn bullying.
● What about those who observe Flag Day by having students march with the flags of the nations from which their ancestors came?
Those who honor the nations people left because of lack of education, lack of opportunity, the class system, and racial and religious persecution are in a poor position to claim to be for the “little guy.”
● What about those who whine about mistreatment of suspected terrorists, but who applauded when black-masked thugs pointed submachine guns at innocent civilians and forcibly returned Elian Gonzalez to Castro’s socialist “paradise” in Cuba?
Those who express more sympathy for suspected terrorists than for a terrified six-year-old are in a poor position to claim to be “compassionate.”
● What about those who complain about mistreatment of Al Qaeda detainees, and call the prison at Guantanamo a “concentration camp”? They are unable to distinguish a prison from a death camp, or terrorists from minorities on their way to gas chambers.
Those who cannot see obvious moral differences are in a poor position to claim the moral high ground.
● What about those Democrats who express more fear of Tea Partiers than of dangerous megalomaniacs like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-il?
Those who cross the line from the foolish to the irrational are in a poor position to advise us on anything at all.
Ethnic pride can be perfectly compatible with pride in America. For example, listen to “The Ballad of Mike Moran.” And look at the casualty lists from Iraq and Afghanistan − note all the Latino names. It depends on whether young people are brought up to be grateful for the opportunities they have been given, or to be narcissistic ingrates who always feel entitled to more.
Some people view America as their homeland, to which they owe undivided loyalty. Other people view it as merely the place they happen to be living at present. But still others view America as a piñata, and they intend to keep hitting it as hard as they can until they receive all the goodies to which they feel entitled.

Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

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