Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freedom Isn't Free, In Fact It Costs a Buck o' Five

As you may have gleaned from the previous column, I enjoyed my trip to Washington, DC and the soccer game I attended there. There was one small detail that bothered me whilst I sat in my seat and viewed the action. The constant robotic chants of USA, USA, USA! Don't get me wrong, although I do have some socialist leanings (like my support for the Neo-Marxist Obama), I was rooting for the American side with one hundred and thirty four percent of my being. I thank God, Allah, Zeus, the mother goddess, and 7000 Hindu deities every single day that I was lucky enough to be born in the good ole USA.
Nevertheless, I was unable to join in with any fervor when the crowd began the endless repetitions of our country's name. Maybe I was just unused to the spectacle since I had never attended a national team game of any kind before. Who knows? The possibility could exist that I am just a traitorous liberal surrender monkey as our "patriotic" 24 hour news network would no doubt describe me. Although in order to keep my sanity I continue to doubt every word I hear spoken on Faux News.
The chanting and screaming just makes me think too much of the mindless nationalism that is sometimes foisted upon the American people. We are given slogans and songs and told to be proud of who we are. I like singing as much as the next guy (much to the regret of those unlucky enough to listen to my warbling), but words are no substitute for solutions and we as a nation are currently suffering from many serious problems that cannot be fixed so easily. Our response to 9/11 was to start singing "God Bless America" at baseball and football games.
Despite my misgivings, a part of me wanted to scream along with everyone and be part of the fun. We were seated on the side of the field opposite of Sam's Army, the official US soccer supporters group. They were having fun - singing, dancing, waving flags, beating drums, and yes, chanting USA. Given my druthers, I would have been right there next to them.
-Post interruption-
My friend and fellow blogger Robert has made a good point that made me stop in my tracks. Since I didn't seem to be in any way organized or have any special destination with this rant, I think we can all thank God for that. Roberto points out in his article about Saturday's match that the stands were filled with the kind of diversity you rarely see at events in America. The people shouting USA were not a lily-white group of Hitlerites, but a rainbow of fruit flavors representing each part of our various cultures. If a soccer game can bring about that kind of solidarity in our country, there surely can't be any reason not be proud to shout our nation's name in praise and in thanks. There aren't many other places on Earth where such a peaceful gathering could take place.

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