Kyle Hayden, Guest Columnist

This week I saw a video of a man burning and shooting (with a gun) a Pan-African flag.

People have been burning the jersey of Colin Kapernik, an NFL quarterback, who has been protesting the National Anthem
by kneeling to draw attention to social justice issues and the deaths of unarmed black youth and adults.

Let’s then take a look at another symbol of American politics we can see floating around town:
the Gadsden flag or the “Tea Party” flag.

Could it possibly be a symbol of inter-community solidarity and generosity?

Or could it be a signifier of the struggles of revolutionaries against an authoritarian government trying its best to extract wealth and resources from a “newly discovered” continent?

No!

Bros and piss-beer addicts throughout the Mile Square have appropriated it.

They don’t even know how to properly display a flag (hint: it’s
not a curtain).

Also, if you’re going to buy it on Amazon so that when it arrives folded up and creased from being produced in a factory in Cambodia and shipped across the planet in a cargo container, at least iron it or put it in a dryer (do you do your own laundry?) for ten minutes to get rid of the unsightly creases.

That’s just lazy flag care and I thought y’all were for hard work?

I walk by at least 6 of these fucking flags every day on my way to class and the library.

That’s right, I go to the library voluntarily. I don’t even use the computers.

The flags sit in fraternity house windows, in the windows of houses with trammeled, littered lawns and in the back of pick-up trucks (yes, I have your plate number memorized).

I get it: you’re independent. You want sovereignty.

Hold on! If you rent a house in Oxford and go to Miami University you have by definition given up your will to a (public) government institution for 4 years at least, regardless of whether you are here on loan or not.

You have lots of money and opportunities and what else? You hate affirmative action, claiming it’s somehow discriminatory but this posture altogether discounts the centuries of literal and physical economic oppression faced by black folks or indigenous peoples.

When it comes to the prevalence of social issues they assume everyone has been born into the world with the same advantages and privileges they were afforded. If they don’t acknowledge this — and admittedly it is a pretty complex thought — they think the system is working just fine and it IS working just fine — for them.

Hangers of the Tea Party flag (formerly known as the Gadsden flag, named after some lesser-known slave owner involved in the American Revolution) believe in “economic freedom.” When we encode it, this really indicates the freedom to exploit and subjugate others in order to attain more wealth.

Rather than seeking a steady-state economy based on ecological principles, the typical “DONT TREAD ON ME” robot wants to continue the perpetual growth paradigm of national and global economies.

It ain’t right.

The Tea Party doesn’t like the forces of “big government” except when this government works in cooperation with the IMF or World Bank to offer debt adjustments to foreign countries and open up their economies to private capital investment from companies they want to work for in the future.

It wants a “debt-free future” but somehow concludes the best place to start would be in education and healthcare. Don’t dare cut the military budget (because those boys and girls are protecting your assets!) that accounts for over 50% of the federal discretionary budget.

Just as the coalition poisoned and starved the people of Iraq into submission for years before troops came to occupy the country, Tea Partiers would like to bring the action home! Austerity measures for the millions already living in food insecurity — that’s about 50 million people in the U.S.

Note that Dayton, OH has on a typical day 1000 homeless people out of a total population of 143,000. Now, Montreal, Quebec has a population of 1.65 Million and a homeless population of about 1000 on any given day. Dayton’s homeless population is therefore 10 times bigger (in proportional terms) than Montreal’s. Why is that?

“The government is corrupted by corporations, so just let the corporations govern!”

It’s all a curdled mess. The politics of nothingness, the cynical politics of selfishness have no place (that is, if you want to continue have a country of this size) in a democracy of our size.

Comments