Opinion: Independence Day and Performative Nationalism

3 weeks ago 8

July 4th is simply a challenging vacation for a new, reflective America. Should we person amusive and observe independency from Great Britain? Should we resoluteness to bespeak connected what that independency has created?

Today, arsenic fireworks are prepared for an explosive time of patriotic celebration, we bespeak red, white, and blue.

A batch of radical attack patriotism the mode Enron approached accounting – conscionable fell the atrocious stuff, importune everything is large and anticipation cipher notices.

In some instances, they are frauds.

— Nick Francona (@NickFrancona) June 28, 2021

America has a mode of coating its past successful agleam colors and lukewarm hues. One of its favourite tones is simply a passive protestation and rebellion mentality. In the people of creating a thriving, affluent country, American’s rebelled against the British. 

This American Revolution centered astir taxation without practice would lone beryllium the archetypal of galore dances with warfare and revolt. We crafted our Independence Day astir this (yes, watered-down) progression. 

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The state continued its maturation nether manifest destiny, installed a bid of tears, imprisoned Asian Americans, and more. Yes, we fought wars, but the lives we mislaid successful our cities were number groups we lynched. Some would adjacent accidental we proceed lynching to this day. 

Yes, this state has a agelong past of moving forward, highlighting immoderate of the darkest paths. America has been a supplier of information successful the eyes of compatriots and allies. Likewise, determination is simply a simmering information to American resentment for the symptom we origin those we other. 

Performing our nationalism.


In the past fewer years, we person witnessed an ebb and travel truthful unimportant that it near the nationalist spotlight—peaceful protests during sporting events. 

Athletic events heard cries to halt peaceful forms of protests similar kneeling during the nationalist anthem. The activism enactment acted arsenic a turning constituent for conservatives successful the US, who maintained absorption to this ocular exemplary of protest.

However, large leagues responded to this contented by talking to humans. They spoke to radical impacted by constabulary brutality and racism alternatively of eliminating the problem—that problem: playing the nationalist anthem astatine the commencement of sporting events. 

It was unnecessary. 

Other, akin countries don’t play the nationalist anthem. It has wide been criticized arsenic an unnecessary venture. Especially erstwhile we admit the unsightly verses kept it from being our nationalist anthem for 100 years. 

Likewise, standing for the Star-Spangled Banner was examined much arsenic the signifier of protestation reached much nationalist coverage. People pointed to national law, which suggests that everyone should basal and look the flag. 

(As a state with a past of affirmative alteration stemming from protesting against the unjust rule, this whitethorn beryllium the astir baffling to a non-American reader. There are truthful galore blimpish calls to basal for a emblem guaranteeing the close to protestation the flag. Joseph Heller would scoff astatine the simplicity of this Catch-22.)

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Moreover, sporting events involving number groups proceed to endure from akin implicit forms of racism, according to athletes, activists, and experts. 

So what should happen?

Simply put, large organizations tin ever get escaped of the nationalist anthem. It’s performative, distinct, and not astatine each indispensable for a relation to continue. Honoring troops tin beryllium done implicit an announcement, utilizing high-quality graphics, with a infinitesimal of silence, oregon immoderate of a myriad of ways. 

Essentially, the nationalist anthem is not “essential” to immoderate azygous sporting event. Yes, it is thing special: an acknowledgment of the binding thread that made America. However, it is not necessary. The ideology does not extremity erstwhile the opus reaches its last tonic chord. (Or, if you’re Whitney Huston, it’s grandiose emergence to resolution!)

Nor is it, oregon immoderate different enactment of performative patriotism, a motion of a patriotic being.

Protestors stitchery earlier a rally by the right-wing Patriot Prayer radical successful Portland, Oregon, U.S., August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong

Matt Sullivan outlined arsenic overmuch for NBC’s THINK Opinion and Analysis conception earlier today. He said that athletes not showing up was much than capable crushed to tin the exercise. Moreover, Sullivan positions the NBA arsenic a “barometer of taste progress,” changing to conscionable the challenges we face. 

“Where the different American sports leagues accepted millions from the Pentagon for what Republican senators called ‘paid patriotism,’” Sullivan wrote this morning, “basketball banished a racist proprietor and condemned an anti-trans legislature portion welcoming “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts and a cheery player. (The NFL’s archetypal openly cheery progressive subordinate came retired conscionable past month.).”

So, arsenic helium says successful his headline, wherefore not conscionable skip the nationalist anthem? It’s a simple, casual mode to enactment the number communities for whom the Star-Spangled Banner is impervious of pain. This is an casual mode to guarantee that less boycotts occur.

This alteration is an enactment of anti-racism. 

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