Rally ’round the flag … 1

As long as it’s not theirs!

Mexicans and Mexican-Americans protesting restrictive immigration bills in the southwest states and in Congress have been waving US and — gasp! — Mexican flags. Conservative windbags, like Lou Dobbs and U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Jr., R-Va., have jumped at the chance to show their prejudices and say the Mexican flag wavers should go home if they love their country so much.

While none of the anti-Mexican windbags have accused immigrants from the south of being terrorists or “Fifth Columnists” …  yet … it seems clear that in their minds Mexico is not quite on a par with, say, Ireland. The Irish flag, after all, comes out of the closet in droves on St. Patrick’s Day, and no one is suggesting the Irish go home. (Well, at least, not since the 1840s or so …)

Three of my grandparents emigrated from Sweden around 1900. I don’t have a Swedish flag flying in my home, but to correct that omission, here it is: Sverige flagga

When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to Vasa order lodge meetings. My grandmother used to be a Vasa lodge officer of some kind. There was a lot of Swedish food, people dancing the polka and schottische, and Swedish flags. I’ll bet there were even photos of the King up, though I was too small to remember.

So, should the government have deported the Vasa members for waving a foreign flag? Were the Swedes celebrating their heritage or undermining the “American Way” somehow?

Waving the flag of your or your ancestors’ birthplace says nothing about your loyalty to the USA. It is a statement of your ethnic pride, a recognition that you have roots elsewhere, as most of us do here in the US.

Were the flags being waved in these protests Canadian or the flag-wavers’ skin color been a tad more pale, I doubt the conservative windbags would be suggesting the protesters be shipped home. It’s prejudice, plain and simple, and that attitude will backfire. Many of those flagwavers can vote here, and if they can’t, I bet they know someone who can.

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One comment on “Rally ’round the flag …

  1. Reply wheatdogg Apr 4,2006 12:11 am

    To an extent, I agree with you on the illegal alien thing. My people came here legally, but then it was hard to sneak across an ocean! The illegal s come here for economic reasons, much as my grandparents did. The US is the land of plenty. I see a lot of Mexicans here in Louisville now, more than were here 20 years ago. Some are entire families, and I suspect are legals. One family I know runs a couple of Burger King franchises. Some are, well, who knows if they’re legal. They’re usually men, and I see them at the supermarket sending money by Western Union back home. That money, from what I’ve read, makes a big difference for their families.

    And lest we forget, it’s not just Mexicans. There are a lot of Chinese and other Asians here illegally, too. Some are smuggled in. Some are students who just fade into the crowd.

    They come because they can get jobs. If they couldn’t get jobs, maybe they’d stay home. Making their presence a felony, as the US House has proposed and I think your own state’s legislature has passed, is a step in the wrong direction. We need to cut the demand off at the source, not try to stem the supply.

    I heard about the flag brouhaha. The superintendent is overreacting, like every other school super I’ve read about recently. How do they recite the Pledge? Do they picture the flag in their minds? Do the high schools have JROTC? Do the cadets have to cover their insignia? I agree, it’s nuts.

    Thanks for commenting.

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