I've been putting off writing this editorial because I'm not sure how to express the way I feel without rubbing the readers the wrong way. Normally I don't care about whom finds my rants abrasive, but this time I'm dealing with a much more sensitive subject. And for me to react that way, well, it must be something that is buried deep under my skin. Itís a response to the events of 9/11. I'm sure it will soon be a government holiday and not one that Hallmark can capitalize on. However it seems that a lot of Americans are capitalizing on the benefits of the American Dream, our freedoms, and pursuit of happiness. For example the sudden increase in the sale of American Flags.
I was in New York City for the first time in my life on Labor Day Weekend. I had a great time. Stayed in the trendy Soho Grand, ate at some of the finest restaurants in Soho and the Village, and drank at the rowdiest biker bars in Manhattan. I found the people very friendly and fun, unlike the attitude of the uptight Midwesterners who instead of seizing the day, wait for opportunity to seize them.
A week after I got back to Chicago, Ďshit hit the faní I couldn't believe what I was seeing as the development unraveled right before my eyes and the eyes of the world of television. The city that seduced me just one week before was literally falling to pieces.
All this time my intentions were to write about keeping my memories of New York pleasant. Remembering what I indulged in rather than the rubble of what is now known as "ground zero". But something else was happening that sickened me. At first it seemed like a great and overdue idea, expressing patriotism. Everywhere I looked was the American Flag, Old Glory, the Red White and Blue symbol of our freedom, pride, and independence. Suddenly what began to trouble me had all dawned upon me.
Just prior to my trip to NYC I had moved from Humboldt Park to Lincoln Park. For those unfamiliar with Humboldt Park it is the Puerto Rican neighborhood of Chicago. When you enter and exit Humboldt Park on West Division Street the asphalt is sprawled over by huge steel Puerto Rican flags. The residents are 24-7 boasting PR pride by displaying flags on their cars, in their windows and on their persons. The people are very proud of their heritage and independence. Yet just over the past 2 decades I have witnessed as we have taken the Pledge of Allegiance out of our schools, and even gone as far as to make it lawful to burn the American Flag. The Freedom of Speech is constantly being challenged in our legal system, and we feed the world as we let our own people starve and suffer. Yet after 9/11 it almost seems that everyone is suddenly hit with a wave of feeling patriotic. And finally buying American Flags and singing the Star Spangled Banner. It wasn't that long ago that our country was going as far as to remove the National Anthem from public events. Whatís wrong America???? Prior to the events of 9/11 I barely recall seeing my fellow Americans boasting the pride they now so proudly seem to display.
I see people jumping on the bandwagon as usual. Now much like the Gap ads that say "Everyone in leather", and abracadabra a bunch of main streamers go about trying to look cool in a fashion not too long ago only sported by bikers, rockers, and gays. (I recently attended an event and there were old women trying to recapture the style that escaped them by dressing in sagging leather pants. There is something very wrong with that picture.) It has recently become trendy to be proud to be an American. I see red white and blue sweaters and T-shirts where before it was fucking fleece and any other cookie cutter fashion of the moment that some magazine told you that itís "the in thing". These people should have always felt the pride to be living in America, to sport Stars and Stripes. FOREVER. But over the last 2 decades you made the flag nothing more than a piece of history symbolizing, nothing. But now, be a patriot, itís "the in thing to do".
Two weeks ago I flew to Las Vegas for the first time. They thanked us for being brave for flying, for being tourists and called us heroes. The real heroes were the firemen who went into the Trade Towers to save lives and attempt to preserve the structure. In Las Vegas tourism has suffered. Hundreds if not thousands of people are unemployed due to the domino effect of 9/11. Itís in the papers and on the news. Yet they want to call my girlfriend and me heroes. I don't think so.
Independence. What does it mean to you? Letís examine the word. Independent. Being an individual. But those who dare to march to the beat of a different drummer are continuously and repeatedly singled out and outcast. I declare my independence everyday by letting my freak flag fly, but not a day passes that some mainstream trendroid judges my book by its cover. Certain folks say that my move uptown is an improvement. Don't get me wrong, I like living in Lincoln Park, but it doesn't make me a better person than I was when I lived in Humboldt. I'm the same guy. I'm an American, and in many ways a freedom fighter. I have been for 2 decades now, fighting for the freedom of expression. I don't have to wear red white and blue to be a patriot, neither does Jello Biafra, or Angsto The Clown, and neither do you. Itís in your heart and mind. If you do it to show your support keep it up, I respect that. Chances are you've been a patriot all along. But if you're just another sheep, following the herd, well, you're no different than those who stand by and watch innocent
people get victimized while doing nothing about it. Shame on you for not being a good American all along. So as far as I'm concerned for those people it is too late. (I wholeheartedly doubt that anybody who is looking at MK ULTRA Online fits those criteria)
I just want to say one thing in closing. I believe that if the Republicans didn't steal the election we might not be in this current situation. Now heís used it as a way to, legally, look at our e-mail, our mail, tap our phones, and literally invade our privacy. (Not like they haven't been doing it all along.) Maybe you say, I don't have anything to hide. Fine, feel that way, but watch what will happen to a free society when they want to control what we read, see, think and hear. Hell, there is already a monopoly on the media.
A truly free society would neither fear nor suppress the freedom of expression. Nor would they attempt to control it. Think for yourself. Don't let your government do that for you.
An independent and proud American