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Shut up and sing

The Star Spangled Banner – an early draft.

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. I read David Brooks, and must share it with you.


This column is directed at all the high school football players around the country who are pulling a Kaepernick — kneeling during their pregame national anthems to protest systemic racism. I’m going to try to persuade you that what you’re doing is extremely counterproductive.

I won’t say that no high school football players who are protesting racism read David Brooks. The kids of today have always been into all sorts of freaky stuff. However, I do think it is interesting that he decides to pretend he is addressing kids rather than adults. It could be an attempt to turn up the Concern without seeming such a condescending tool. (Unlikely, I know.) It’s far more likely that it’s a combination of chickenshittery and the RWs unhealthy obsession with minors. But there’s more. So much more.


When Europeans first settled this continent they had two big thoughts.

Let’s not bicker and argue about ‘o killed ‘o.

The first was that God had called them to create a good and just society on this continent.

The second was they needed lots of slaves to build it?

The second was that they were screwing it up.

But of course a man who can ignore the fate of thriving and diverse nations doesn’t hlower himself to mention slavery. He uses the word racism in the lede and he probably had to grit his teeth to do that. Discrimination? Forget it Jake. Protest is also confined to the lede because this is a column titled The Uses of Patriotism. To the Brooks of the nation – and I wish there were only one of him – patriotism is a series rituals that are supposed to make everyone feel good. (Hence “civic religion.”) And if an individual doesn’t feel good, that’s his problem.

He does get a little Good Negro/Bad Negro action in there.

Martin Luther King Jr. sang the national anthem before his “I Have a Dream” speech and then quoted the Declaration of Independence within it.

(Once more for the Teddy Bear Doc. King fetishists.)

Critics like Ta-Nehisi Coates have arisen, arguing that the American reality is so far from the American creed as to negate the value of the whole thing.

Who does Coates think he is, an European colonist?

Some more wanking because no matter who Brooks says he’s addressing, he’s really talking to himself and his fellow travelers.

When we sing the national anthem, we’re not commenting on the state of America. We’re fortifying our foundational creed. We’re expressing gratitude for our ancestors and what they left us.

Drear Sir,

Some of my ancestors left structural racism and patriarchy and to be quite honest, they just aren’t me. Is there a place where I may trade these items for something more useful, such as a glass hammer or a rubber crutch?

We’re expressing commitment to the nation’s ideals, which we have not yet fulfilled.

See? Protest during the National Anthem is inappropriate because the purpose of the National Anthem is to say We’ll get to it, one of these days. (Updated daily, naturellement.)

Finally, Brooks arrives where anyone could guess he was heading.

If we don’t transmit that creed through shared displays of reverence we will have lost the idea system that has always motivated reform. We will lose the sense that we’re all in this together. We’ll lose the sense of shared loyalty to ideas bigger and more transcendent than our own short lives.

If these common rituals are insulted, other people won’t be motivated to right your injustices because they’ll be less likely to feel that you are part of their story. People will become strangers to one another and will interact in cold instrumentalist terms.

That’s a lot of words to say We’ll give you something to cry about if you don’t sing the first verse of this song about that time the British came over here, created many employment opportunities for builders, carpenters, brick layers, painters and so on in and around D.C. and didn’t take Baltimore. And the American flag.

As a display of how privilege works, it doesn’t get much better than when the Brooks of America admit that they are violent, dimwitted tyrants who will turn on non-whites for any reason or none and stop right there. They’d cut off their feet if that’s what it took to keep them from stumbling upon the realization that this makes them horrible human beings who are in need of major repairs. Helluva drug and all that.

Rather than realize how foul he is and vomit all down his crisply pressed Oxford shirt, Brooks sticks to the script.

You will strengthen Donald Trump’s ethnic nationalism, which erects barriers between Americans and which is the dark opposite of America’s traditional universal nationalism.

If African-Americans protest racism they will cause “ethnic nationalism” a term that shows Brooks’ commitment to ignoring what people are protesting, any sort of historical context for said protest and being a vicious tool.

As an aside, does anyone think this daft fucker knows why Dr. King gave his I Have a Dream speech? I hope not.

I hear you when you say you are unhappy with the way things are going in America.

And this vexes Mr. Brooks who who knows blacks should be seen and not heard, unless they’re singing.

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