As we all know by now, the NFL is experiencing a self-inflicted decimation after enraging much of their fan base. They made the dubious decision to embrace their concussion-addled players’ vaguely defined protests against police brutality, white supremacy, the American flag, the national anthem, and systemic racism, or something like that, whatever, AMERICA IS BAD, LOOK AT ME!
Nobody cares less about sports than I do, but the importance of this episode to the national psyche cannot be denied. Like Hollywood, which once provided pleasant diversions from the demands of life but has become unbearably hostile to its audience, sports have also placed “social justice” above entertainment, and no longer provide viewers an enjoyable refuge from political conflict.
In one way this is disappointing, but it may also be beneficial, because now “normies” are being forced to deal with ugly facts they were once able to ignore.
The problems in the nation are innumerable, but the bottom line is this: America is not United. This has long been true, but it’s been possible for most people to gloss over the fact until recently. Now, we cannot even unite for recreation, the flag, or the anthem. The different views of our national history held by black and white people have, like it or not, become a subject of public discussion.
More people are beginning to question whether the American flag represents people of all races. Some black celebrities and publications are claiming that the American flag only represents white people, prompting some white nationalists to suggest that this provides an opportunity to reclaim the symbols of Americana explicitly for whites. I’ve seen proposals of new flags featuring images & colors that draw from traditional American symbolism that are meant to be icons for the new movement.
As a Southerner, I continue to appreciate the advantages we have over most other American whites. It seems that many of the non-Southern alt-righters, separated by generations from meaningful, cohesive White culture, are going through the process of deciding who they are, and who they mean to be. Do they draw on traditional Americana, or European identity? Which European identity, and from which era? Are they Christian or Pagan?
Southerners for the most part, are not grappling with this. We have a culture. We have a distinctive cuisine, music, and way of speaking. We share a history. We have a connection to the land we inhabit that has persisted for generations. Our ancestors’ bones are beneath the soil, and reminders of their trials and accomplishments are found in buildings, monuments, and the names of our streets and cities. Some of us still drive by, or even live on, fields plowed by our great-great grandparents, and we regularly see landmarks that evoke treasured family stories.
And we have a flag. It’s been stigmatized, sometimes unfairly, and remains one of the most controversial symbols in the country. But it is unmistakably ours.
Unlike most Americans, we have a real historical foundation upon which to build a future, and a living population to do the work that is needed. This is a gift we must not squander.