So the big May Day protest has come and gone… and somehow we're not all standing in the rubble of our economy…
The protest was basically a disappointment for it's supporters. One of the reasons for this was the over-hyping of the event in the media – a million people doesn't seem like much if you were promised 10 million. Another was the abundance of such protests as of late – making this one seem like an "also ran". The biggest reason the mass protest has backfired is really the tone or intent of this protest. Yelling with signs and bad slogans has always been allowed, if ignored, in this country and the most ignorant of all protesters always end up on the news. It is quite another thing to have as a STATED purpose of your rally to hurt America economically or otherwise. We Americans tend to frown on such things.
Though it comes as no surprise that the economic impact of the "boycott" was minimal. Just like the ridiculous emails that try to setup "don't buy gas days" to stick it to Big Oil, one day boycotts are useless. You're just going to buy the products the day before or after the boycott – so how are you "flexing your economic muscles"? That's like sticking it to the Telecoms by paying your phone bill a day late: ooooooooooh, scary.
And I've got to talk about the flags, because they ARE important. A lot of people are upset about all the non-US flags they keep seeing at these rallies — and with good reason. Despite organizers attempts to pass out the stars and stripes, protesters keep missing the point. Why because what the protesters want and what the organizers claim they want are two different things. For all organizers talk of poor immigrants rights to become Americans, most protesters don't want to be Americans they want the RIGHTS of an American without that troubling part about -uhm- becoming an American. Legal immigrants wait for years, plough through mountains of bureaucracy to follow the law, and learn about the great USA – it's history, flag, national athem (the real one)… Then they swear allegience to our country and become naturalized citizens. They then become positive and welcome additions to our country. Illegals haven't done any of these things and most of them have no interest in ever doing them. No they just want American jobs, health care, social security, and even VOTING RIGHTS. All the while staying loyal to the country of their origin.
It's all in the flags. The flag is "a symbol of national or other allegiance". In this case, the flags carried are obiliously national in allegiance even if those national rememberences are idealized. I mean if their country was so great, why did they come here? This allegence to another nation can not stand if we are to survive as a nation. If the people in America aren't pro-America…. we have a problem.
To underscore this point, I want to contrast national allegence with cultural identity. For instance, the Irish, in general, love to drink Guinness. It's a part of the country that they brought here. And while I'll stick to their cider, I welcome their additions. We have sushi bars springing up around the country as part of a new food craze. These are examples of other cultures bringing their spice to the great American stew. Thats great! The point is you get to add your piece of the puzzle not remake the whole picture. There is a big difference between "Chinatown" and thousands of protesters waving the Chinese flag and chanting "China, China…" One is the quiet integration of China into America the other looks like the desire for revolution.