Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Battle For Patriotism

O.K., it is time for me to spout off a little. An incident occurred on “Cinco de Mayo” (the 5th of May, a Mexican semi-holiday celebrating a victory by Mexican troops over the French in a war between Mexico and France a century ago). 5 students at a High School in Morgan Hill, California went to school wearing tee-shirts with American Flag decorations on them. They were approached during their lunch break by the school’s Vice Principle, Miguel Rodriguez, a distinctly Hispanic last name, and told to turn the tee-shirts inside out to hide the American Flag decorations. The students said “No”. They were sent to the Principles Office where they were told the flags were incendiary and were given the choice of turning the tee-shirts inside out and returning to class, or going home with an “unexcused absence”. Feeling they had been wronged and their rights had been abused, they opted to go home.

Before I go on my little tirade about this, let me start by quoting something to you. It is called the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and is goes like this:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Simply put, that means that we all have a right to express our opinions as long as it is done with peaceful and proper respect. Wearing a tee-shirt decorated with the American Flag while eating your lunch in an American High School is about as peaceful and appropriate as you can get –even if it happens to be on a day on which Mexicans celebrate their heritage. Can you imagine this happening on Saint Patrick’s Day? Hell no.

Now we come to a further incident that demonstrated clearly the hypocrisy of this incident. Shortly after these boys were sent home 200 Hispanic students skipped school and marched through downtown Morgan Hill, California chanting "Si se puede" intermixed with "We want respect," none were banned from school attendance on their return.

Latino parents chimed in and chided the five students (one of which is of Mexican ethnic heritage) saying, "We’re all offended by it." One parent, Teresa Casillas, claimed her Hispanic children were upset by the behavior of the boys wearing the flagged shirts, calling it disrespectful. Yet for all the uproar, there is not an ounce of proof that the boys made any actions of provocation--except wearing the shirts on Cinco De Mayo. One of the Hispanic student protestors summed up the stupidity best, "It's disrespectful to do it on Cinco de Mayo," said Jessica Cortez, a Live Oak sophomore. "They can be a patriot on some other day. Not that specific day."

And so this is what the argument has been reduced to, Americans are no longer allowed to just be proud Americans and display their patriotism because is might offend people who apparently are under the impression that they are Mexican citizens, not Americans.

These militant, belligerent, children of Latinos living in Morgan Hill are exhibiting symptoms of a problem that is widespread. Raw naked entitlement that not only flouts the laws, but has now led to the limiting of the most legitimate expression whose freedom should always be protected: patriotism.

It was bad enough that the Obama administration went on a systematic campaign to discredit the recent right of the state of Arizona to reinforce federal guidelines for immigration. It was bad enough that the lies were widely told, and never retracted by news agencies that should have known better. It was worse when tens of thousands of illegal aliens marched on downtown streets in Arizona to demand socialized redistribution of rights to those who are not citizens and who disrespect the laws of our nation.

Don’t get me wrong. I usually support immigration and sympathize with all people who wish to get to America. After all, if they want to come here, change their national identity, and support the values of our nation, then they should in fact be ideal candidates for American citizenship. But there is nothing unconstitutional, unlawful, immoral, or even unkind about asking those who come to walk to the gate, identify who they are, and state the lawful basis they have for coming into America.

The actions of the 200 students of Morgan Hill marching on the streets of their village though repulsive in its intent, is a constitutionally protected expression. So were the actions of five students, at least one of who whom is of Hispanic descent, to wear American Flag shirts, shorts, caps, and sneakers if they want to.

In my opinion, Assistant Principal Rodriguez should be fired from Live Oak High School. The school board could do so easily and if they needed to be politically correct about what they call it, merely label it a permanent unexcused absence.

There is nothing wrong with the expression of American pride by the display of the American Flag. If these boys had gathered and burned the flag, their right to do it would have been recognized and protected; their right to simply wear the flag should be equally protected and, in my opinion, applauded.

Today's Fun Picture

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