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July 2002

Patriotic Hate Crimes
By Frank Scott

"To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely."
-Edmund Burke

This is the season of patriots, some who love their country and all its people, and others who wave their flags when it fights wars, but hide their wallets when it collects taxes. These false patriots love our symbols, but hate our government. Their bipolar disorder are part of a warped patriotism based on laws that express nationality, but at the expense of morality.

Many who once thought racial profiling was wrong , because it profiled them, now see it as patriotic, because it profiles "them." Many who find peace an admirable word, also find it a distressing deed, since it means changing the way we treat the world. They can speak of peace and practice war, without stammering or blinking.

Despite much material and psychological poverty, we are a rich and powerful nation. We remain so on a foundation of double standards in morality and law. These make warfare and hatred acceptable practices, provided they are performed according to "civilized" legal standards.

Smear bodies all over the wallpaper in a bombing raid conducted by a professional air force, and you have medals awarded and thousands cheering in heroic parades. That's if you win the war. But lose a war and you could be put on trial for doing the same thing. And do it without an air force, as an unprofessional volunteer, and you are an evil terrorist .

The first kind of mass murder is okay, because civilized people-with a now racially and sexually integrated board of directors-created rules on how to blast innocent people's brains out in a politically correct way, and slaughter thousands in a civilized, nationally sanctioned war.

But the second kind of mass murder, committed by professionals who lose a war, or volunteers who can't afford to declare one, warrants prosecution by "international" tribunals. Lesson? If you're going to commit mass murder, do it the legal way, which means; have more weapons, kill more people, and win.

Then there are patriotic laws that make hatred wrong, but only under certain circumstances, among certain groups. If you murder people by the thousands, and win, you have legal war. If you lose, you have war crimes. If you hate people and do it with legal backing, it's okay; if you don't have that power, then, like war, your hate can be criminal. Wave the flag, salute the law, and degrade the constitution .

If we lived our moral teachings instead of just repeating them in rituals, we might love one another and end hate, but are you kidding? Hate is as American as shopping malls, and an important way to denigrate certain humans, as rationale for anti-social economics. But civilization allows for a proper way to hate people. So, just as the horror of war can be legal, If you practice politically correct hate, you may legally degrade humans. But if you express hate in a politically incorrect way, see you in court.

Want to finance the dehumanization of a people, deport or confine them to refugee camps, send them scurrying for cover when your client regime destroys their homes while seeking out their bad guys? No problem, if they are the Palestinians. But write "screw Arabs" on a mosque wall, and you might be prosecuted, or sent to tolerance classes to learn the proper way to treat people like scum, and get away with it.

We are not to speak words of hatred , sometimes, but acts of hatred are okay, at other times. Black men are regularly beaten, shot and often killed by white police officers, but save for an occasional riot, such crimes are treated as part of the nation's historic fabric of slavery and racism . But paint some nasty graffiti on a synagogue door, and congress may pass a resolution condemning "hate speech." Not having to hear people speak unkindly of you is often more important than not having people kill you, but such is the rule of double standard law.

War patriots can wave their flags while hiding their wallets, and racist hatred can remain just under the private surface, but hang out in plain public view. These are standards of patriotic hypocrisy whose enforcement and perpetuation make it nearly impossible to achieve patriotic democracy.

Our regime makes laws to protect us from terror, but actually assaults our dwindling freedoms. It waves the flag with one hand, while defacing the constitution with the other. It creates new institutions to fight terrorism, but all its intelligence terrorism would be unnecessary if we simply changed the way we treated people.

We aren't feared and despised because we don't have enough patriotic laws against terror, hate and war, but because we have too many patriotic laws that promote terror, hate and war.

Citizens, terrified by propaganda which discovers new terrorist plots every week, will support repressive laws to fight regressive evils. These laws sometimes help individuals, but mostly they create work for lawyers and courts, while changing nothing of substance about a system based on a morally corrupt and economically biased interpretation of law.

The mass murders of war and the inhumanities of hate are legally sanctioned national policy. They deserve anything but our patriotic love. Without changing the political economics that thrive on this legal axis of evil, we might as well spit into the wind as support laws against only some kinds of war, and some kinds of hate. The breeze that waves our flag may also blow that saliva back at us, and spitting in our own faces is hardly the way to love our country. We can truly celebrate our independence, but only after we free ourselves of a false patriotism that tolerates immoral laws. Then, we might have a lovely country.

 

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