Thursday, March 12, 2015

UC Irvine Reacts to the Flag Controversy

This piece originally appeared in Eagle Rising.

This past week national attention has been directed to the University of California at Irvine, where I have taught part-time since 1998. The issue revolves around a vote by the student government (ASUCI) to remove the American flag from their work space after some students complained that it was "exclusive" (more about that later.) After national attention embarrassed the entire university, the ASUCI called an emergency session over the weekend to reverse the decision.

This week's campus paper, The New University, has many articles and op-eds devoted to the issue.

I plan to jump into the reader discussion of New University and perhaps send in  a piece with a request that they publish it in their print edition. It will go something like this:

While I appreciate the expressions in NU disagreeing with the take down of the flag, I don't agree with the efforts to acknowledge the sentiments of those who wanted to take it down. Are we really to take down our flag because it makes DREAMers uncomfortable? (DREAMers is the silly name given to students who are in the country illegally, many of whom were brought here by their families as small children.) In addition, are we to take down our flag because it makes foreign students uncomfortable? I don't believe for a minute that even a significant number of students at UCI want the flag removed. Nor do I put the primary blame on the students who voted to take the flag down. I blame the leftist professors in academia who poison the minds of our students into believing that America is an evil country-which it is not.

I have lived in three other countries a total of 11 years. Never did the sight of their flags make me feel uncomfortable or excluded. I never expected them to remove their flags from my sight. In short, the above two arguments are absurd on their face.

As to the darker chapters in our history, we freely acknowledge the crimes of slavery and segregation and have eliminated them. America has not been perfect, nor are we perfect now because we are a nation of human beings. Yet, we are the greatest and freest country in the world, and have no reason to be ashamed of our flag or apologize for it. Were it not for that flag and the country it represents, I dare say no country would be living in freedom today.

If I may brush off that old refrain in my own words, if anybody here is uncomfortable with the American flag, find a country with a flag that suits you better.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

The notion that it "makes Dreamers uncomfortable" sounds like the sort of thing native-born middle class self-consciously "white" declasse radicals would come up with. Those who have had the name "Dreamers" bestowed on them are people anxiously seeking to take an oath giving allegiance to that very flag, the only one they have known most of their lives.

elwood p suggins said...

I guess I am one of those native-born middle class self-consciously "white" declasse radicals Siarlys mentioned, and just didn't know it until now.

Is the flag these illegals are anxiously seeking the opportunity to take an oath of allegiance to the same flag that Siarlys, presumably a native-born citizen himself, refuses to (and, at least in my view, disrespects both the flag and the U.S. in the process)??

If the mere presence of the American flag sufficiently bothers those who are, after all, here illegally and who are after the great boon of U.S. citizenship, and since this is the only flag that they have known, let them return to their country of origin for a little while, whatever armpit of the world it may be, and see how they like it there. Might just make them a little more flexible on the subject.

I know I am just being dense again, but I have never managed to understood how it is that the illegal act(s) of parents bringing young children into the country somehow makes those children more eligible for citizenship than any other alien.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

elwood... YOU are joining the ranks of those who think the flag should NOT be displayed, because it "makes Dreamers uncomfortable? Really? Whodathunkit?

Or are you just a right wing "wannabe" middle class self-consciously white declasse radical?

elwood p suggins said...

Siarlys--how you got out of my post that I thought the flag should not be displayed is beyond me. I made reference to what non-citizens who thought the flag should not be displayed could/should do to make them a little more appreciative of the situation; the flag would fly on here in the meantime, as it should. Selective reading/comprehension??

And BTW, you have yet to explain why individually purging two offending words from the pledge of allegiance in your recitiation of it would not be a workable solution.

Finally, upon further reading of my Webster's/Funk and Wagnall's, are not the terms "middle class" and "declasse" essentially mutually exclusive?? Seems to me they are two entirely different classes, and I do not see how a single individual could be in both at the same time.

Just saying.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

elwood... read your own words... "I guess I am one of those... declasse radicals." What else am I to think?

You have a knee-jerk reflex that assumes anyone I insult must be some sort of right wing reactionary you would identify with. If you had ever read Lenin's Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder, you would understand that I am perfectly capable of despising self-consciously "white" declasse radicals. I was talking about the students who made the silly remarks. And you identified yourself with them. Silly you.

I have fully explained why, even without mentioning God, I consider the phrase "I pledge allegiance to the flag..." to be laden with bowing down to a graven image. I have no problem with flying the flag my gallant east Tennessee ancestor carried into battle against the enemies of our republic (the confederate rebels). I will not "pledge" myself to a flag.

Perhaps you should learn to read before you open your mouth with some knee-jerk response.