Playing ball at the COS philharmonic

Take me out to the op-ra
Before they got to Ode to Joy, before the Brahms, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic warmed up, their conductor marched out, the audience clapped, an American flag size 3XL descended behind the stage and the musicians played a spirited Star Spangled Banner. Everyone rose, hands on their hearts, some singing. I didn’t know if I was in school or at a baseball game. What next, spitting? I heard female voices behind me that were almost operatic. Would a cultural art center not have been a sanctuary from this plebian pledge of allegiance? To me it’s become almost distasteful these days, because it could so easily be misinterpreted to mean approval of what’s being done in our name.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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13 Responses to Playing ball at the COS philharmonic

  1. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Next time you to go to the orchestra where the Colorado Springs lumpen middle class prevails in attendance, then maybe you should do like my kid is doing today, Eric? She is wearing to school her new ACLU t-shirt that she got last night for being the youngest civil libertarian at the ACLU forum.

    She has already won the right not to participate in the state mandated pledge every morning. Instead she sits quietly and reads. I think the teacher thought that she might feel isolated and rejoin the group think after a while. Instead, she’s showing up with here ACLU tee today instead!

    Or try carrying in your own Mexican flag to the orchestra next time. You can run up to the front and unfurl it alongside ‘Old Glory’ and try to get the audience to sing the Mexican national anthem with you. Here are the words in English translation…

    ENGLISH TRANSLATION of Mexican national anthem

    Mexicans, when the war cry is heard,
    Have sword and bridle ready.
    Let the earth’s foundations tremble
    At the loud cannon’s roar.

    May the divine archangel crown your brow,
    Oh fatherland, with an olive branch of peace,
    For your eternal destiny has been written
    In heaven by the finger of God.
    But should a foreign enemy
    Dare to profane your soil with his tread,
    Know, beloved fatherland, that heaven gave you
    A soldier in each of your sons.


    War, war without truce against who would attempt
    to blemish the honor of the fatherland!
    War, war! The patriotic banners
    saturate in waves of blood.
    War, war! On the mount, in the vale
    The terrifying cannon thunder
    and the echoes nobly resound
    to the cries of union! liberty!


    Fatherland, before your children become unarmed
    Beneath the yoke their necks in sway,
    May your countryside be watered with blood,
    On blood their feet trample.
    And may your temples, palaces and towers
    crumble in horrid crash,
    and their ruins exist saying:
    The fatherland was made of one thousand heroes here.


    Fatherland, oh fatherland, your sons vow
    To give their last breath on your altars,
    If the trumpet with its warlike sound
    Calls them to valiant battle.
    For you, the garlands of olive,
    For them, a glorious memory.
    For you, the victory laurels,
    For them, an honoured tomb.


  2. Avatar PC says:

    First, it is called a Garrison flag, sized 20′ x 36′. Second the National Anthem is a symbol of our unity, a symbol of revolution against tyranny as is our flag. Being patriotic is standing up and SCREAMING when your country is wrong and doing something about it. And we should feel free to wave our flag and sing our anthems on the street corners. Feeling pride in your country is not evil. If you associate the song with spitting and only the evils associated with our current administration, then you have limited experiences in life. Our country hs done many evils, many good deeds, and will in the future do more good. The heart of the American is basically good, we want to do good AND WE SHOULD BE PROUD AMERICANS. Tell a Frenchman that singing La Marseillaise is declasse and see what happens. I am ashamed of my government’s actions, but I am not ashamed of being an American citizen.

  3. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    PC, I don’t associate our flag with only the current Administration, and I associate it with the citizenry despite the constant attempts of the Right Wing to make it all their own. That being said, I am in no way particularly proud of being an American citizen.

    Why should I be since I disagree with your assertion that ‘the heart of the American is basically good’? I think that’s about as far from the truth as is imaginable. In fact, the hearts of many Americans have shriveled up entirely, along with their brains, I might add.

    Think how the typical American must appear to the poorer citizens of the world? Do you think that they think us generous, kind, and libertarian spirits? Do you think they find us democratic in spirit? Do you think they see in us as leadership and role models?

    Do you think that they see much of a future ahead with the US citizenry as a whole in charge of the world? Do you think they see the average American Joe and Jane as defenders of their interests? What is there to be proud about then?

    Pride in one’s country is not shameful to have in itself, but only if it is based on something of substance. We are showing ourselves to be exactly like the citizens of all the other past countries of the world that colonized other parts of the world. They had empires, too, and their citizens mainly acted brutishly toward the rest of the world their own ruling classes held in their power.

    The average citizen of an Empire most often become a cheap copy of their own masters, and monkey the arrogance these rulers have toward people living in the colonies. In America we see the same today, and it is nothing to be proud about.

  4. Avatar PC says:

    By the way, when did we give up the rights to our flag to the neocon right wing fanatics? Since when did we liberals decide it was only good to wipe our butts with and/or burn the flag. Why are we not using the symbols to support OUR vision of patriotism?

  5. Avatar PC says:

    Tony, you are completely correct in that the world views us as greedy, mean spirited world oppressors. Do you think that of everyone you know in the US? Do you think that of most of the people you know? How about 50% – 25% – 10% of your acquaintances? Do you feel there is no redemption for us? If so, then why are you crying in the wilderness like a prophet? Can you not see altho it seems to take many people too long to see the light, they do. If you don’t have faith in the basic goodness in people, why are you trying? Your beautiful daughter is the inheritor of the world we are leaving. I want people to BELIEVE it can and will be better. It is the only way I see that positive change can be made.

  6. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    We didn’t. I have used the flag at times during demonstrations and have supported others that have done the same, even when others didn’t like having the flag there.

    BTW, I have yet to hear of anybody wiping their butt with the American flag? The French actually use bidets I think to clean their butts? Is there a US law against wiping one’s butt with the Old Glory yet, or a Constitutional Amendment against those wiping butts with the US flag being proposed? It sounds like it might actually be a personal matter if one does choose to wipe their butt with the US flag?

    And may I at least wipe my butt with a copy of the US Constitution now that Bush and Congress are doing exactly that with it? So, PC, you think that liberals united with Leftists ought to battle it out with the Right Wing in the flag waving contest? I think we might lose? Oh dear me my… lol…

    BTW, I just had a flag waver today suggest that I move to Iraq since I was so unhappy here. I felt very bad.

  7. Avatar PC says:

    The point being “…, even when others didn’t like having the flag there.” Tony, I’m glad you used the flag to demonstrate against the government’s flagrant misuse of our constitution. I encourage you to use it more. Whoever in the group doesn’t like it, doesn’t get that it represents what we want. Freedom to choose Peace instead of War. As far as personal use of the flag, anyone can wrap it around themselves and have sex like a monkey for all I care. It is afterall a symbol – just a symbol. Not the actual ideology itself that it symbolizes.

  8. Eric Eric says:

    We lost the flag when it was raised over Camp X-ray in Guantanamo, or each time a yahoo trails it behind his pickup. It’s a symbol of kicking ass. We can wrap them in it when we toast theirs.

  9. Avatar PC says:

    Sorry, I don’t buy that. What about your button that says “Proud to be an American against the War”. What about the Liberal Store’s American flags with peace signs and American flag stickers that say “Think, its patriotic”. We only lose the flag when we give it up to the ass kickers. I not doing that. Its mine. I still believe it has positive meaning for people.

  10. Avatar Ellen T says:

    Shouldn’t attending the Philharmonic be a two hour respite from everything political – including flag waving.

  11. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    PC, I think that it is right to use the flag from time to time in protest. I am not for surrendering the flag to the Right Wing at all, and believe that not all Americans are bad, though I do believe that most are not all that, as they like to think they are. So I certainly agree with your points.

    But Eric, too, is right. The Confederate flag crowd of old now likes to wave the American flag day and night. They want all of us to think that the flag is totally theirs, and that their sick definition of what they think patriotism is, is 100% correct.

    Personally, I think that nationalism is a disease in these modern times. One gets tired of hearing that we have to cheer for the home town all the time, even if corporate logos are all over the stadium. Pledging to the flag has become a hollow ritual that is most a sign of how sick nationalism in an imperialist country truly is. Rah, Rah, Rah the flag. Right or Wrong and most when wrong.

    This is what was so offensive to Eric I think. He went to a concert and it got co opted into a forced loyalty oath to Right Wing pride and confidence that they are the greatest, when in fact, they just plain suck, and the flag becomes a degraded symbol when they wave it and try to force others to do so.

  12. Avatar PC says:

    Still missing the point. The degradation happens when you surrender your symbols to the degraders. Wahhhh, he went to a concert and had to listen to the NA. Oh, the mental anguish. He did not have to say a pledge, nor did he have to take a loyalty oath – he just stood there. Quit hiding behind the current trend to be anti-American. We are American. Sing louder than everyone else. Show them they don’t stand for what you believe and you have as much right in the country as everyone else. Show them they are NOT the majority.

  13. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Yeah, I understand your point. But the other point is that one doesn’t want to go to a grade school event, a city council meeting, a school board meeting, a concert, a basketball game, a baseball game, a football game, and a hundred and one other events and have this stuff pushed on you. One doesn’t want to drive down the street and see the city planting flags on signs with comments about pride, etc.

    The point is, many of us as a whole, just get fed up with assholes wrapping themselves in the flag all the time and demanding that we do the same. The result, is that we want to tell people to take THEIR damn flag and stuff it up their rear ends as far as we are concerned.

    Personally, many of us never have felt that the US flag represented much for ourselves anyway. There is nothing about us being degraded here, the flag is just not that it is particularly a symbol of our value systems. We don’t have to defend it much, since it just isn’t us at all to begin with.

    We don’t associate Freedom and Liberty in this symbol at all. It is other people’s cross to carry, so to speak, and not ours. So when they start singing and Halluyah…ing about it, we just get nauseated, that’s all. We have ‘surrendered’ nothing much by not participating with them. Their symbol is not ours.

    These Right Wing Christians want us to adore their idolatry to all the wrong values at the oddest times. They are pushy and we should just say, ‘Fuck Them!’ To say and think this is not to be anti-American either. Real Americans don’t weep and cry over the stupid fucking flag.

    That being said, if some Dude or Dudette wants to carry a flag at a demo, then so what? I carried my kid on my shoulders through the streets of Dallas once while she held an American flag given to her there. We were not forced to do so, so there was no resentment at all. But that was my decision, and not the result of pushy Right Wingers trying to stampede the herd like at the concert Eric was at. THEIR flag I would wipe an ass with, and toss it in the trash afterward. The stupid creeps.

    I hope this division about how to respond to flag waving creeps is dividing no one from their friends and Significant Others?

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