Déjà Vu All Over Again – Ways to Be a Good American Without Waving a Chinese-made Flag

Lose the God-Damned Bigotry or Quit Calling Yourself an American -You’re Walkin’ on the Fightin’ Side of Me


Paid for by Americans to Restore Freedom, Austin, TX 1970

A word in advance:  About the time Merle Haggard was reaching the top of the charts with “The Fighting Side of Me”, and “Okie From Muskogee” a war over forced busing was being fought in cities all across the country by good Americans.  The poster you see appeared on telephone posts, taped to the outside of doors, windows of public places, scattered on the streets. 

In 1970 a friend and I came across a guy taping one of these up near the University of Texas.  He had a ream of them beside him on the concrete.  We discussed it with him and his noggin required surprisingly little thumping to persuade him to give us all the posters and swear he would not do it anymore.   He didn’t have the strength of his convictions.

I suppose I kept a few of them  boxed up with other curiosities from  over the decades.

The administrator for this blog found a few of them among some boxes of scribblings and asked what it was all about.

Merle’s had a change of heart, repudiated a lot of what he said and did during those times, says we all make mistakes and we all eventually grow from having made them.  But interestingly, instead of vanishing from arena of public bias, the past two years has seen a re-emergence of surprisingly similar material intended to assist in denouncing the US president.

Being a good American and a good human being isn’t about waving a flag, hating Democrats or Republicans, Muslims, or people who say ugly words about political leaders.  It isn’t about fear, hysterical dialect, consumerism and waste.

Being a good American and a good human being is about personal responsibility.  About having enough confidence and courage not to feel threatened by every little thing.  About assuming the responsibility of not being part of the problem any more than is absolutely necessary.  About self-reliance.

Sometimes it’s not obvious how a person might accomplish those things.

  • On a personal level your life will find itself a lot better place if you can recognize the fact you are going to die as a means of exiting it.  Maybe disease, a car wreck, any of a thousand common ways that don’t have a damned thing to do with any foreign country, foreign leader, foreign war.  You are going to die.  No point in going into frenzies of terror and hate because the death you get stands a billion-to-one shot at being the act of a terrorist.  Trust me on that.  You are going to die, and I’ll only be the tiniest, most microscopic bit of a liar when I tell you it won’t be from anything any foreigner does  to cause it.
  • On a personal level you’ll find it’s a hell of a lot better place if you can learn what is your own business, and what isn’t.  If you can change it, it’s your business.  If you can’t, it ain’t worth concerning yourself with, getting all worked up about.
  • On a personal level you’ll find your life’s a lot better place if you spend considerable energies looking at it, instead of other places, looking at what you like about it, and what you don’t like about it, and changing what you can.  Looking in a metaphorical mirror at the sort of person you are and asking yourself if that is the sort of person you want to be.  You can’t change the kind of person the prez of bongobongoland is, but you can change the kind of person you are into someone you have more respect for.  No one respects a dishonest, hysterical coward, including you, when you see it in others.

If all of us could pull that off our own lives would be a lot better, and America would be a better place for it.  But insofar as personal responsibility and being a good American, we can expand on that a bit.  Here are a few things a good American might do without having to shout from the rooftops about what an admirable person he/she is:

Dependence on hydrocarbons is the ultimate problem of this nation you say you love.

  • Be conscious of your own energy use.
  • Every plastic grocery or garbage bag, every foam-plastic hamburger box, no matter where it was produced, drives up the price of oil.
  • Every time you fire up that hair-dryer you drive up the world-wide price of hydrocarbons.
  • Every made-in-China yellow ribbon ‘SUPPORT OUR TROOPS’ you buy to stick on your car drives up the price of hydrocarbons world-wide, increases the demand.
  • Every made-in-China flag made of nylon you wave drives up the price of oil and increases worldwide demand.
  • Every new plastic radio, CD player, computer monitor.  Every plastic wrapper from that frozen pizza pie.  Every cellophane cover and foam plastic bottom covering the piece of animal you’re having for supper and sending to the landfill afterward is driving up the world-wide competition for oil.
  • Sure, there are the other obvious things.  The things Jimmy Carter used to beg you to do when he was prez, to help you quit relying on foreign petroleum products.  Turn down the heater.  Turn up the thermostat on the AC.  Don’t drive anymore than you have to.  Which, of course, you didn’t care for then and immediately forgot when he left office (which is part of the reason you’re in the fix you are in now.)

But there’s a lot more to being a good American, as opposed to a good human being.  Here are a few more ways you could try to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem:

Quit buying ANY foreign product if you can avoid it.  Even if it saves you a few cents.  Just say no.  Refuse and make it clear why you’re refusing.  If US workers didn’t manufacture it and you can live without it, don’t buy it.  If your old one’s broken buy a replacement used in a thrift store, garage sale or flea market.  If it can be repaired take it to a local appliance repair shop and let a US worker repair it.  Every dollar you spend on a new foreign-manufactured product reduces the value of the dollar you’ll get next paycheck because of the overwhelming trade deficit.

If this country is going to survive another century the population is going to have to begin manufacturing what it consumes, energy-wise and every other wise.  Building hamburgers to sell back and forth to one another isn’t enough to keep a country sound.

Americans are going to have to produce products, and the other Americans are going to have to buy them.  We can’t continue indefinitely sending our chunks of our trade deficit off to bongo-bongo land for petroleum, to China for plastic bags, television sets, seat covers and rubber monster toys.  We can’t starve out our farmers by buying agricultural products from Mexico and Argentina.

Being a good American involves a hell of a lot more than getting angry when some foreigner says something ugly about it.  Loyalty to America and Americans is about keeping America alive, productive, self-reliant, healthy economically.

If we can do those things we’ll find we’re spending a lot less time hurling empty rhetoric back and forth, hating the owners of bongo-bongo land oil, a lot less time bombing the hell out of foreign lands, a lot less angry and full of fear and hatred.

And we wouldn’t need to wave flags to prove we were good Americans.

Old Jules


MERLE HAGGARD – Fightin’ Side Of Me

Afterthought:  Tffnguy’s got a rant on similar but not identical subjects you might find worth a read, along with comments by a number of oldsters on my blogroll.  http://terlinguabound.blogspot.com/2011/08/divide-and-conquer.html

18 responses to “Déjà Vu All Over Again – Ways to Be a Good American Without Waving a Chinese-made Flag

  1. Well are ya going to be a good American – – – well are ya punk?

    Is part of being a good American demanding people in office be held accountable for crimes they commit or at least an investigation into what evidence points to obvious criminal activity.

    Well done Jules-now put your feet back up.

    • Morning One Fly: You’ve got a busy week ahead of you. Hope you can do it with your feet up.

      As for demands, if a good American actually believes people in office can be successfully held accountable for crimes they commit etc likely the good American would do whatever he thought was appropriate. If he doesn’t believe it? Well, empty meaningless gestures aren’t confined to waving Chinese-made US flags and pasting on Chinese made “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS” stickers. Thanks for coming by. Hope you have a successful week. Gracias, J

  2. I agree with buying only what is made in the U.S.A. Even at the Goodwill I tend to not buy anything not made here. To buy American is one of the few options we have to facilitate change for the better.

    • Hi Linda: Thanks for the visit and reply. Goodwill’s where someone sent it instead of into the garbage when they bought their brand new Chinese made toaster oven. Once Goodwill has it, no matter where it’ made, it will go into the dumpster if it doesn’t fetch a buyer. I respect your sentiments, but from my own perspective I’m willing to buy a discarded alternative to the landfill if it works and the price is right. I’ve got a breadmaker I picked up at a thrift store for a couple of bucks I’m sure was make in Asia. Didn’t appear to have ever been used and it’s made a lot of loaves of bread here without ever trying to slip away and find a landfill. I’m not sure any breadmakers are made in the US, but I’m tickled the money I spent for this one went to Habitat for Humanity Recycling Center instead of Mao Tse Tung Industries.

      I didn’t expect much agreement on this post … I just felt the need to expose a few soft underbellies and dark corners. I’m glad to see you and I agree on something inside all that. Gracias, J

  3. Okay, can I hate both Democrats and Republicans? Nah, I guess that would mean hating everybody and nobody, depending on how you look at it. Waste of neurons either way.

    Humorous nugget: Muskogee has a huge black population, and they are very much involved in a lively music scene there which has some fingers in a larger international music market. C&W music isn’t big there.

    • Hi Ed. Thanks for coming by and commenting. Ethnic hatred probably exists in Muscogee as thoroughly as it does anywhere else within each ethnic group toward the others. Probably bigotry wasn’t the best choice of words. Demigogery might have been better, because that’s also pervasive, but tends to be more acceptable in some geographies and political entities than in others. In ours there’s never been a shortage, but there’s been an ideal, a spoken recognition for the past half-century, that it’s not to be encouraged, not to be rewarded, and in most contexts, not to be tolerated. A worthy goal and a shame to lose. J

  4. I like thrift stores and use them when I can, but about buying American that can be real tough to do now days. Seems very little is made here anymore so if you need something that isn’t made in the US you either do with out or buy Chinese junk.

  5. Amen, brother. Good piece and perspectives. Amazing poster – I was in Pasadena CA at the time – riots in my high school, forced busing nobody was happy about. Here’s a great link for folks to contemplate: stop, look and pay attention. We have not eradicated lynching from our collective consciousness – not yet. It’s a huge wound in America’s heart:
    It’s the James Cone interview, and this is the first part. There is a second.

  6. tffnguy: Good seeing you. Thanks for coming by. Yeah, not much being made in the US for anyone to buy. If it ever comes back it won’t be the result of a decision made anywhere but in individual households. Gracias, J

    Anonymous: Thanks for coming by, reading and commenting. I don’t think anything much in the arena of human activities has been eliminated anywhere on the planet from our collective consciousness. Whatever happened anywhere during the 20th Century, I’d imagine, is up for grabs to happen anywhere in the 21st Century. Thanks for the link. Gracias, J

  7. I only buy American that’s why I only shop at Wal-Mart. Sam taught me that years ago. P. T. Barnum would have loved Sam.

    • Hi Cletis. PT Barnham loved everyone. Loved kids, same as Poor Jud Fry after he died in the musical, ‘Oklahoma’. Thanks for the visit and reads, also the comments. Gracias, J

  8. Stumbled upon your Hill Country wisdom while running down info about Brother Haggard’s “Fighting Side of Me.” Thanks for the refreshingly unadorned truth-telling and wry humor. Loved the White Trash Repairs feature–looks like some of the jury-rigged stuff I’ve done. Viva la junkyard revolucion!

    • apauling: Thanks for the visit and read. I’ve got a lot of respect for Merle Haggard, but I’m glad for him having lived long enough to regret some of his youngsterism. On the other hand, we’d never have heard of Merle if it hadn’t been for Okie and Fighting Side, so from my perspective I’m glad he did them. Good to know there’s another junkster in our midst. Gracias, J

  9. You have streched my thinking. Thanks. I have often felt that our Native American brothers and sisters have continued to have their lives and cultures undermined by our paternalism. Thanks for the caveate – buying foreign made products to keep the land fills from piling up with out junk – it made it easer for me to disagree with your buy American perspective. In reality the only way I can agree with that posture is to cut down on the use of fossil fuels that are now essential for global oriduct distribution, Thanks for stopping by my blog also. I wish you wonderfully well.

    • Hi Wayne: I’m obliged you came by. I don’t know the answers. Pull a string here, something comes apart over there. Likely triage somewhere’s got to be a part of it all, choices involving lesser evils. Gracias, J

  10. Poster needs an update. That’s exactly what they are doing. They want Blacks and Whites to mix so that the next generation of Americans is mongrelized and weakened. If you support race-mixing, you are not an American.

    “The Negro is inferior to the White in both endowments of mind and body. When freed, the Black should be removed from beyond the point of mixture. Although equally free, the White and Black races cannot live under the same government. Nature, habit, and opinion have drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.” – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

    • Noswimback: Evidently you’re something of a piece of work, yourself. Occasionally it’s worth while noting what’s crawling around in the rotten wood of our geography. Jules

    • To nowswimback: You talk about the next generation of Americans becoming “mongrelized and weakened.” I strongly disagree because:

      1) Fact 1: Human ethnic groups (“races”) are more genetically similar to each other than various dog breeds are to each other. Therefore, to compare Chinese, Irish or Mexicans to Poodles, Corgis or Labs is not accurate.

      2) Fact 2: Pure bred dogs are well known to be more susceptible to various ailments (hip dysplasia in German Shepherds, for example) than you see in mixed breed dogs. Biologists call this “hybrid vigor.” So if you really want to go all biological when talking about the supposed problems of “race-mixing” then you’ll be forced to conclude that it STRENGTHENS, and not weakens, America.

      3) Fact 3: You left off the first crucial 8 words of the quote from Thomas Jefferson. In Notes on the State of Virginia, he ACTUALLY said “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” In other words, he wasn’t sure. But his pronouncement helped drive and direct “race science” for the next 200+ years. And after 200 years the science is complete: Jefferson was wrong. There are NO anatomical or genetic markers that separate Blacks or Whites or Indians from each other in distinct categories. Sorry! And there is absolutely NO biological evidence for any so called “race” being superior or inferior to another.

      4) Fact 4: Thomas Jefferson sired children with his slave Sally Hemmings. The descendants of this forced union live among us today, with their genomes a testament to Jefferson being their ancestor. Jefferson, along with many, many other white slavers actively practiced “race-mixing” through the rape of their black slaves. SO by your logic, Thomas Jefferson is not an American.

      Cheers, Hirk O’Turdy

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