Monday, June 23, 2014


I never cared one wit about soccer and surely never called it football.  The Patriots were football but soccer was not a part of my life until it was one week ago.  I am now in love with that sport and seduced by the nationalistic feeling it engenders.  I usually eschew extreme nationalism and American exceptionalism as they are not part of my repertoire of thought.  I reject it for more intellectually careful well thought out politics and reject the often fascistic brutality that is part of the essence of extreme nationalism.
But I caught the FIFA World Cup soccer fever and built my Sunday around a game between the US and Portugal.  Portugal tied it in the last second and I thought I got hit by a truck as I watched the American team snatch a defeat-like tie from the hands of victory.  I actually cried.  I was at first sad and then childlike angry that the USA lost-like tie.

I do not like mindless, uncritical nationalism the kind where one accepts national behavior no matter who it hurts.  I am Nuremberg wary and careful to laud policy I think humane and decry policy I think viciously brutal.  But on this day I surprised myself.  I cried at the national anthem, I cried at the enthusiastic rooting of the USA supportive crowd and I cried when America tied.  It would have been a USA come-from-behind win that was not to be.  My disappointment was palpable.

So, is it just a silly game or was it something more?  I decided it meant something more.  I am tired of America losing; I am tired of the endless national discord, disputed foreign policy and wars that make things worse; that kill so many or maim them for life so that others can buy oil and make the oil barons and their political lackeys very rich.  I am tired of America getting kicked in the teeth; I am tired of hearing the curse of other nations when so many here have paid so much for policy that was so brutally bad over there. 
I watched the ceremonies during the Normandy remembrance when we were blessed and loved by the nations we lifted up from the jackboot of tyranny; when we saved the masses from a world that went viciously insane.  My father, a Republican at heart, loved FDR.  It was to be the only thing political upon which he and I agreed.  Though I never knew that president I loved him too.  I went to Hyde Park, and stood at his, Eleanor and their dog Fala’s graves and cried.  I want an America like that once again.  I want us to stand for something and not have to question the veracity of politicos who never served a day in their life sending men and women to their deaths based on lies.  I want an FDR again, I want a humane nation again, I want to feel pride about my nation again which stood then for what was moral, good and right.

I let FIFA World Cup Soccer allow me the privilege of fervent nationalism and cheered my country on wanting it to win.  I want it to win again and I want other nations to love us again.  I want to return to a WWII afterglow when it seemed all things were possible and most everything good was made in America.  I want things to be made in America again. 

But it felt like we lost today yet again.  The FIFA World Cup game was a metaphor allowing me to recapture a patriotism that lies just beneath the surface waiting for the next FDR to free us and the world to love us once more.  I want us to win again one more time before my own generation comes to its end.

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