Eric D. Snider

Nobody's American Except Me

Snide Remarks #32

"Nobody's American Except Me"

by Eric D. Snider

Published in The Daily Universe on March 23, 1998

We as Americans had better get our heads out of the sand and start paying attention, or else before you know it we'll have become slaves to a master race of government-engineered super-computers and talking monkeys.

You'll hopefully pardon my incoherent ramblings. I've been reading letters to the editor again, and I've been alerted to the dangers we face, including conspiracies, cover-ups, and people not standing still when the national anthem is playing.

First we have a letter published in the Feb. 1 issue of the Provo Daily Herald (motto: "Where BYU Graduates Go When the Daily Universe Finally Kicks Them Out"), written by Grant N. Mildenhall of American Fork. This letter addresses many issues, not the least of which is the fact that NASA did not send a man to the moon in 1969, as they claimed, but that it was in fact staged by the government. Well, actually, it wasn't even the government. According to Grant N. Mildenhall, it was "that evil system called the Military Industrial Complex," which controls the government, the TV networks and the media, and which is headed by a cigarette-smoking man, as you know if you have ever watched "The X-Files."

This same organization also assassinated several important people, such as John F. Kennedy and Princess Diana. How do we know this? Because Grant N. Mildenhall said so, and are YOU going to argue with him?

Why isn't Grant N. Mildenhall afraid of being "silenced" by the Military Industrial Complex, since he has now exposed them? I suppose if you were to ask him, he would say he feels safe because of the magic invisible forcefield placed around him by the people of his home planet.

While the theories put forth in this letter may be alarming and perhaps even stupid, they cannot compare with another theory, presented in a Feb. 24 letter to the editor printed in The Daily Universe (motto: "Inching Slowly Toward a Mistake-Free Newspapper"). This letter makes it abundantly clear that persons who do not stand motionless when the national anthem is being played pose a threat to national security. I quote the letter in part:

"As a proud citizen of the United States living on American soil, I think that it is totally disrespectful for people not to stop and cover their heart during the playing of the national anthem....

"I call on the Honor Code Office to take action against students who refuse to respect the nation's symbol.

"Those who refuse to show respect should be forced to give up their place at this prestigious institution and make room for those with greater patriotic fervor and love for their country."

What this man says is true, and I applaud The Daily Universe for having the courage to print such a letter, containing, as it does, actual truth, which is often a prohibitive factor in determining whether or not something gets printed. Every morning and afternoon, the ROTC raises and lowers the flag as a recording of the national anthem plays over the campus sound system. When you hear this music -- even if you can't see the flag -- it has become tradition to stop moving, even if you are late for class, even if you have severed a limb and are on the way to the hospital, and even if it is snowing heavily and you are allergic to moisture.

If you do not stop, you are subject to the most prevalent and deadly weapon at BYU: The Self-Righteous Stare. This is a multi-purpose stare, of course, used primarily against people with facial hair, but in this case it means, "I am much better than you because I am standing here in the cold, wasting two minutes of my time, because I can faintly hear a song coming from somewhere. You, on the other hand, must be some kind of genetic mutation."

So of course people should stop. Again, it doesn't matter if you can't see the flag. You should still participate in the flag-raising ceremony. It's the same as how when you're in your apartment and you know your parents are probably just sitting down to dinner several hundred miles away, you should probably bow your head while they say grace.

Obviously this nation's forefathers, being angry and bitter and selfish, would want us to stand motionless in the cold whenever we heard "The Star-Spangled Banner." (Of course they would probably also want us to know all the words to it, and not just the first verse, but that's another issue.) And it should not just be during the flag ceremony. If it's the Fourth of July and a radio station plays the song, you should immediately stop your car in the middle of traffic and wait patiently. Anyone who unpatriotically rear-ends you is merely proving his or her un-Americanness. If I stand up in the middle of the library and begin singing the national anthem, you should stand up and salute until I have finished. The security guards, if they are any kind of Americans, should also wait until I'm done before arresting me.

The letter-writer suggested kicking students out of BYU for not stopping when they hear the national anthem, but I think that's too lenient. I think people should have to sing along with it, too. Since most of the people who stop walking only do so because everyone ELSE does -- the same reason they wear those braided belts and say "fetch" -- it would only take a few of us to start singing along with the music before EVERYONE was doing it just as a matter of conformity. And the singers would give the Self-Righteous Stare to the non-singers, as if singing the national anthem every time you heard it were a basic requirement of being American, and duh, doesn't everybody KNOW that?, even though we really just made it up. And of course we'd give the Honor Code Office full authority to expel anyone who didn't stop and sing, and we'd send them back to whatever backwards country they came from, the Commie pinko freak-heads.

Or, we could just turn them over to the Military Industrial Complex.

Stumble It!

Notes:

Grant N. Mildenhall, a rather strange anti-Mormon, has more or less made it his hobby to write letters to the editor. The Daily Herald prints one of his every couple of weeks, each one more incoherent and odd than the last.

If you would like to read the letter I referred to in this column, here it is:

Syndicated columnist Charley Reese noted, in his Dec. 18 column in the Herald, that "Civilizations rise and fall on the basis of the beliefs of the ruling class" and that "unless these beliefs" of America's present ruling class "are corrected, the United States is finished."

It was of interest to note that nowhere in his column did he mention the terms "president" or "U.S. Congress." He identified that ruling class as a mixture "of political, corporate, academic and financial people who occupy positions of power," totaling about 7,000 in number. Most citizens cannot comprehend the fact that our president and Congress have levels of power above them. These levels are grouped into that evil system called the Military Industrial Complex, and it is by that combined power that our presidents and others who wield influence are assassinated, people like the Kennedys, Martin Luther King and, very possibly, even Princess Diana.

All these people had ties to stopping the Vietnam War or interfering in the sales of war goods such as mines, of which the United States contributes 52 percent worldwide. Why didn't President Clinton sign the land mine ban with the other countries? He was smart enough to see the writing on the wall.

A Jan. 5 article in the Herald noted the U.S. plans to launch an unmanned rocket to the moon - supposedly the first since 25 years ago when it was claimed we sent a manned ship to land on the moon - in order to search for ice or evidence of water. Even with the increased sophistication of equipment today over 25 years ago, NASA still doesn't dare send a manned rocket to the moon.

Those who doubt the fact can obtain a copy of the book, "We Never Went to the Moon," by William Kaysing and Randy Reid, and read the stunning evidence for themselves. You will not see it on any of the major TV networks since they are owned by the complex.

Several weeks ago, on one of the networks, there was a brief mention of an Egyptian planning to sue the Queen for putting the hit on Diana, but the follow-up on the story never materialized.

Grant N. Mildenhall
American Fork

There's a joke hidden inside this column. The previous week, my column was censored by certain individuals in power (this column here), and the main reason they didn't want it printed was that everything in it was TRUE, and sometimes true things are uncomfortable to talk about in public. Now notice this column -- the one you just read -- particularly this line: "I applaud The Daily Universe for having the courage to print such a letter, containing, as it does, actual truth, which is often a prohibitive factor in determining whether or not something gets printed." I don't know how many people caught that on their own, but I certainly enjoyed writing it.

Some people misunderstood this column. All I was saying was that simply hearing the National Anthem does not seem, to me, to be a good reason to stop walking. I was NOT saying that one shouldn't stop for the flag ceremony. Indeed, if I happened to be walking past the flagpole when the ceremony was taking place, I would stop. That's a CEREMONY. Hearing a song, even if it is the country's official song, is not a ceremony. Just standing still doesn't automatically mean you're going to reflect upon America, nor does continuing to walk mean you CAN'T reflect upon America.

Also -- and I think I made this clear in the column -- if you do stop, regardless of whether you're doing it because you honestly feel you should or because everyone else is doing it -- whatever your reason, you shouldn't look down upon those who don't stop. Period, end of discussion.

Except for this Letter to the Editor (seems like an odd medium for expressing one's opinion, considering the subject matter of the column), which came in the very afternoon the column ran in the paper:

I am submitting this in response to Eric Snider's article in the March 23rd edition of the Daily Universe, entitled "Don't stand still while secret plots destroy America."

I agree with the notion that many letters to the editor are occupying space in the fringes of tabloid trash. I also believe that there are many good issues that are treated with such extremism that they are discarded to the absurd pile. Mr. Snider jumped on that extremism wagon with his trivializing of respect for our flag.

Mr. Snider's remarks demonstrate either radical indifference toward, or total ignorance of, the symbolism of our National Anthem and the flag of the United States of America. I would like to remind Mr. Snider that he enjoys the privilege of being callous because thousands of men and women have sacrificed their time, talents, and even their lives, in the service of our country. Just as you are not required to attend all your college classes, you are not required to pause while the flag is raised and lowered on campus each day. However, if you go to your classes each day, you may gain an understanding and appreciation of some very important truths. In turn, if you were to stop one morning or afternoon while the National Anthem is being played, you may also learn, understand, and maybe even appreciate some important truths. [Like just STOPPING is going to make all that happen? Powerful stuff, this "stopping."] Allow me to share a few thoughts that may mean something.

We are blessed to be living in a choice land. It is choice because people, past and present, cared deeply enough to do whatever would be required to preserve liberty for those who would follow. You are free to choose the books you read, the classes you take, and the career you desire, because someone paid a price. You are even free to voice your opinions about issues that concern you because someone paid a price.

For 21 years, I have had the distinct privilege to serve in our military in locations throughout the world. In that time I have seen the face of oppression, fear, hopelessness, and communism. I have spoken with wonderful people in the most dire circumstances who cannot even begin to comprehend the freedoms and privileges we enjoy. They see our flag as a symbol of hope, that perhaps they might live to one day experience what we often take for granted. When I see the flag or hear our National Anthem, I am reminded of friends and family who have gone to their Eternal Rest, far too soon, giving their all to protect and defend you and your posterity. They were not concerned about the adverse weather conditions or any other personal comfort. They were too busy working to uphold an oath they swore to their God and their Country.

I don't necessarily expect you to understand these things because you are probably young and relatively inexperienced in things that go on beyond the borders of this campus. [He's right. I was born on BYU campus and have never actually left, except once, to go to the movies.] I do, however, believe you could learn a few things from those Army and Air Force ROTC Cadets who raise and lower the flag everyday. You may learn why they feel a desire to give of themselves, regardless of the weather, to provide a service to this University. You may also learn something from them about selfless service, dedication, discipline, and courage. They do it for me and for you Mr. Snider.

So, Mr. Snider, next time you are walking across campus, listening to the National Anthem, feel free to not stop and say thank you to those who give you so much. I would simply ask that you take the time to think about why all those people are giving you that "Self-Righteous Stare." Could it be that they understand something about patriotism, gratitude, and sacrifice? [No.]

Bill Boucher
Pleasant Grove

And then this letter came in response to the first letter. For your convenience, I will italicize the parts that are conclusions the author jumped to without any evidence.

I must agree with the author of Thursday's 'Freedom not free,' who wrote about the playing of our national anthem and the respect it deserves. In the March 23 Snide Remarks there was a 'snide remark' proposing we stop our cars, get out and stand at attention during the national anthem. It was, I believe, supposed to be taken as a joke.

Obviously the author of Snide Remarks has never visited a military base or he would have known that when the anthem is played at 5 p.m., traffic stops. Everyone gets out of their car and stands at attention. It MEANS something to those of us who have sacrificed to help give you the freedom you now take for granted. I have not served in the military, but I am an Army brat and I have seen the sacrifices first-hand. I have given up my father numerous times to watch him go off and defend your rights. He is now preparing to serve in Sarajevo for a second six-month tour. Every day I have to worry and pray for him.

You complain of the inconvence of stopping for a few moments, but I can tell you it is not convenient to have your father on the other side of the world. I am proud to stop and stand at attention when the anthem is played. Take those few moments to think, and maybe you will learn to be grateful for the sacrifices all the servicemen and women around this world are making every day in order for you to safely sit here and not have to worry about the world outside this campus. Don't take your freedom for granted, because one day you just might lose it. [Yeah, I might lose it. Someday, someone like you might FORCE me to stand at attention during the national anthem.]

Heidi Thaden
Provo

And there you have it. I'm a threat to democracy, and a bad citizen. I don't floss regularly, either. I won't waste your time defending my patriotism. It wouldn't do any good. If I don't stand motionless every time I hear the national anthem, it apparently doesn't matter what ELSE I do that IS patriotic.

This item has 2 comments

  1. bucketofsquid says:

    Thank you for pointing out the idiocy of people that get so caught up in symbols, rituals and appearances that they lose sight of the substance behind the afore-mentioned symbols, etc.

    It is appalling how often superficial dreck is used to facilitate a real and treasonous attack on the constitution. The USA is not a flag, song, ceremony, president, congress or court. The USA is a large group of people that have agreed, either tacitly or implied by not renouncing citizenship at age 18, to a social contract defining acceptable behavior. This contract is the Constitution of the United States of America. It is a real shame so few have read it and even fewer understand it, particularly among the military and church leaders.

  2. Clumpy says:

    Though the self-righteous stare may no longer be in vogue, I make it a point to put my headphones on and stare forward when the flag goes down and the music starts. Everybody looks uncomfortable but stands still obediently.

    During the last couple of years I intentionally didn't salute the flag as a political statement - with our leaders eroding civil liberties and whatnot it seemed like such an empty, transparent gesture. It's such a top-down way to fit somebody's model of a "good citizen" but produces nothing in the way of results, merely promoting some abstract notion of "patriotism" (in the absence of knowledge and driving principles a dangerous characteristic).

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